23.04.2014 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Investing for the future

This week, approximately thirty young people are attending a Workshop in Touho, one of the lagoons that consists of “Lagoon of New Caledonia”, the World Heritage site in New Caledonia.

The Youth action camp aims to raise awareness of the importance of marine biodiversity and climate change among youth.  The young people are from the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines and New Caledonia.

Tomorrow’s Decision Makers

The UNESCO Workshop, organized in cooperation with the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels de Nouvelle-Caledonie (CEN) within the framework of the 2014 International Year of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), aimed to inform young people from the Asia/Pacific region about marine biodiversity and climate change.

The role of young people in the project was made clear when the director of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, Etienne Clement, stated that “These young people have growing responsibilities in the environment domain. They will soon or later be in a position of decision making. Raising their environment awareness is an investment for the future”.

A Useful Workshop

Carmela Quin, the focal point for the education program of World Heritage, UNESCO Paris, said “We wish to give basic skills to young people in order to help them build their own projects on climate change”. She added that “UNESCO also wants to raise their awareness about the volunteerism and obtain more Pacific nominations from Pacific SIDS for inscription on the World Heritage List”.

The workshop scheduled from April 7 to 13 is very intense and includes field visits to the lagoon and reef area as well as Koniambo factory.

The coordinator of the Heritage Unit at the CEN, Myriam Marcon hopes that young people will be inspired by what they see here, like the restoration of mangrove and the monitoring the evolution of reefs.  She also expressed her expectations and hopes for the Program’s impact on youth, by saying “Youth need to play a leading role in climate change management and adaptation. They have to be agents for change.”  

Why do you participate in this Workshop?

Isabelle, 30 years old, Belep: “it’s enriching” “I am on the field with technicians who can help us with our projects. Where I live, the wastes are burned in the garbage dump, thus burning already re-planted tree zones. Instead of being burned, we’d like waste to be recycled and taken to Kaaala-Gomen. For the moment, we raise awareness in schools and organize waste collection operations.”

Gibson, 23 years old, PNG, “To better learn our place

“Here, I learn the importance of protecting World Heritage sites. I learned that mangroves can be planted to fight against erosion. SIDS should consider these kind of climate change adaptation strategies. I think that we, young people, should play a bigger role in climate change policies.”

Kirana, 24 years old, Indonesia: “Share what I learned

“I’m in front of a World Heritage site. Before coming, I didn’t know about SIDS and especially about the deep impact that climate change have on them. In Indonesia, this stake is indeed less visible. I’d like to go home and share what I learned here.”

From the article « investissement sur l’avenir » in Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes 




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