UNICEF Youth Drought Summit: The Impact of Drought Runs Deep
November 1st, 2019
From the 9th – 11th of October AH&MRC attended the UNICEF Youth Drought Summit. Each day was an opportunity for young people from across NSW to discuss the impact that drought has had on their communities, families, and themselves as individuals.
Over the course of the three days, the group of 88 young people was broken off into smaller groups. This gave young people a comfortable platform to reflect and debrief on their own issues and how they may have been impacted on by drought.
Multiple Aboriginal young people (14-24) attended the conference and their voices were strong fierce, and most importantly heard.
Overall, there was great initiative and leadership skills from each and every-one of the young people that attended the Summit, with powerful recommendations such as:
- Water restrictions should be made in non-drought affected places, such as Sydney.
- An agreement should be established between the NSW government, Aboriginal communities, elders and young people on water management.
- Young people should be involved in formal decision-making, given access to relevant state and federal ministers, and be employed as Youth Liaison Officers.
- Better mental health services, including mental health nurses and access to psychiatrists in every regional hospital, billed through Medicare.
- Drought employment scheme to ease the “extreme financial stress” felt by their families and communities.
Our leaders of the future are making noise about the things that they want to change – and they are persistent.
‘We must ask, what, in concrete terms, was done in the meantime? What policy, what strategies, what water infrastructure? Unless we commit to long-term action, we will be having this conversation over and over and over again.” – Tamika O’Donnell, Barkindji Woman of Far Western NSW.