Taking bold action to address development challenges in the Pacific

Today, on International Youth Day, we celebrate the power of youth engaging and taking action across the world to bring about positive change.

Ernest Gibson is a young change maker serving as a UN Volunteer who was recently named as one of the seven members of UN Secretary-General’s new Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, promoting young leaders for bold climate action.

23 year-old UN Volunteer Ernest Gibson is serving as a UN75 Outreach Officer with the Resident Coordinator's Office in Fiji, providing support for the UN75 global campaign. The Pacific was one of the first regions in the world to pilot the UN75 local dialogues, aiming to get feedback through the online survey and community discussions.

Currently, Ernest is working with telecommunications providers, as well as social media platforms and influencers, to share the UN75 survey as widely as possible. He is also engaging with local schools to facilitate offline discussions. The key groups that the campaign is focused on are youth, women and girls, and persons with disabilities.

Being engaged in volunteer efforts has all-round benefits for both the volunteer and those receiving the outputs of the volunteer action. As volunteers, we strive to ensure that we are adding value to the communities that we work in and the constituencies that we serve. For me, being able to work in the spaces that I do, within the context of the Pacific, is  for want of a better word  absolutely awesome! --Ernest Gibson, UN Volunteer

The UN Resident Coordinator Office in Fiji covers ten island countries: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and is supported by nine UN Volunteers across these countries. Ernest is among 57 UN Volunteers serving in the Pacific region.

Ernest began his assignment just as the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding. He assisted the World Health Organization (WHO) with some of the communications-related work and social media campaigns, and contributed to the WHO Representative's ‘Safe Hands challenge’ video, which was shared through social media, challenging Pacific Island leaders to do the same.

As part of the UN Crisis Communications Team, Ernest is also assisting the UN Communications Group with media monitoring, as well as social media content creation.

Ernest is active in the Pacific civil society and international cooperation networks, having worked for the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific and Oxfam. He is also a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Pacific Youth Council and the Pacific Regional Youth Coordinator of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). He is the co-coordinator for 350 Fiji, a youth-led climate change network, which is the Pacific chapter of the global 350.org alliance. He was on the Expansion Team that opened the first Pacific chapter of AIESEC, an international youth-led organization.

As a Pacific Islander, having the opportunity to do the work that I love as well as help people in my community is the ultimate goal. I am forever indebted to this region and I hope to continue to use the volunteer spaces I am in as a small way of giving back to the Pacific. --Ernest Gibson