Tuvalu launches national youth policy
The Tuvalu government is to launch its national youth policy today giving young people a voice in decision-making.
The Tuvalu government launching its national youth policy giving young people a voice in decision-making.
It is timed with International Youth Day, which this year is pressing the issue of civic youth engagement.
The Pacific Representative of the United Nations Population Fund Laurent Zessler told Indira Moala the policy is an important milestone for the small island state whose young people make up a third of the population.
LAURENT ZESSLER: The youth policy of Tuvalu puts a framework on how young people can really be engaged, how they can be engaged in the decision making process. This is a framework that they can refer to and its a milestone because you know we at UNFPA we are supporting young people engagement and we want things to go beyond tokenism and just you know involving young people for the sake of involving them. We want them to be part of the decision making process and to be considered not only during the election time but also when the important decisions are made for the country, for the future of each country.
INDIRA MOALA: So this policy is really going to give them a voice?
LZ: Exactly we have a large number of people in Tuvalu as well and this youth policy gives a framework for their engagement. And in the case of Tuvalu is related to the how to best tackle climate change which is affecting everyone citizen of Tuvalu in particular.
IM: With the Climate Change issue how does it affect these young people in Tuvalu directly?
LZ: There is many ways to look at it, you know the direct effect of climate change when it goes to for example access to land , access to clean water, access to adequate food and so on. So this is really an issue that will affect the future. It is important that if we are building resilience towards the issue of climate change that young people are consulted, are involved, because they are deciding about their future life in their own country.
IM: Climate Change is a significant reason that might push young people to migrate elsewhere. How is the government looking at tackling that issue of migration?
LZ: They have you know, several measures that should be taken in terms of how land management and these kind of things should be addressed urgently and I think you know there is an urgency that people of the Pacific are putting on the international scene. And that is you know something that you know, we are taking very much into consideration because you know, because it is really a priority for the Pacific Island countries.
IM: Are you able to tell me what percentage of Tuvalu's population is considered youth or perhaps under 24?
LZ: Yes we have 34 percent of the population which is under the age of 35, sometimes you know, sometimes countries define the young population you know under the age of 25 or under the age of 35.
IM: So in Tuvalu is 34 the cut off age for young people?
LZ: Yes the age is defined between 15 years and 35 years and it accounts for 34 percent of the population.
IM: So that means that this policy is going to affect about a third of Tuvalu's population?
LZ: That is correct and I think you know we are very impressed by the government of Tuvalu's you know, strong leadership and they are really committed to have this engagement of their young population. And this is what the young people are saying you know they want their voice to be heard in the decision making process.
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