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Youth Visioning poster

Representing a significant part of the population of small islands, young people with their enthusiasm, passion and drive, are being fully involved in the review of the programme of action for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and its future follow-up.

In January 2004 A Youth Visioning for Island Living initiative was launched as one of the Small Islands Voice activities.

Young islanders, 13-23 years, were invited to take part in a visioning process whereby they could articulate how they want their islands to develop in the future and how they plan to help make this happen. The visioning centred around three broad themes:

  • Life and love in islands - island lifestyles and cultures
  • My island home - safeguarding island environments
  • Money in my pocket - economic and employment opportunities

These themes emerged from the Small Islands Voice internet discussions in 2002-3.

Phase 1 Preparatory Activities

During 2004, young people started with preparatory activities such as meetings, internet discussion forums, an art competition, poetry and essay competitions, to begin to prepare their positions on these three themes. During the interregional preparatory meeting for the review of the SIDS Programme of Action, held in The Bahamas from the 26th to 30th January 2004, Bahamian youth conducted their own visioning for island living consultation. This provided valuable insight for the larger activity in Mauritius in January 2005. A Caribbean regional preparatory meeting for Youth Visioning was held in St. Lucia from 25th to 27th October, 2004 in collaboration with OECS, see press release. A full report has been prepared of this meeting.

Also during 2004, countries selected delegates to go to a Youth Visioning event in Mauritius, 7-12th January 2005.

The discussions on the Small Islands Voice youth internet forum were particularly useful in preparing some background ideas. A document was prepared summarizing the major discussion lines and this was distributed to the youth delegates in Mauritius.

Phase 2 Youth Visioning Event in Mauritius

In January 2005, 96 youth from 37 island nations in the Caribbean, Pacific and AIMS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea) regions met at Pointe aux Sables in Mauritius to decide on the major issues of concern for youth.

The youth had a very packed six-day programme, with preparatory workshops, panel and small group discussions sessions, regional cultural evenings and field trips.

Small group discussion

Performance by Comoros delegates at one cultural evening

On 12th January 2005, the youth presented their Youth Declaration to the Main United Nations meeting.

Presenting the declaration at the Main United Nations meeting

The closing ceremony of Youth Visioning was attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, his wife, Nane, and the Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Ko´chiro Matsuura. They listened closely as the youth committed themselves to follow-up projects and activities.

Mr. Kofi Annan and Mr. Ko´chiro Matsuura at the closing ceremony.

Phase 3 Project Implementation

The youth delegates have now returned home and are sharing the events of Mauritius with their counterparts at home. They are also working on preparing project proposals. Small Islands Voice, together with other national, regional and inter-regional partners are working with the youth to support them in their project implementation.

Already some exciting and very diverse projects have been implemented. In Singapore, student volunteers worked to bridge the generation gap and successfully organized a steamboat feast to celebrate the Chinese New Year for 105 elderly inhabitants of Redhill Close. In Dominica, two projects have been implemented, one focusing on reviving the Creole culture and the second involved the community of Gutter Village in maintaining a clean and healthy environment. In neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda, youth created a website to give young entrepreneurs information on how to start their own business. While in the Cap Verde Islands, youth worked to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS through sporting activities. In Fiji a youth parliament alumni was established and among the first activities of the alumni were HIV/AIDS education activities and environmental clean-ups.

For more information on Youth Visioning, go the website www.islandyouth.org

A feature story on the Youth Visioning process, on the 'Whatkidscando' website (http://www.whatkidscando.org/index.asp) provides another view of Youth Visioning and presents interviews with some of the youth involved.


To get involved, contact :


Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08

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