Dear Editor,

A newly released report entitled "Urban Youth in the Pacific" funded by AusAid (June 2011) focuses on increasing resilience and reducing the risk for youth involvement in crime and violence in the Pacific and contains recommendations for young people to be more involved in making decisions that affect their lives.

Chapter 6 of the report specifically addresses the situation in the Solomon Islands in relation to the youth issues and clearly identifies the consumption of home brew, commonly referred to as kwaso, and drug abuse, involving marijuana, as major contributing causes for young people getting involved in criminal activities.

Overall, the report is very well researched and written and clearly identifies the many issues and concerns affecting young people throughout the Solomons. It also examines ways in which the problems of youth unemployment and meaningful recreation, as well as education, should be tackled to alleviate the current conditions.

It is encouraging to read that the Solomon Islands Government National Youth Policy is recognized as a cornerstone in coordinating an action plan for the nation's youth, but it is hoped that the government's initiatives will be fully supported by all those concerned enough to alleviate the plight of the youth, including NGO's, church and community groups, development partners and the police service.

Interestingly, for the first time, this regional report gives a voice to some of the youth affected and it important to note that their voices are saying that "youth are not only part of the problem, they're also part of the solution."

Give the youth a voice, I would respectfully urge.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short