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19.11.2015 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Looking Beyond Disaster forum in Vanuatu

(c) Yusuke Nii

The Looking Beyond Disaster (LBD) forum was organised in Port Vila and Tanna island, Vanuatu, on 13 to 15 October and 2 to 4 November respectively. The purpose of the forum was to empower youth by sharing knowledge, experiences and good practices related to the passage of cyclone PAM and current severe dry weather caused by El nino as well as to prepare an action plan for the future.

These forums were made possible with significant support from the Ministry of Youth Development, Sports and Training, Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC) and New Zealand National Commissions for UNESCO.

Youth participants were selected from rural areas, remote islands, disabled association, bi-sexual association etc in order to empower youth especially in rural and remote areas to be more resilient towards disaster and to include and reflect various voices and views into an action plan.

At the end of the workshop, the action plans developed by respective areas and islands were presented to Mr.William Nasak, the Director General of Ministry for Youth Development, Sports and Training, VNYC representatives, village chiefs, other stakeholders and community members.

The participants stated that they will work on the following activities to strengthen their own community: water preservation; community centre building as a safe evacuation shelter; awareness raising to involve chiefs; problem identification; setting up youth group/committee; training for an emergency situation; community development project by youth; seed bank; and poultry project to earn income.

Mr.Nasak mentioned that ‘youth development is an important area for the government of Vanuatu’ and ‘the government is ready to support the youth-led project stated in the presentation by each representative’. He reminded the participants to take actions at each community to make positive changes happen and to ask assistance if participants have any youth-led development activities in mind.

UNESCO is looking forward to be a witness of positive changes in each community since participants must have acquired lots of tools, skills and experiences to do so at their own communities. UNESCO will continue to support activities which empower youth and women especially in rural and remote areas.

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