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International Youth Day coming up

Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific



6 August, 2008

This time next week Pacific youth will be joining young people around the world in celebrating their lives and potential to mark International Youth Day.

Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific (CYPSP) Regional Director Ms Afu Billy says it’s an important time to be celebrating young people – but a time for reflection as well.

“August 12 is a day to celebrate the achievements of young people, but it’s also a time for the rest of the community to reflect on how well we are doing to support youth to fulfil their potential.

“Young people should be involved in shaping their community and have opportunities to have a say on the decisions which impact on their lives – are we do all we can to make this happen?” asks Ms Billy.

“There are a lot of different ways young people can be involved – in villages they can be involved community committees and volunteering; at a provincial and national level it’s important that they have a chance to be a part of decision-making bodies as well.”

CYPSP’s Regional Youth Caucus Chair, from the Cook Islands, Ms Nukutau Pokura agrees.

“Young people make up a huge part of the Pacific population, and it’s really important that they are involved in building sustainable futures for their communities.”

International Youth Day, celebrated since 2000, has a different theme each year. This year’s theme is ‘Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action’.

Ms Pokura says it’s an important theme for Pacific Island youth especially.

“Many of us are going to be in leadership roles in our communities in the next 10 to 20 years, and will be dealing with the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. With many of our peoples living in environments that are vulnerable to changes in sea level, and with a strong relationship with the land and sea, and a reliance on the plants and animals of the environments. It’s going to be an important issue for us to take action on.”

Many Pacific youth communities are organising festivals, discussion panels, forums and community action to celebrate International Youth Day. You can see details of what some countries have planned at

International Youth Day, August 12 - Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action.

To find out more about what the Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific is doing to support young people to reach their potential go to


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