Ewan Cameron, 350.org

27 June 2011– The first day of the Pasifika Youth Climate Leadership Workshop kicked off today in Sigatoka, in Fiji, with the attendance of 50 young adults from 13 Pacific nations. The official opening began with a sevusevu ceremony by the Fijian hosts, as well as a welcoming address to the Pacific delegates.

The opening address was made by Samantha Coco-Klein, the Chief Policy, Advocacy, Planning and Evaluation Advisor, with the United Nations Children Fund based in the capital of Fiji, Suva.

“What we are dealing with now is the greatest challenge for our generation, but also for the generation to come”

“The story of the Pacific people is one of the greatest stories of humankind. How your ancestors came and settled in these far flung islands in the blue continent, and what would have driven them, that hope, bravery, and determination to set out into the great unknown and have hope that they would find a homeland at the end of that journey” says Samantha.

“So it is fitting that as humanity starts again in this greatest challenge, that it is the people of the Pacific who are leading the way, because what we are going to need in the coming years, and generations that we are going to be working on this, is going to take hope, that there is a good future in this again for all of us”.

“It is going to take bravery, and it is going to take a lot of determination to keep on going. We have two epic challenges ahead, one is to work on mitigation and slow emissions down, and secondly it is important to tell the story of the Pacific people, the struggles faced by islands over, and over, and over again, so again determination plays an important role in the long term work ahead” said Samantha.

 At the end of the opening, participants introduced themselves and highlighted their hopes and expectations for the workshop, including, what aspects of climate organising they would like to learn. They were introduced to what and who 350.org is, where the name comes from, and the science behind the number 350.

The afternoon involved brainstorming sessions on Climate Change solutions, questions and answers sessions on the climate knowledge and science, lessons on public narratives, Running Workshops 101 and a presentation by David Smith from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific agency based in Fiji, Suva.

Notes: Participants will be from 13 Pacific countries including the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Kiribati, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the host country Fiji.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) will run sessions at the workshop as part of their youth engagement on climate change and water.


For all media enquiries, contact: Ewan Cameron, Pacific Moving Planet Coordinator, 350.org

Email: ewan@350.org


About 350.org

350.org – is an international organisation that's building a movement to unite the world around solutions to climate change. Our mission is to inspire practical climate action in communities across the world. 350 comes from 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere – the level scientists say we need if we want to maintain the world as we currently know it. (Due to the burning of fossil fuels the world is currently at 392.)