The conference concludes today at Sinai Hall in Avarua, with the theme, “A leader of sustainability today, for a better tomorrow”.
The meeting brings together seven primary school students from Rarotonga and eight from the outer islands to present talks on what they have learned as part of their four-week school studies on the environment, biodiversity, climate change and health issues.
Cochrane said it was important for students to be able to share a conversation on pressing issues concerning the Cook Islands.
“It is important that we meet today’s needs without compromising the needs of future generations”.
Guest speaker for the morning was Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) project officer Liam Kokaua who spoke to the students about his background as a sustainable development leader.
“I was asked to give my first ever key-note speech after I was recently chosen to be an education for sustainable development leader by UNESCO.
“I was one of 50 young leaders chosen to attend the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development Youth Conference in Paris in May, but sadly I was the only one from all the Pacific Island countries.
Kokaua spoke to the students about his journey to working for Te Ipkuarea Society after he completed university studies in New Zealand.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do once I finished university. I just knew I wanted to move back to Rarotonga and it was only after my Nana pointed out an ad in the paper for a job with TIS that I applied.
“At my job with TIS we get to protect our native animals and their habitats like the Takitumu Conservation area, we encourage better management of our waste and we encourage sustainable use of our Cook Islands resources.”
During tomorrow’s programme health ministry representatives will take students through a Zumba workout to conclude the conference.