SIDS youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow – they are actively innovating to confront the challenges of today. The new generation of dynamic leaders in SIDS have proven that they have a necessary perspective bridging traditional knowledge systems and modern technologies, and need to be enabled through further technical and financial resources to implement their ideas. Youth representatives from SIDS were important voices in designing the priorities of the SAMOA Pathway, and have continued to play an important role during the Covid-19 pandemic when seeking solutions to the multi-dimensional crises in SIDS in energy, food security, and economic diversification.

Youth are a large contingent of the SIDS community - in the Caribbean, 63% of the population is under 30. Young island leaders are also highly mobile and digitally interconnected. One challenge is linked to energy poverty in SIDS, which limits inclusivity in education and opportunities for youth. To address energy inequalities for youth, regional and national policy priorities are being aligned so their voices can be amplified equally.

Inclusive technological capacity can be cultivated for those digital tools most used in climate analytics and policymaking, including geospatial analytic tools and data science methods which can help equip youth to analyze their vulnerabilities and methods to address them. Design of technology must be local and community led, and youth as ambassadors of the technological revolution have a key role in ensuring that technology speaks to local needs and opportunities.

Building capacity in youth entrepreneurship can convert these ideas into action. Youth in SIDS are using their perspectives to transform classic industries through new technologies, such as the young agripreneurs in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu who are leading agricultural enterprises to build resilience and increase nutrition of their food systems using digital technologies. Collaboration between SIDS in sharing youth-led innovations is essential for addressing the geographical dispersion and lack of access to youth funding. Regional networks like the SIDS Youth AIMS Hub act to cultivate partnership and coordination mechanisms that increase opportunities for youth. Many scholarships and funding opportunities are developing to help youth in SIDS accelerate their participation in SIDS’ transformative development.


Read more in the SIDS Bulletin 56

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