Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today addressed the APEC Voices of the Future 2021 event and accepted the APEC youth declaration in her role as APEC 2021 Chair.
The annual youth event brings together 18 to 24-year-olds to discuss significant issues facing the region.
“As APEC Leaders we must always look forward, and make decisions with the next generation at the centre,” the Prime Minister said today.
“Our region stands in the face of monumental and unprecedented challenges, whether it’s the ongoing management of COVID-19, or the action required of us all to combat climate change – young people must continue to be both included, and lead the debate about our future.
“I want to acknowledge the work of young people around the region in joining together to produce a declaration that projects a vision of hope for our future.”
The Prime Minister said that as an 18-year-old youth delegate to an APEC science event in Korea, she experienced first-hand the role APEC has long played in creating space for young people to share their perspectives.
“Today’s Declaration to APEC Leaders clearly contains many creative and insightful ideas for us as APEC Leaders to consider in order to respond to the concerns of nearly one billion young people around the APEC region,” Ms Ardern said.
The Voices of the Future youth event takes place annually during the APEC Leaders’ Week and this year, for the first time, all 21 APEC economies were represented, with the online event generating the largest turn-out in the event’s 23-year history.
The delegates heard from a wide range of speakers on the event’s four key themes – International Co-operation to Combat COVID-19, The Digital Future, A Greener Future, and A Future for All – before presenting their vision in a formal Declaration.
The themes of this declaration align very closely to the overall themes of APEC 2021, and during New Zealand’s host year APEC economies have progressed action in similar areas such as:
- agree a five year programme of work on economic reforms that will kick start growth, create new jobs and help combat climate change;
- laid the groundwork for a voluntary standstill on fossil fuel subsidies – hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on subsidising fuels that harm our environment;
- set a new roadmap to guide efforts to boost food security over the next ten years.
“Today’s Voices of the Future Declaration shows how much these issues raised matter to young people, and is a reminder that it will require the collective action of us all to help ensure the best outcomes now and for the future generations to come,” Ms Ardern said.