Nearly 40 participants engaged in dialogue at OneReef Worldwide Stewardship’s First Palau Youth Forum held last week on Youth Day at Palasia Hotel Palau. The theme for this forum was “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” and aimed to raise Palau’s youth voices as Future Ocean Guardians. The forum provided a platform for Palauan Youth to engage in thoughtful dialogue about their perspectives, experiences, and ideas about the ocean, the role of youth in ocean conservation, and their vision for the future of Palau.
After hearing from young Palauans involved in various activities as social entrepreneurs, naturalist tour guides, and environmental science practitioners, the participants spent the rest of the day discussing their priorities and pathways for addressing the ocean, climate change, and biodiversity crises that Palau faces. As part of taking active ownership of these important issues, they presented their outcomes to President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. at the end of the Forum. He applauded their contributions to this national issue and reminded them that their voices were important.
OneReef is a non-profit organization that was founded and chartered in the US in 2009 and partners with island communities to combine traditional stewardship and modern resources to protect coral reefs. The Micronesia Program office is based in Palau with a small team of practitioners from the FSM and Palau. OneReef believe that young Pacific Islanders have a critical role in protecting our ocean. The First Palau Youth Forum is part of its Traditional Stewardship/Future Ocean Guardians program that encourages the reconnection of youth with traditional experts and the environment. Since young people are critical agents of change, OneReef advocates for their active involvement in the planning and design of innovative solutions that address the climate-ocean-biodiversity crisis. For more information, please call the OneReef local office at 488-4361.