2 May 2019, Suva, Fiji - Bridging the gap between youth and climate science was identified as a major goal and objective of the Australia Pacific Climate Partnership (APCP) during a side event at the inaugural Pacific Resilience Meeting in Suva, Fiji.
The APCP is an AUD 75 million investment over four years (2018-2022), funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), aimed at increasing the effectiveness of Australia’s support for climate change action and disaster resilience in the Pacific.
It brings together a suite of long running programs that connect climate science data with decision makers for climate and disaster resilient developments across the Pacific, with a specific focus on connecting this data with Australia’s key sub-programs in the Pacific. An example of this is the the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Mr Christopher Bartlett, Knowledge Manager of the Support Unit of APCP, talked about a new and exciting paradigm which is being witnessed not only around the world but also in the Pacific region itself, where there has been an increase in demand for climate change science from youth climate change activists.
“Presently, the youth are driving the climate change movement and they are very interested in science. The science is what drives the action and it’s not just internationally. If you look at the Pacific, some of our youth climate activists have been talking about science for a long time. In fact, the 350 Pacific’s entire foundation is based on science knowledge and expertise.”
350 Pacific is a youth led grassroots network working with communities to fight climate change in the Pacific.
Through support from the APCP, Pacific island countries have been able to show what youth resilience looks like.
In Kiribati, they have taken an integrated approach to climate informed education and skill building, developed climate resilient facilities and a climate informed curriculum as well as providing teacher training and climate themed vocational skills courses.
The Vanuatu Skills Partnership is helping the Ministry of Education and Training build the skills ni-Vanuatu need to adapt to climate change and ore towards clean, affordable, low carbon growth in tourism, agribusiness, handicraft and construction sectors.
Other efforts by APCP to assist youth in climate change includes an alumni facilitation programme, which aims to link newly graduates from universities and technical colleges in climate change programmes with employers and organisations in their field.
They have also carried out, through their Support Unit, a climate change skills audit, whereby they find out what climate change skills are needed in companies and organisations and make this information available to the youth who may be seeking employment opportunities in the field of climate change.
Mr Avikesh Kumar, a youth representative and participant at the Pacific Resilience Meeting, says, “With all the challenges that youths face in the climate change space, such as the being used for ticking boxes and not actually listening to what we have to say, it great to see that DFAT has taken a more inclusive approach, highlighting the importance of youths role in combating climate change especially realizing that we are in the forefront of losing our future.”
For more information on the Australia Pacific Climate Partnership, please contact [email protected].