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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 26, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Palau has been selected to represent the Pacific Islands in the start up of UNESCO's inter-regional Small Islands Voice initiative.

Ensuring the voice of the general public in small islands is heard and becomes a driving force in island development is the initiative's goal.

It is supported by UNESCO's CSI (Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands) program. The focus is on small islands in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

Activities have commenced in:

Committees are being established in each of these three start-up countries.

They include representatives from government, non-governmental and community-based organizations, media, private sector, and ordinary citizens representatives.

They are to organize and coordinate activities on-the-ground.

One of the first actions is to conduct a geographically representative interview survey to determine the main environment and development issues of concern to the general public.

Besides working as a tool for evaluation purposes, these surveys will allow each island country to prioritize the key issues of concern to the public.

This will then become the focus of specific activities, such as:

All the various activities will be designed to initiate debate, and to provide opportunities to listen, take note and document the voice of the general public.

Another focus of Small Islands Voice is on young islanders, particularly those in the age range 12-21 years.

It is planned to conduct trial Internet discussions in each region, so that young persons on separate islands can talk freely to each other about their views and concerns.

In the first instance, these trials will be organized in conjunction with schools.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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