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Change through Advocacy: Platform for young people to find solutions

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08th March, 2018 Participation in decision making and politics at the national level still remains a barrier for most young people in Tonga according to the Speaker of the House Lord Fakafanua.

Speaking at a program at the new temporary parliament house, Lord Fakafanua told New Zealand Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern and the Pacific Mission delegation that the “most effective platform for effecting real change is through the political mechanisms available in Parliament.”

“I sincerely hope that we in Tonga continue to make progress at breaking down the perceived barriers that exist for women in politics.”

He said that climate change is the biggest threat to the Pacific’s existence but establishing platforms such as Change through Advocacy helps bring climate change to the forefront together with youth and those who are vulnerable.

Lord Fakafanua acknowledged that Change through Advocacy aims to bring young people together to find solutions to issues such as  climate change and adaptation, reproductive health, education, corruption and human rights.

“I wish to proudly acknowledge advocacy groups you will meet this afternoon such as Fili Tonu, ICON and Tonga Masani. These advocacy groups have employed creative and imaginative ways and utilise social media to raise a variety of diverse issues – from environmental protection, to domestic violence, to culture and sports and also to civic education.”

He stated that the initiatives are “led and driven by young, talented Tongans” that are passionate about raising awareness about the issues that affect them and the changes they hope accomplish.

He acknowledged the Government of New Zealand contributions to the Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI), implemented by the UNDP.

“The PPEI has supported us in coordinating the immediate assistance from other assemblies to our parliament in the aftermath of TC Gita – including donations from the Parliament of New Zealand.”

“I wish to thank you and the people of New Zealand for your partnership and friendship. In our darkest hours of need these past few weeks, you have been a light and a beacon of hope. We have every confidence that through your continued support and much needed response, we will recover quickly and build a more resilient Tonga.”

The programme featured speeches from two young people about their experiences during cyclone Gita, dramas from the Fili Tonu group and ICON about the importance of preparation for a cyclone and being resilient and a cultural performance from Tonga Masani.

Ms. Ardern and the Pacific Mission delegation left Tonga yesterday afternoon.


Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change & Communications.


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