Articles: Marshall Islands and Five Other Pacific Nations Critiqued in Urban Youth Report
Youth are not just the future, but are very much a part of the present, and because of this Pacific leaders should pay greater attention to the concerns of young people. This strong message came out at the launch of a report “Urban Youth in the Pacific – Increasing Resilience and Reducing Risk for Involvement in Crime and Violence,” on June 2, 2011. It contains case studies from six Pacific Island countries – the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tonga.
The report covers issues like what factors push Pacific youth to become involved in crime and violence and what can be done to reduce the risk and increase the resilience of young people. The report highlights good policies and activities that address youth crime and violence.
The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Knut Ostby who jointly launched the report with the Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Andie Fong Toy, acknowledged the contribution of young people to society.
“The majority of young Pacific people contribute through study, work, socio-cultural obligations and service to their family and community. Young people are also commonly victims well as often perpetrators of violence and crime. In this way they both contribute to and threaten human security in the region,” he said.
“This report aims to provide policy and programming options for Pacific governments and other stakeholders, including the United Nations, to prevent young people becoming involved in crime and violence, and to fulfill their potential as productive citizens. It attempts to present how human security can be strengthened through supporting young people, who are at risk of involvement in crime and violence, to build resilience,” Mr Ostby said.
The report identifies resilience factors that decrease the probability of young people’s involvement in crime and violence. Some of these factors include: relevant and quality education, sound guidance from parents, quality time spent by parents with children, peers that show positive behaviour, engagement with religious institutions, good communication within families, a healthy and safe family and community environment.
- Pacific Centre, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)