8 Sep 2011

New report on Pacific youth contains dire warnings for region

7:13 am on 8 September 2011

A new report warns some Pacific Island countries may no longer be viable if there's no investment in the region's burgeoning youth population.

The report on the state of the region's youth says fifteen to 24 year olds make up one fifth of the region's population and a quarter of them are living in poverty.

The United Nations Children Fund and Secretariat of the Pacific Community interviewed young people throughout the region and found their situation's the same or worse than the last stocktake six years ago.

UNICEF spokesperson, Merewalesi Nailatikau, says they recommend more investment, better data collection and a special fund be set up for young people.

"To have so many youth demoralised with low self-esteem with very little life skills, their presence in sheer numbers is something to take seriously and not as a so-called threat but as potential that is untapped, a resource that has to be used for the better rather than dwindling away and becoming the lost generation."

Ms Nailatikau says the report also recommends more investment in post primary education