By Edward Tavanavanua, Journalism student at USP
Pacific Nature Conference Closing Bulletin 2013, Suva Fiji - The Pacific Youth Environmental Network (PYEN) sought support and effective developments in local and regional environmental policies and initiatives at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in Suva, Fiji.
Journalism student at the National University of Samoa, Mr. Joshua Lafoai, 19, spoke on behalf of PYEN on the environmental areas they felt were the most in need of attention in the Pacific.
"We demand change; change is possible and we as youth call upon international policies to solve the issues in natural resources and ecosystems management, climate change, invasive species and biosecurity, and waste management," he said.
The network comprises the region's young environmentalists aged 15 - 25 years old who are actively involved in environment, sustainable development and youth projects in their own countries.
"We need to address these issues to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources and biodiversity," said Mr. Lafoai.
He also stressed the urgency of collective action against environmental degradation in the Pacific.
"Today everyone must take action," he said.
"As leaders of today and leaders of the future, we need to safeguard our generation and for future generations to come."
The PYEN produced a youth statement elaborating on these suggestions to Pacific Island governments and possible contributions in those four main environmental areas at their 6th PYEN Workshop held last week from 29 November - 1 December 2013, in Suva, Fiji.
A PYEN statement video on their concerns for today and visions for the future in the Pacific was launched at the conference.
Edward Tavanavanua is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji. This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference. This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).