Young people can bring about cultural change in attitudes and behaviours towards corruption, have the vitality and perspective that needs to be heard, and the creativity and innovation that is needed to address this complex agenda. Osnat Lubrani, UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, made these comments during the opening of the Pacific Youth Forum Against Corruption in Nadi this week.
“The UN works with governments to put in place policies and institutional frameworks for prevention and fight against corruption, but we see civil society, particularly the young population, as the creators for demand for accountability, and as future leaders who can build strong and progressive partnerships for building more open, efficient and accountable societies,” Ms Lubrani said.
Welcoming participants and guests to the Forum, which included Peter Lothian, Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, Suva, and Member of Parliament, the Honourable Ralph Regenvanu from Vanuatu, the Honourable Minister for Youth and Sports in Fiji, Lt Col. Laisenia Tuitubou, said that the Forum was an opportunity for the participants to broaden their minds and perspective on good governance and integrity, and exchange practical ideas, views and means to fighting corruption.
“We need to strengthen readily available mechanisms to promote accountability by all involved in youth work at all levels of their engagement. As you discuss issues pertaining to curbing, reducing and resisting corruption during these few days ahead – may you also ponder what you could do as representatives of your country and organization when you return regarding the status of your country’s national youth policy,” he said.
Ms Lubrani emphasized that “We are determined to discover new and innovative ways to increasing oversight, access to information and accountability. We are counting on you and your fresh creative minds to help take us down that path of innovation,”
The Hon. Tuitubou added that there is a need to meet regularly and establish a stronger network that will harness the Pacific’s collective efforts towards youth development.
“I hope that at the end of this Forum there will be a stronger network in the region between each country to establish stronger platforms in promoting integrity and preventing corruption in the Pacific with youths,” Hon Tuitobu said.
Ms Lubrani concluded by saying that the Forum was just a starting point in seeking long-term partnerships with Pacific youth in regard to the UN’s work on the prevention of corruption.
UNDP and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in partnership with the Pacific Youth Council, are supporting the voices of young and marginalized people around the region who are speaking out against corruption and its corrosive effects on society.
The Youth Forum is an activity of the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project, a four-year joint initiative of UNDP and UNODC, with funding from the Australian Government.