Young voices speak up at National Youth Council of Fiji

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Serua (Fiji), 30 November 2023 - Calling for inclusivity and dialogue, this year’s National Youth Council conference opened today with Fiji’s Minister of Youth and Sport, the National Youth Council, and more than 150 young people from across the country. The event, which took place in Dranikula Village, Serua,was organized by the Youth Assemblies of Fiji and the Provincial Youth Council, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

During his address, Minister of Youth and Sport Jese Saukuru underscored the pivotal role of youth engagement and participation in shaping Fiji’s future. He emphasized the government’s steady dedication to creating an enabling environment for youth to thrive, ensuring their voices are heard and their potential realized.

Roughly one third of Fiji’s population is between 18 to 25 years old, but young people face obstacles that hinder their active involvement in society. This week’s conference will identify these obstacles and provide a forum for overcoming them. The objective is to contribute to a more informed, participatory and inclusive framework for young individuals within Fiji’s dynamic social landscape.

In line with the Teieniwa Vision

The Teieniwa Vision is a regional roadmap developed in 2020 to unite Pacific Island nations against corruption. It stresses that integrity-building must be embraced as a whole-of-society issue. This week’s event seeks to establish pathways towards informed and amplified young voices, facilitating young people’s full engagement in dialogue and decision making in society — and emphasizing the Teieniwa Vision’s call for inclusivity.

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The outgoing President of the National Youth Council, Wiliame Gucake Nayacatabu, highlighted that the National Youth Council of Fiji’s conference stands as a testament of the “incredible commitment of the youth” who came from all parts of Fiji and that “the event will be leaving the youth inspired with a renewed sense of purpose.”

In the next four days, panel discussions will be held on youth entrepreneurship, youth policies, substance abuse, and income-generating projects. The National Youth Council of Fiji’s constitution will be reviewed, new boards of the Council will be elected, and a tree planting ceremony will take place.

“Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, but active participants in shaping today,” said Marie Pegie Cauchois, UNODC Pacific Officer in Charge and Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser.

More information:

In February 2021, UNODC launched its Strategy for 2021-2025, which underscored youth empowerment as a cross-cutting commitment of the Office. In order to support this commitment, the Office launched the Youth Empowerment Accelerator Framework - or the YEA! Framework. The YEA! Framework maps out UNODC’s youth-focused initiatives and proposes key youth mainstreaming actions to accelerate the impact of young people across the Office. The YEA! Framework further demonstrates that UNODC is committed to working with youth to build more resilient societies and find solutions to problems related to drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.

The National Youth Council of Fiji was originally established in 1975 with a mandate to advise the Fiji Ministry of Youth and Sport on issues of concern to young people. It became an independent autonomous organization in 2016 and since then acts as a consultative and coordinating mechanism for its members, advocating for the needs and issues of youth, and supporting the implementation of youth-focused activities. As key to its sustainability and inclusiveness, the Council’s role is mandated in the National Youth Policy and the Ministry of Youth and Sport’s Strategic Plan. The Policy recognizes that young people are important social actors in Fiji and that they must be actively involved in decisions that affect them.

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s work in the Pacific Islands.

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s anti-corruption efforts in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s youth-focused activities.