CHILDREN are being left behind in the face of urban development, the Pacific Islands Forum said yesterday as it joined in the launch of the United Nations Children's Fund flagship report State of the World's Children.
And it will take more than a report to fix the problem, said the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade.
He described the findings in the report as "very disturbing" and said "if children are our investment for the future, then we're not doing very well".
As he called for increased participation of youth in decision-making, Mr Slade said there were few places in the world where the issues of population growth with large numbers of young people, urbanisation, and increasing vulnerability to climate change and disasters all collided more starkly than in the Pacific.
Urbanisation particularly affected the lives of children and young people, Mr Slade said.
"And while young people will debate and contest the point, I think that often, socially and emotionally, they are the least able to cope," he said.
He said not all children living in urban areas were benefiting from the economic expansion in urban areas.
"This means that most of these children are now being left behind," Mr Slade said.