On Friday 13th September 2013 with financial support from SPC-EU SOPAC (the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Division), the search has begun for up to 12 young Cook Islanders (14-19 years) interested in participating in a national debate.
They do not have to have any knowledge of Seabed Minerals – although it is expected that they will learn a lot about the topic during the process! The aim of the debate being co-ordinated by Teina Mackenzie (TIS) and Alex Herman (SBMA) is to increase public awareness on deep sea mining issues and how these issues might relate to the Cook Islands and also to encourage youth to engage and develop a better understanding of deep seabed minerals.
“It’s important to hear from our youth because, as our future leaders, young people should have an understanding of development issues affecting our country and be given the opportunity to contribute through a forum such as the debate” said Alex Herman. “This debate will challenge our youth to extend their understanding of the potential effects – both positive and negative – of this pioneer industry; and to voice their opinions in a public forum” added Teina Mackenzie. The Debate will be run along the lines of a competition.
Once up to 12 entrants are identified, the organisers will disseminate a comprehensive set of papers and workshop material that have been previously published and shared within the seabed mining community. This information will allow the debaters to gain knowledge and will prepare them to debate the issues relating to the Cook Islands seabed minerals. The aspiring debaters will also have the opportunity to participate in further information gathering, field trips and training sessions prior to the final debate early October. As part of the generous sponsorship that the SOPAC Deep Seabed Minerals (DSM) Project are providing is the opportunity for the overall winner of the debate to accompany the representatives from Te Ipukarea and Seabed Minerals Authority in attending the next SOPAC DSM Workshop taking place in Fiji in early December.
Return flights, meals, accommodation and travel insurance will be provided. As such, those who wish to enter the debate must have parental consent to travel and will need a valid passport. “This prize is ideal in that it celebrates a young person who is able to understand the various issues and who can articulate their views well, regardless of which position they advocate.” said Teina. The winner will meet regional decision makers and have the opportunity to contribute at the workshop in Fiji. A brief submission on why you would like to participate is required.