The United Nations Development Programme says poor advocacy, unemployment and family violence are creating a frustrating lack of opportunity for Pacific youth.
The UNDP's Pacific Representative Knut Ostby says today's International Youth Day is a chance to look at the ways young people in the Pacific can fulfil their potential but he says there are three major concerns to overcome.
He says young people need more say, through community and political organisations, in things that affect them.
And Mr Ostby says unemployment is much higher among young people and adds to the risk of youth engaging in destructive behaviour.
"The third issue are the more social issues related to violence in the home against young people, substance abuse, and the gradual breakdown of the traditional extended family structure related a bit to urban migration."
Knut Ostby says young people make up a huge part of the Pacific population and more comprehensive programmes focussed on mobilising their potential are needed.