Pacific youth anti-corruption movement gains prominence at the global stage
Washington, D.C., USA – Pacific youth advocates for anti-corruption called for global action to build a fair and sustainable future for all at the world premier forum in the fight against corruption. The Pacific example of innovative youth anti-corruption movement was highlighted at the Special Pacific Anti-Corruption Panel Discussion that was convened by the University of the South Pacific Students’ Association (USPSA) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji as part of the 20th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) hosted by the Transparency International in Washington, D.C.
The Special Pacific Anti-Corruption Panel Discussion shared the Pacific experience of building an innovative regional youth approach to anti-corruption with the aim of inspiring and informing increased global youth voice and influence for improved anti-corruption results especially with regards to achieving progress on pressing global issues such as climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Grounded on international and regional anti-corruption commitments including the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2021 Teieniwa Pacific Unity against Corruption Vision, and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, USPSA in partnership with UNDP started working to enhance integrity, anti-corruption and right to information advocacy targeting youth across the region.
Since 2021, the initiative has set new standards for giving a voice to youths in the region by developing a youth movement focused on good governance, integrity, anti-corruption and right to information.
Important milestones were achieved through key successful regional events. The Pacific Youth Summit in 2021, bringing together over 5,000 youth leaders, students, and professionals from 12 Pacific Island countries, discussed the importance of integrity and stronger youth action on anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability. The momentum was further strengthened through the Pacific Regional Leaders Dialogue in May 2022, in which youth leaders and high level national and regional political representatives highlighted the critical role of young people.
Later in 2022, the second Pacific Youth Summit was organized in October, which adopted the ‘Youth Vision for a Corruption-Resilient Blue Pacific’, a formal articulation of youth commitment to a corruption-resilient Pacific and constructive collaboration towards coherent, sustainable and long-term results with strategic regional partners.
The Pacific Youth Vision reflects youth commitment into shaping their future and having their voice on good governance and anti-corruption heard in a structured and sustainable manner in close partnership with Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and other Council of Regional Organisation agencies in the Pacific (CROP) for ensuring coherent, sustainable and long-term results.
Ms. Tepola Lolohea, youth leader and Member of Youth Parliament of Kingdom of Tonga has been actively taking part in the Pacific youth anti-corruption movement. “The Pacific Youth Vision is our commitment to strengthen democratic and effective governance anchored in integrity and accountability in our Pacific Island countries. I confidently present our ‘Vision’ to global youth and leaders and ask to work together on this very key issue for our sustainable future,” said Ms. Lolohea.
Tuvalu’s Permanent Representative to the UN, His Excellency Mr. Samuelu Laloniu emphasized and stated, “Corruption in climate finance negatively impacts climate change actions and affect adaptation and mitigation efforts. This is one critical area for work, and it is commendable that Pacific youth in cooperation with CROP agencies, PIFS in particular, already spotlighted this issue.”
“The 2050 Blue Strategy is about our Pacific future. The ocean connects us and gives us the opportunity to work together and leverage our collective strength to create the type of future we want for our region. I urge our youths of the Pacific region, rise to these challenges of corruption, join hands and let’s work together for our resilient and sustainable Pacific future”, were the remarks of the Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the UN, Her Excellency Mrs. Jane Mugafalu Kabui Waetara.
Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska, UNDP Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “UNDP Pacific Office, in partnership with USP and USPSA, has been working with youth to enhance integrity, anti-corruption and right to information advocacy across the region. Enhanced youth advocacy is critical to developing more informed anti-corruption policies, better legislation, and more effective and inclusive implementation, along with the improved regional and cross-regional cooperation.”
The panellists for the Special Pacific Panel Discussion included youth leaders: Tongan Youth Parliament Member, Ms. Tepola Lolohea from Tonga, climate youth activist and One Young World Ambassador, Ms. Belyndar Rikimani from the Solomon Islands, and the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in New York Mr. Christian Ciobanu. High-level speakers included H.E. Mr. Samuelu Laloniu, Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the UN, Kiribati’s Permanent Representative to the UN, H.E. Mr. Teburoro Tito, and the Solomon Island’s Permanent Representative to the UN, H.E. Mrs. Jane Mugafalu Kabui Waetara. Experts on the panel included Mr. Gerardo Berthin from Freedom House in Washington and Ms. Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser from the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.
Mr Aneet Kumar, USPSA Deputy Secretary General, while concluding the event said, “USPSA, in partnership with UNDP, has built a dynamic youth anti-corruption movement with unprecedented direction, policy influence and political access. The partnership enabled us to strengthen our knowledge and we are further consolidating Pacific youth voices to engage in regional and global policy platforms.”
The initiative led by Pacific youth has been supported by UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji through the New Zealand-funded UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC) and the UK-funded programme Strengthening Anticorruption, Transparency and Accountability in Pacific Island Countries (Pacific Anti-Corruption Project).
Shania Mani, Project Assistant, USP Student Association; Email: email@example.com
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Communications and Advocacy; UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org