He made this statement during the advanced commemoration of World Youth Day on August 11. The event is also part of the #amazingportmoresby initiative by NCDC.
Governor Parkop said work is in progress to establish a Youth Advisory Committee to tap into the potential of the youth population in the city.
Speaking at the end of the weekly Walk and Yoga for Life at Paga Hill Ring Road, Parkop said the celebration was not only to recognise the achievements of youths in business, arts and music, employment, politics and others, but also to appreciate the challenges they face.
“Youths are not leaders of tomorrow, but are leaders of today! We are a young city. We are a city of youths. 70 percent of our people are youths. We have to harness this potential. That is why most of our programs and initiatives are directed at our young people,” he said.
He cited investment on youths in sports, Sanap Wantaim, Active City Development program, TVET and School Fee Assistance scheme, Ginigoada Skills training, Urban Youth Employment Project and others which have reached more than 100,000 youths in the city during his tenure in office.
He said through the programs, a total of over K110 million investment has been made on developing the potential of youths.
World Youth Day 2019 themed ‘Transforming Education’, is a United Nations (UN) initiative, and falls on August 12 every year.
It is aimed at celebrating the qualities of youths and their challenges and contributions to nation building.
Governor Parkop led thousands of city residents, including PNG’s Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Mercy Kariha, who is the PNG UNICEF Youth Advocate, members of the PNG Defence Force, students, United Nations’ Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla and representatives from other UN bodies.
Rampolla said the theme highlighted efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youths reflecting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 4, on ‘ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
He thanked NCDC and Governor Parkop for championing change in the city.
“There is one important thing that I want to say. If there is to be any chance for change, we need to depend on the ability of the young people and the children that are here with us to actually drive the change.
“It is the youth and the children that have the responsibility and have the capacity to change the future of PNG and of the world,” said Rampolla.
He acknowledged that there are many challenges facing the youths, saying the number of school dropouts is very high.
He emphasized that quality education should not be compromised as it depends entirely on teachers, appealing to everyone to support ‘our teachers who are the key educators’.
“It is your right to go to school but it is your responsibility to take advantage of it,” he concluded.
Sharing similar sentiments, Miss Pacific Islands Kariha also commended Governor Parkop for recognising the power of youths’ voice and making them become part of the decision making process at the Commission.
(Participants of the Walk and Yoga for Life program which was dedicated to the World Youth Day. Pictured in blue cap is Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Mercy Kariha, who is the PNG UNICEF Youth Advocate)