Press Release

Young SIDS voices lead on ‘Commitment to Action’

30 May 2024

SUVA, Fiji, 30 May 2024

Photo of Pacific Island Youth on the stage at SIDS4
Caption: Pacific Island Youth at SIDS4
Photo: © UNICEF

Over 80 passionate young delegates from across the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea unleashed a ‘Commitment to Action’ to envision a future where all young people from Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) thrive in resilient, sustainable, as well as inclusive societies over the next 10 years.

This document has been officially presented by the young delegates to world leaders this morning* at the Fourth International SIDS Conference held in Antigua and Barbuda this week.

The key areas focus on children and young people’s commitment to a safe and prosperous society, resilient economies, a secure future as well as environmental integrity and planetary sustainability.

"World leaders need to involve us, young people, in our present actions and future decisions. There will always be change, but we must make sure it reflects the needs and voices of the young people rather than contribute to the issues they are facing,” said Dee-Raya Antonio, UNICEF-supported young person from Palau who is one of the 80 young delegates. “I will take what I learned to heart and commit to strengthening youth action. I plan to open more opportunities for the youth of my home to forge their own paths and movements."

The young people call for investment in healthcare - prioritizing mental health, in protection against violence and inclusivity to ensure all voices are heard. They also call for all young people to have access to quality education as well as more training opportunities to give young people exposure to non-traditional careers that align with global demand.

In addition, they advocate for collectively taking actions to contribute to a greener and more sustainable society.

“The powerful voices of the young people are holding governments and partners accountable for the commitments they are making at the Fourth International SIDS Conference,” said UNICEF Pacific’s Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “UNICEF is ready to support and work together with our young leaders of tomorrow towards justice against dangerous impacts on their future.”

The ‘Commitment to Action’ was developed by the young people during the SIDS Global Children and Youth Action Summit - a ground-breaking event aimed at empowering young people from Small Island Developing States to address the complex challenges facing their communities.

Pacific Island Youth at SIDS4 in cultural attire
Caption: Pacific Island Youth at SIDS4
Photo: © UNICEF

Zubnah Khan

Communications Officer

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United Nations Children’s Fund

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