Suva, Fiji - Pacific youths’ voices need to be heard on how their islands should be developed once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end in 2015.

The MDGs are a set of eight goals agreed to by word leaders in 2000 that aim to free humanity from extreme poverty, diseases and illiteracy.  While there have been varying degrees of achievement of the MDGs across the globe and in the Pacific, it is broadly acknowledged that MDGs were powerful in galvanizing international development efforts. 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Pacific Youth Council has organsied a series of debates amongst university students on Pacific Perspectives on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

“The post-2015 goals should build on past experiences and help focus national and global development efforts in forward looking fashion. Ideally, the post-MDG framework should be developed bottom-up building on country perspectives. This series of consultations with the Pacific youth is an ideal way of gauging what the leaders of tomorrow want,” said the UNDP Resident Representative Knut Ostby.

The first round of debates will take place at USP on May 16 where two sets of debates will take place; one focusing on the motion: “MDGs succeeded in creating international consensus and focusing global efforts on concrete and measurable developmental goals” and the other on “In light of the global efforts to achieve MDGs targets over the last decade, there is a need to formulate a post-2015 agenda on development that will mobilize action for positive change.”

“As students of the premier university of the region representing 12 Pacific Island countries it is pivotal that their views and those of young people more generally are heard on the MDGs, and possible future consensus based united efforts at addressing development challenges in the region. The debate teams, made up of students from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Education, Faculty of Business and Economics and from Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, are researching and preparing their for topics with much vigour,”  said USP’s Director of Development Studies and Head of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs, Professor Vijay Naidu.

Pacific Youth Council’s Coordinator, Tarusila Bradburgh said “youth voices for the post 2015 development agenda was crucial. Our young people of the Pacific need to be genuinely engaged and connected so that they can also own these global development agendas. To best serve their needs, we need to pay attention to what they are saying and these debates are one of their ‘safe spaces to speak’ and we urge development partners to include their voices in the development processes of the post 2015 agenda.”

The region’s youths have already started discussing the post 2015 development agenda on the Facebook page Pacific Perspectives on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

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