DECLARATION

YOUTH VISIONING FOR ISLAND LIVING

We, the ninety-six youth of thirty-one Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and six other small island nations with other affiliations, meeting at Pointe aux Sables, Mauritius, 7-12 January 2005:

Call upon the delegations at the Meeting for the Review of the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, to recognise and take into account in your deliberations and national plans of action, the concerns and specific needs of youth living in small islands as noted below; 

Recalling the United Nations Agenda 21 adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992, which established the framework for sustainable development among the world’s nations;

Taking into account the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States adopted at the Barbados Conference in 1994;

Recognising that as the leaders of future generations, we have specific rights, obligations and responsibilities, and that it is our duty to present to the global community our concerns and proposals for achieving and maintaining sustainable development for young people living in small island nations;

Understanding that as small island nations are part of the global community, we therefore have a responsibility to conserve their biodiversity, culture, historic, and economic value for the needs of both present and future generations;

Noting the importance of preserving small island cultural identity and acknowledging the need for co-existence between traditional and western/modern culture, the youth of small islands have a vital contribution to make as they have the experience of living both in traditional and modern settings;

Acknowledging that the health and well-being of youth is of critical importance to the long term sustainability of small island communities;

Emphasising the importance of coastal and marine environments to small islands, small island youth see the need to conserve these resources for survival and economic viability;

Realising that equipping youth with skills and knowledge of environmental protection and conservation enables them to make a difference for the sustainable management of small island natural resources for present and future generations;

Taking into account that improper waste management leads to pollution, poor sanitation, loss of biodiversity as well as a decrease in the quality of life and the aesthetic value of small islands, thereby causing a decline in tourism, revenue and economic viability;

Highlighting that the large-scale, unsustainable use of forest resources leads to a loss of biodiversity thus upsetting the balance of survival of the local people and limiting the livelihood opportunities for small island youth;

Recognising that encouraging and supporting youth to live and work in their small island nation is of critical importance for the building of the sustainable small island nations;

Noting that flexible and diverse pathways for youth should be based on developing the means for youth to have access to appropriate and diverse educational opportunities, both academic and vocational, in national, regional and interregional contexts;

Taking into account the limitations of small island resources and the social impact of unemployment, securing viable job opportunities for youth is of prime importance;

Recalling that natural disasters as well as modern security issues pose a particular threat to the sustainable development and viability of small island nations and their youth;

We, the youth of Small Island Developing States and other small island nations call upon our governments, private sector, and civil society to assist us in:

Building partnerships with youth to support the preservation of culture with and for future generations;

Involving youth in decision making concerning the social, cultural and physical environment, and in the development of policies and enforcement of laws in order to ensure good governance;

Educating youth on issues such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and healthy lifestyles thereby strengthening family, school and community relations and contributing to stronger morals and values;

Contributing to the development and implementation of policies to effectively manage marine and coastal resources;

Developing reforestation initiatives and enforcing regulations to conserve and enhance biodiversity for sustainable development of small island nations;

Implementing public awareness campaigns related to people’s everyday lives to encourage changes in behaviour, engaging small island youth as environmental advocates;

Securing viable job opportunities for youth by developing youth leadership and advocacy as well as strengthening networking between sectors, thereby reducing the social impact of unemployment;

Enabling access for youth to appropriate training and education opportunities in both technical and academic studies, thereby providing openings to get involved in viable economic sectors;

Establishing and implementing internship policies and programmes at the secondary and tertiary levels which qualify as official job experience;

Securing easily accessible financing for potential entrepreneurs as they are the engine for economic growth;

Providing youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to plan for and respond to the dangers posed to their societies by both natural disasters and modern security threats.

We, the ninety-six youth of thirty-one Small Island Developing States and six other small island nations with other affiliations, thank you.


Country Commitments for follow-up work made by youth delegates at the Closing Ceremony of Youth Visioning for Island Living, Mauritius, 12th January 2005

1. Antigua and Barbuda: Environmental education on recycling

2. Bahamas: ‘Youth outreach’ - Youth-led social education programme to deal with HIV/AIDS awareness at secondary school level 

3. Barbados: Development of youth-led micro-enterprises and improvement of documentation

4. British Virgin Islands: Promotion of healthy lifestyles and habits to heighten local culture among youths

5. Cape Verde Islands: Generating employment opportunities for secondary school leavers, and mitigating the effects of sand mining/ Creer des emplois pour ceux qui quittent l’ecole et reduire les effets de l’extraction de sable  

6. Comores: Improving the structure of the education system/ Ameliorer le systeme d’education

7. Cook Islands: Intergenerational cultural dialogue and documentation

8. Cuba: Strengthening environmental education and related documentation centres

9. Dominica: Promotion of local Creole language in schools and communities, and waste management

10. Dominican Republic: Promoting local culture as a means of enhancing youth identities

11. Federated States of Micronesia: Regional wide Reorganization, Revitalization and Re-networking of State Youth Congress

12. Fiji Islands: HIV prevention and awareness

13. Grenada: Youth-community re-forestation programme following Hurricane Ivan

14. Haiti: Mobilizing public support for environmental conservation/ Mobiliser le peuple pour la conservations de l’environnement

15. Jamaica: Youth-led environmental education for schools from basic to secondary levels

16. Kiribati: To educate and plan proper waste and sanitation practices

17. Madagascar: Environmental education for all people/ education environnementale pour tout le monde

18. Maldives: Improving career guidance at the secondary level in order to facilitate youth employment in the agriculture, tourism and fishery sectors

19. Marshall Islands: Preventing youth drug abuse, and youth education

20. Mauritius: Helping create more youth employment

21. Montserrat: Promotion of local culinary culture, and beach preservation

22. New Zealand: Raising the level of awareness among women and youth about the hazards of gambling in family life

23. Niue: Cultural education for Niueans in New Zealand

24. Palau: Development of a solid waste management plan, coral reef education

25. Rodrigues: Strategies to reduce teenage pregnancy

26. Seychelles: Helping create more youth employment through local investment

27. Sao Tome and Principe: Improving the education system/ Ameliorer le systeme d’education

28. Singapore: Addressing the generational drift in culture and communication resulting from the rapid modernization of Singapore

29. Solomon Islands: Ensuring youth have a voice in planning and development, and in decision making

30. St. Kitts and Nevis: A mandatory internship programme to promote youth employment prospects
31. St. Lucia: Heighten awareness through youth for youth about environmental issues and HIV-AIDS

32. St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Creating community awareness and encouraging involvement in beach protection

33. Tokelau: Establishing learning centres, targeting youth not in the scholarship programme, for vocational training including information technology

34. Trinidad and Tobago: Enhancing career guidance and job placement for youth, and beach enhancement

35. Turks and Caicos Islands: Enhancing AIDS awareness amongst youth

36. Vanuatu: Awareness about substance abuse

37. Zanzibar: Improving the educational system