Moemoana Schwenke
Climate Change Resilience

22 May 2024, Apia Samoa - Amplifying the voice of youth to take action against climate change, Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa, Ms Moemoana Safa’atoa Schwenke, offered delegates at the 4th Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Change Conference in Apia, food for thought.
“If we seriously want better outcomes for Pacific youth as agents of change in the climate movement, we must first empower them to be leaders — and that comes with giving meaningful and quality time between generations, intergenerational dialogue, transferring wisdom and knowledge,” she said. 
“Once empowered, we must provide them with educational opportunities, integrating climate change into school curriculums and organising workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns to equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills, resources and platforms.”

Miss Pacific Islands
Ms Schwenke delivered the keynote address during the Empowering Youth to Take Action Against Climate Change session of the 4th POPCCC taking place at Le Papaigalagala from 20 – 23 May 2024.  Jointly organised by the National University of Samoa (NUS), the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), the conference is guided by the theme: ‘Our Ocean, Our Home: Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific.’  
The conference was opened by Samoa’s Prime Minister, Hon. Fiame Dr. Naomi Mata’afa on Monday, who said we are way off course in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, in particular in limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5C.  As small island developing states, and being the most vulnerable countries to the effects of sea level rise, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, overfishing and marine pollution, Pacific voices and interests should be the basis for global action, Prime Minister Fiame reminded.
Miss Pacific Islands Ms Schwenke added that the voice of youth and young people from across the Pacific should be a key part of this global drive. However, leaders of today and existing forums and platforms must create and avail those opportunities. She understands the need as she is no stranger to climate advocacy having spent many years advocating for the Pacific in the climate change space at the regional and global stage.
“My experience at COP26 alongside 350 Pacific Climate Warriors and COP28 alongside the Samoan Government Delegation were opportunities that exposed me to so much experience and expertise. These are opportunities that need to be available, something to aspire to,” she told delegates at the 4th POPCCC.
“Opportunities are what our youth need, whether that be through mentorship programs, encouraging community-based projects such as beach clean-ups and reforestation so they see tangible impact of their actions, to allowing them to have their voices heard at local, national or international forums.
“We empower young people to take the lead in climate action, in the same way I was empowered. Our young people have the answers to what we need as a community. Our greatest act of love then as older generations is to have the grace to listen to them.”
At Lecture theatre D201 on Wednesday, Ms Schwenke opened her presentation by singing a Samoan chant, Aue ta fefe, from the volcanic eruption in 1905 in Savai’i which caused one of the biggest internal displacements in Samoan history. 
“I share this with you today as a living example of how traditional knowledge, traditional learning methods continues to strengthen the resilience of our blue Pacific. We don't need to look far to find solutions,” she said.
“Our ancestors have already laid the foundation and blueprint of how we navigate the world. The answers are within us. The answers are in the languages we speak, the chants we sing, the artefacts we weave and carve, and the movements of our dance, that we share and pass from one generation to another.
“Resilience is Capacity. Learning from the past to build our capacity for the future, especially for our youth, is a cultural preservation approach that no ocean tide can drown, as long as we exist as a people equip with our culture.”

Miss Pacific islands at POPCCC
Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa Moemoana Safa’ato’a Schwenke is a proud daughter of Samoa and our Blue Pacific Continent.  She is dedicated to empowering youth to address social, political, and environmental challenges through Pacific arts.  Her Tā Fesilafa’i Performing Arts Initiative in Samoa involved over 400 young people. 
The fourth Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Change Conference (4POPCCC) from 20-24 May 2024 is held in Apia, Samoa. 
It is organised by the National University of Samoa (NUS) in partnership with the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The theme of the conference is “Our Ocean, Our Home: Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific.”  
Further information can be found on:


POPCCC, climate change, climate crisis