Asia Pacific Youth Looking Beyond Disaster

Press Release – UNESCO

This weekend more than eighty young people from throughout Asia and the Pacific who have experienced natural disasters in their homelands will meet in Christchurch to develop a plan for the future of our region.This weekend more than eighty young people from throughout Asia and the Pacific who have experienced natural disasters in their homelands will meet in Christchurch to develop a plan for the future of our region.

“ ‘Looking Beyond Disaster: UNESCO International Youth Forum’ will create an international network of young people across Asia and the the Pacific who will share experiences and exchange ideas about disaster and community,” said Elizabeth Rose, Secretary General of the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.

“There are some amazing young people taking part who have suffered and survived disaster and who are now committed to looking beyond disaster and into the future. Their stories and hopes are an inspiration to us all.”

Christchurch’s own Student Army Volunteers helped organise the forum that will see survivors and response workers share stories from throughout the Asia Pacific region that include the: 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami; 2011 Queensland floods; 2009 Chilean earthquake as well as this year’s earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.

UNESCO is indebted to the support of Ngai Tahu, who will be hosting a powhiri welcome for participants on Friday 9th December, at Rehua Marae from 9am The southern tribe has also been at the forefront of the response to the Christchurch earthquake said Ms Rose.

Forum participants will design a series of youth projects for implementation in countries throughout the region and they will also develop recommendations to governments, UNESCO and other organizations about the importance of young people playing a role in strategies to respond to disaster and rebuild communities.

UNESCO thanks individuals and organisations who have made the forum possible, particularly the University of Canterbury, College House, Rotary International and JCI New Zealand. The work of the Student Volunteer Army in coordinating the forum has been invaluable.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is a specialised agency of the United Nations. Established in 1946, UNESCO works for world peace and international understanding through its key programme areas: education, natural and social sciences, culture and communications. It is represented in New Zealand by the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.

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