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Young women to ask for their right of survival

By Moffat Mamu HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 1, 2009) - THREE young women from the Solomon Islands will leave the country tomorrow to attend the United Nations Climate Change summit in Copenhagan, Denmark, next week.

They are Christina Ora, 17, Maylen Sese, 23, and Gina Maka'a, 24.

Ms. Maka’a, a reporter for the Solomon Star newspaper, will also cover the proceedings of the summit.

The trip was made possible with the assistance from the Australian Youth Coalition for Climate Change.

The trio will join other youths around the region to raise their voices about the impact of climate change on the islands.

At a brief orientation program held at the British High Commission Office in Honiara yesterday, British High Commissioner Tim Smart congratulated the three young reps for representing the country.

Mr. Smart said about 65 heads of government will gather at this important meeting and it’s important the young voices of the region are heard.

The three youth ambassadors said they are delighted to represent the country and be part of the global effort to raise awareness about climate change to world leaders.

They said climate change is an issue, which is getting a lot of attention these days.

But the most vulnerable are small island nations like Solomon Islands.

Ms. Maka'a said attending the meeting is important so that leaders can hear their voices as youths and see the impact of climate change on the islands.

"Although we are the low emitters of carbon gas but we are the victims of what the big industrial nations are doing to our atmosphere," she said.

A documentary about the impact of climate change produced by One Television will be aired at the conference.

Ms. Ora, who recently went on a climate change speaking tour to Canada, said climate change is an issue which will affect the young generation in the years to come and its important bigger nations listen to smaller nations like Solomon Islands.

Ms. Ora, who is a form 4 student at Bishop Epalle Catholic School, said many youths today are not aware of the changing climate situation.

"But they are the ones who will be affected severely in times ahead and they need to be made aware of it," he said.

Ms. Sese from Central Guadalcanal said preaching the message about the already severe conditions of climate change in the country is one thing which she and her two other colleagues will try to promote.

She said at the conference she would ask, "if there is a right for survival then I would ask can I have the same right".

Ms. Sese, who is a youth volunteer, also spends time telling her village people about the consequences of climate change.

She said the changing weather conditions are but evidence of the extreme changing weather pattern now taking place in the islands.

The trio said upon returning from the meeting they hope to continue raising awareness on this issue to the community.

Minister of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology Gordon Darcy Lilo, who is leading the government delegation, left yesterday.

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