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Wednesday 31 May 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National


Youth anti-corruption movement embraced by Cook Islands groups
Participants from National Youth Council, local CSOs, communities and outer islands at the USP Cook Islands Campus Photo: USPSA/ 23053005

An anti-corruption policy dialogue brought together youth and representatives from government and non-government stakeholders in the Cook Islands including the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, National Youth Council, National Women’s Council, the Ombudsman’s Office, National Disability Council and Pride Cook Islands.

The dialogue embraced around 100 students, community leaders and civil society and citizens at large. 

This was initiated by the University of the South Pacific Students' Association (USPSA), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and funded by the United Kingdom Government, USPSA, in cooperation with the Youth Council of the Cook Islands and relevant authorities, organised anti-corruption consultations and policy dialogue between the anti-corruption institutions, youth and civil society stakeholders took palace from May 17 -23 in Rarotonga.  

The discussions aimed at furthering the region’s commitments under the Pacific Youth Vision on a Corruption-resilient 2050 Blue Pacific focused on the related challenges and opportunities for youth and civil society more broadly to be actively involved in the implementation of the youth vision, monitoring and achieving results nationally and regionally.

Director of Island Governance Mia Teaurima said the Cook Islands was committed to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Teieniwa Vision Pacific Unity against Corruption, and the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy, which set out long-term approaches to working in unison as a region and as countries, communities and as people of the Pacific.

“We welcome the youth anti-corruption movement expanding to the Cook Islands and establishing the linkages and relevance between national, regional and international anti-corruption work where all stakeholders can work together. It is critical that our youth today, who are our future leaders, are well acquainted with the principles of good governance to avoid corruption in our societies,” Teaurima said.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia said the initiative has connected young people both to the current regional political leadership and the wider community, empowering them to voice their anti-corruption concerns and advocate for action.

Student Associations’ work also empowered Pacific youth to engage positively in sustainable development areas particularly around good governance. 

The continued youth advocacy and increased demand for more structured and sustainable dialogue on anti-corruption culminated in the launch of a Youth Advisory Board on Good Governance. The Advisory Board was formally launched on May 11 during the Pacific Conference on Governance in Auckland, New Zealand organised by the USPSA in partnership with UNDP, and funded by the UK government and the New Zealand government, with over 65 youth participants and national and regional policymakers.

The Advisory Board, based at USPSA and affiliated to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), will also work closely with other Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies to further scale up and institutionalize the strategic youth anti-corruption engagement in support of the regional policy commitments including the Teieniwa Vision and the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. 

UNDP release