Next month marks the 2022 edition of the biennial Commonwealth Youth Forum, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. The forum is the centrepiece of the Commonwealth’s youth engagement strategy and is the highest decision-making forum for young people in the Commonwealth. It brings young people together to build international youth networks, exchange ideas and contribute to international policy-making. It is designed to precede the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) so that an official communique can be presented to the various Heads of Government afterwards- detailing young people’s needs.
This year marks the 12th Commonwealth Youth Forum since its inception in 1998 and its key theme is “Taking Charge of our Future”. Ahead of the forum, the young people of the Commonwealth have formulated a 30-page declaration and action plan to summarise areas for development in government policy. They have divided this into 6 sub-themes, taking into account UN Sustainable Development Goals, resolutions and various pan-regional youth development plans.
The following themes will be discussed:
Governance, Rule of Law and Youth Involvement in Decision-Making
- Ensuring that young people are acknowledged as vital and important to legal and judicial systems.
- Creating more opportunities for youth to engage in decision-making processes on critical governance.
- Ensuring that young people are trained on understanding concepts of justice and the rule of law.
Human Capital Development
- Providing quality resources and opportunities to fully harness the potential of young people’s skills.
- Protecting young people’s health and well-being.
- Guaranteeing quality education and the freedom to participate in it.
Trade, Entrepreneurship and Employment
- Placing emphasis on more productive and innovative mechanisms for entrepreneurship and formal employment.
- Enhancing the employability of youth.
- Providing easier means of access to finance and supporting opportunity-driven entrepreneurship.
Information and Communication Technology and Innovation
- Creating an environment that fosters digital transformation.
- Developing of critical ICT infrastructure and support services.
- Implementation of appropriate legislation and policies to support digitalization.
Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
- Scientific and research-based solutions for the transition to greener economies.
- Committed effort to champion the voices of youth environmental activists and experts.
- Implementing policies that reduce fossil fuel consumption and promote renewable energy production mechanisms.
Health and Covid-19
- Enhanced cooperation and better collaboration between member countries to facilitate faster and more open sharing of knowledge, information and resources.
- Sharing of pricing information and reviews of procurement legislation.
- Engaging young people as valuable partners and co-creators of health programmes.
In summary, government and key stakeholders must do more to support and facilitate the development of young people in the Commonwealth – who are a rapidly increasing demographic. They must also be committed to including and implementing the recommendation inputs of young people in key fields such as governance, the economy, sustainable development, education, health and technology.
Additionally, fellow UK Young Ambassador Elif and I have decided to spearhead a UK youth-specific public consultation ahead of the Commonwealth Youth Forum next month to make sure that we appropriately represent the voices of the 25 million young people in the UK by listening to their recommendations on the Commonwealth Youth Declaration. This will occur on two days, June 13th and June 17th, and will cover all 6 sub-themes. For more details on the upcoming consultation, follow UK Young Ambassadors on social media and stay in touch!