Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Mona Ainu’u was in Fiji attending the Pacific Early Childhood Development Forum which began last Wednesday 22 February 2023.
BCN News spoke with Minister Ainu’u last Thursday via zoom who shared some of the important discussions highlighted at the forum.
“For this year, they have also concentrated on building Early Childhood Development aligning to what’s been happening with climate change. The theme for this year is building a resilient blue pacific through early childhood development.”
“It’s trying to find ways and find solutions as to how we can help young children from the age of 0 to 6, how we can help to teach them what they can do or find ways to help them develop in their early stages of life,” says Hon. Ainu’u.
Minister Ainu’u spoke of the significance of integrating climate change into the various sectors such as education, an important aspect of knowledge, learning and awareness for young Pacific children especially with the climate change crisis we are experiencing today.
“It’s really important that we build in what we learn about climate change into the structures that we are trying and strategies we are trying to establish for their fostering of young people growing up, and just allowing things like bringing what we are doing in the climate sector into the school curriculum which Niue is already doing which I am very happy with.”
Hon. Mona Ainu’u told BCN News that although she is the Minister of Natural Resources and not for education, she was invited as the Political Champion for Gender and Social Inclusion for the Pacific.
“During this forum, there are alot of countries who have basically established a policy but have not implemented them on the ground. Whereas, we’re in the middle of doing our policies but obviously we have been implementing these activities for years on end which is something that we have been brought up in our culture and that is something that has been very prominent in our discussions is linking culture, traditional knowledge to climate change as well as early childhood development,” says Minister Ainu’u.
The Minister and her team including Director of Education Birtha Tongahai, Director General of Social Services Gaylene Tasmania, Dr. Waimanu Pulu and Financial Secretary Doreen Siataga attended the forum until it concluded last Friday 24 February 2023.
The team have now returned back to the island.