Forum Secretary General Henry Puna says there is no better time to hand the baton of spotlighting anti- corruption to ‘you, our youth’, who make up a significant sector of the population in our region.
Addressing the Pacific Conference on Good Governance in Auckland, Puna said the meeting this week has been a step forward, from your Youth Vision for a Corruption-Resilient 2050 Blue Pacific, adopted by Pacific youth in their Summit last October.
“Your pro-active stance on the issue of anti- corruption at this time in your lives, is reassuring. I am confident this initiative will snowball to a scale, where our Pacific future to 2050 will ensure less corruption, and more good governance. A future providing tomorrow’s youth leaders more access and delivery of opportunities, prosperity and meaningful development.
“The conviction, passion and impact which has brought about this Conference, is heartening to many of us gathered here, inspired by your efforts and energy.
“Hold fast to that energy, and ensure the legacy continues for those who will in turn follow your lead. Keep the momentum, and the ground you gain, in transparency and anti-corruption leadership,” Puna told the delegates at the conference.
Puna said he was was amongst those who gathered in Kiribati in late January 2020, to endorse the Teieniwa vision for a Pacific future free from corruption.
“And now as a regional servant, I thank you for your leadership, in ensuring the Pacific addresses the drivers of corruption that are, and will continue, to impede our collective efforts towards the peace, prosperity, and security of our Blue Pacific continent.
“I encourage you, to draw out the best of the outcomes of the next two days, to further strengthen your relations with partners, who truly share your vision, to build your capacity, to engage with the broader regional youth networks across the Pacific, and globally.
So go, cast your net wide. Continue to practice diversity, inclusion and voice. Reap the rewards of insights from the generations before you, and apply those lessons for the generations rising in national youth councils, faith-based, gender and feminist movements, and lobbies across the digital, economic and climate spaces, to name a few,” Puna emphasised.
He said USP’s initiative has connected young people, both to the current regional political leadership and the wider community, empowering them to voice their anti-corruption concerns.
“To advocate for action. The work has also empowered Pacific youth to engage positively, in areas beyond right to information and anti-corruption.
“At the regional level, the Biketawa Declaration on Good Governance, the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, and the Teieniwa Declaration on Anti- Corruption, are a timeline of our changing times. They are also opportunities for synergy and effort, for anyone fighting corruption in the Pacific. Taken together, and woven into the 2050 Strategy, they ensure the Pacific has a fighting chance, to continue the work you will advance this week,” said Forum SG Puna.
He said the 2050 Strategy is a recognition, that working together as one Blue Pacific Continent, is a powerful expression of our strength.
“People are at the centre of the 2050 Strategy! And in the Pacific, one in two – almost 50 percent of our people, are between the ages of 15 to 24. That makes for a lot of young people. Young people who are already impacting, and impacted by, every aspect of development.
“We are witnessing and experiencing, how poor governance can ruin and reverse the potential of youths, in advancing national and regional development. We are witnessing and experiencing, how transparency and good governance delivers the impacts, for progress and truly sustainable development. Yes, at the core of all we do, it is people.
“We will be looking to you, our youth, to pursue the mantle of leadership in your countries, for you are in the present, and best placed to navigate the pathways for the future, as you continue the handover to those following in your footsteps, and carve new journeys in our future-facing Pacific world,” said Forum SG Puna.