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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pacific youth professionals commence Future Environment Leaders Forum in Fiji today

The future environment leaders of the Pacific are currently participating in meeting which started today in Suva, Fiji for the second annual Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum, examining the link between leadership and community resilience to climate change.

The Forum is a leadership initiative for young professionals from government, the private sector and NGOs working in environmental sustainability in the Pacific and will focus on this year’s theme ‘Building resilience to climate change,’ a critical issue for Pacific island countries and their communities.

40 young professionals from around the Pacific, who have been selected for their dedication and contribution to environment and sustainable development, attend the Forum, which aims to build the capacity of young Pacific islanders to facilitate adaptation projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change in their own countries.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is pleased to co-convene the conference, as it helps to arm young Pacific islanders with the necessary information and tools to make intelligent leadership decisions.

“It is absolutely essential that those whose lives are being imperilled by the disastrous effects of climate change take the lead in adapting to such changes. The region‘s young people stand to bear the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change. Hence it is critical that they assume a leadership role in building resilience, sooner rather than later,” said SPREP Director Asterio Takesy.

Participants will focus on identifying and applying principles of good leadership to address the complex and many-faceted issue of climate change in the Pacific islands.

“Good leadership is the foundation for building a culture of dialogue and information sharing – an essential stepping stone in finding solutions to the climate challenge,” says Professor Kanayathu Koshy, Head of the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD), which is hosting the Forum in Suva.

The Forum, which will be held at Suva’s Southern Cross Hotel, is a joint initiative between SPREP, USP and IUCN with funding from the British High Commission, Suva.

The first Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum was hosted in Apia, Samoa last year. The forum ends on Friday 14th March.

Source: SPREP

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