Griffith Climate Change Public Seminar

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Putting young people at the heart of climate change policies and programmes

  • Summary - Melanesian countries are often reported as being highly vulnerable to ‘shocks’ or sudden events that affect well-being. Aside from their exposure to cyclones and other environmental shocks, they experience economic shocks including substantial increases in food and fuel prices and influences of the recent global economic crisis. Subsistence farming that has traditionally characterized Melanesian lifestyle is increasingly threatened as more Melanesians are becoming vulnerable to poverty. Households face an increasing need for cash, a lack of access to basic services and fewer income earning opportunities.

    In Vanuatu, the government faces a big challenge in dealing with poverty in its many facets and the risk placed by its vulnerability to its geographical location, economies of scale and the emerging threat posed by climate change on the livelihoods of its people. 75% of Vanuatu’s population live in the rural areas and rely on subsistence farming, and over 65% of the rural population consists of youth. The latest statistics show that young people under 30 years will be most affected by all these challenges. This is significant as young people make up 68% of the total population of Vanuatu.

    Faced with these challenges, the government has embarked on an ambitious strategy to integrate Climate Change Adaptation strategies with Disaster Risk Reduction strategies. It has also drafted a Climate Change Policy placing young people at the heart of these processes. This talk will look at how the integration has been done as well as how this policy might be translated into practice in creating links to youth governance structures and training programmes.

  • Speaker - Paul Nalau. Paul is the Senior Youth and Sports Planning Officer for the Department of Youth Development, Sport and Training in Vanuatu. He is currently a member of the Regional Advisory Board for Pacific Commonwealth Youth Programme and was a former UN Youth Advisory Panel member to the Pacific. Some of his other roles include being a member of the External Inspection Team on the Convention Against Torture for Vanuatu, member of the National Disability Committee for Vanuatu, member of the working group on Justice Sector Strategy under the Ministry of Justice and Community Development, and Member of the National Population Policy working committee under the Prime Minister’s Office. Paul has also been mobilising support with Ministries of Youth in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji for the Melanesian Spear Head Group (MSG) to include a Youth Desk in its secretariat. Paul also represented Pacific Youth in COP 15 in Copenhagen as part of the Pacific Youth Survival Project in partnership with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition sponsored by Get Up Australia.

  • Panelist - Donovan Burton. Donovan is a climate change planner with a diverse portfolio of experience who specialises in integrating climate change adaptation needs into strategic planning and policy advice. Over the past six years he has worked on over 60 climate change adaptation projects. This includes work in Pacific Island Nations as well as with over 30 local governments throughout Australia. During this time he has also worked closely with state government agencies, property developers, infrastructure providers, information technology companies and insurers undertaking a range of climate change adaptation services.

Panelist - Amelia Anthony. Amelia is the climate project and youth officer at the Pacific Calling Partnership in Sydney. Her role is in engaging young Australians and Pacific Islanders in advocacy, campaigning around the effects of climate change in the Pacific, as well as community education. She is undertaking research on the effects of climate change on child health in the Pacific, as well as the competing tensions between conservation and poverty alleviation in the fisheries debate in the Pacific.