The Regional Ecumenical Youth Council, in collaboration with the Pacific Australia Emerging Leaders Network has put together a series of regional webinars for youth to delve into concerns for our region outlined in the 2022 Pacific Emerging Leaders Summit (PAELS) Report entitled, ‘The Pacific We See.’
The 4-part series will take place virtually between June 2023 – September 2023, in preparation for the Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly and the PAELS 2023, and any interested youth are welcome to participate.
With the multitude of issues currently facing the Pacific region, youth voices have been amongst the most active in a number of issues including the impacts of the climate crisis on our Ocean, Deep Sea Mining, Nuclear testing and its impacts on Pacific communities, amongst others, Youth advocates like Jonathan Mesulum, the Director of the West Coast Development Foundation states, ‘ Why risk our ocean, which is our source of livelihoods, it is part of who we are as pacific people when the spectrum of the impact is unclear and regulations have not been formulated. Young people have a role to play in addressing the issue of Deep sea mining and protecting our ocean from being exploited to a place that we cannot recover from’.
The first webinar in this series is entitled, ‘Oceans: Exploration to Exploitation,’ concluded last night, The webinar aims to weave together stories of key challenges regarding ocean sustainability, Pacific resilience, and intergenerational knowledge.
Bedi Racule, the Ecumenical Enabler for Climate Justice at the Pacific Conference of Churches, where she works to link faith, culture, climate, nuclear and ocean issues stated that, ‘Young people in the Pacific have banded together before in the past to protect our ocean and our people and if we join together and take action today, we can continue to be protectors and defenders of our island homes’
The vision for this webinar series is to reaffirm the vision of ‘The Pacific We See,’ which is “to see healthy environments, empowered young people, and flourishing communities across the Pacific region. This is a vision that will only be realised in full when communities enjoy self-determination and when no one is left behind.”