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Youth Response to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Pictured above: Pimlico High School student and Magnetic Island resident Samantha Lord speaks at the conference.


For the past year, 50 students from Pimlico High School have been organising YOUTH RESPONSE – a conference for youth by youth. Many of the students had been involved in conferences around the world, visiting Mauritius, Poland, Morocco, Germany, Singapore and the USA. From these international collaborations, the students saw the potential to hold a national conference here in Townsville. Pimlico State High School believed in their vision and supported the students to plan, fund and host the conference.


A conference was held at James Cook University from the 30th November to the 2nd December, bringing together students from local, rural and interstate schools. 100 students from three states (including Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia) attended, with over 20 diverse water related industries. The focus was on the development of school and community projects to help achieve the water orientated SDGs. We have partnered with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Port of Townsville, Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters and other expert industries to provide a platform for student voice and action.


“This conference is about getting students from across Australia to build those 21st century skills,” said 17-year-old Magnetic Island resident Samantha Lord.

Samantha went on to say “We want them to be able to create crucial solutions for modern issues in their community.”


Year 11 student, Carisse Hazelwood agreed “As the next generation of future leaders, it is our job to learn from and collaborate with each other to make these innovative solutions to real world issues.”


There are 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) however the focus of this conference was on Clean Water and Sanitation as well as Life Below Water. As a topic that effects everyone not only in Australia, but around the world, we believe that the goals will be achievable and sustainable.

Held in Townsville, The Great Barrier Reef has heavily influenced this decision as it is the world’s largest coral reef system in the world that provides homes for thousands of creatures. Whilst the world advances in all aspects, the condition of this iconic feature is at risk which is a concern for all of us.


Some of the students travelled to Magnetic Island for a day excursion with various activities, including a trip with local business Aquascene.


This conference has $18,000 as seed funding to implement the projects in the schools. This money will also be used to document and report on the projects, after the conference, to keep track of its success.


Student spokesperson Billie Price said that “It’s been a great opportunity to create our own conference, we have a voice about our future and we want it to be heard. This is one way to achieve that.”

Pictured above: Group photograph of those who attended the youth conference.

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