Young man passionate about environment


A MEETING which provided an opportunity for young people to make use of their knowledge was convened from July 2 to 5 in the capital.
Youths from around the Pacific were engaged in the Pacific Resilience Meeting (PRM) which was hosted by the Pacific Island leaders who had formed the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) – a group that is interested in protecting and rebuilding the Pacific and regions throughout the world.
PRP came into existence in 2016 and has since then been carrying out their work successfully over the following years. Through workshops, the youths have been equipped with essential knowledge on how to go about working in their communities, in activities like planting mangroves to prevent soil erosion.
Meet Kim Allen, a young man who passion for the environment has taken him places.
After graduating from Divine Word University (DWU) with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts (Journalism) in 2017, Allen chose instead to lead a career that not many of his peers and even fellow graduates age would follow. His charity job has taken him to places like Italy, India, Fiji and a few other Pacific island countries.
Ever since then, the 27-year-old, has been faithfully carrying out his work. As a classmate at DWU, I’ve known him to be a loving and caring person who’s very sincere in his concern for and helping others. He was very vocal and has taken on many leadership roles. He was the president of Samarai Students Association (SSA) and class captain while at university.
Allen is from Milne Bay. He is a youth advocate with the United Nations and has enthusiastically represented youths under the leadership of the PRP. He was very vocal throughout their forums since 2018.
In their latest forum held in Port Moresby, Allen said he was very thankful for the wonderful and tremendous work that his fellow youths at the community and national level were doing to promote their cause.
“Over the past five years of my engagements with fellow youths especially in climate action and disaster resilience, I usually ask a question and I also put this question to you now: Where do you see yourself and your community in the future?”
Allen shared similar sentiments based on individual experiences that they wanted their families, their community and country to be safe and protected from disasters, coastal erosion or landslides.
He said they wanted access to clean water and efficient food supply, clean air and to live in harmony with their environment.
He said, however, the reality on the ground was rather different for most communities.
“Half of the region’s population, approximately 11.9 million are under 23 which places youth at the centre …and if no consistent critical action is taken, the youth population are at risk”, said Allen.
He said we needed to be proactive in our disaster risk management and preparedness plans and climate action responses.
“Governments and regional actors must be accountable in telling us how much have we progressed practically, in implementing the global climates’ agreements and disaster plans and frameworks? Or are they just another indicator to some global agreement driven by various interests?” he said.
He said the game has to swift from passive response to proactive planning.
Allen said Pacific Island countries, regional and national youth stakeholders should involve young people to be part of the solutions in implementing these strategies at every level and institution.
He offered the following ideas as part of strategies to address the regional concern:
First, climate action policies and national disaster risk management plans must be included in education curriculums and youth awareness programmes.
Second, integration of youth voices in policies means that governments and youth stakeholders must include young people in policy dialogues. Policy makers for climate action and disaster risk management plans must encourage or enable bottom-up planning.
Third, Pacific countries and youth stakeholders must create initiatives and provide financial support and resources for community youth driven solutions to address climate change and disaster preparedness.
He said the Pacific was one of the most natural disaster-prone regions and vulnerable to natural hazards including floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.
He said it was therefore important for communities to be aware of what to do in the event of disaster and this could be done through awareness programmes and drills.
“We all have a role to play. As young men and women, involve your community to be part of the solution if you are running a youth initiative, or participate if it’s a community event,” Allen said.
He cited the words of Rev James Bhagwan, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches to youths: “Vision the future that one day will be your future. The present in which you will lead the community, the church, the nation, the region, the planet. It is you the youth, who have the power to define what our tomorrow will look like.’’
Allen also appealed to his peers to be proactive.
“Fellow youths and delegates, only when we take ownership of our future, will we have a reason to navigate through the challenges in our journey as resilient people of the Blue Pacific.”

  • Jonathan Koh is a freelance writer.