Rate this
0 (0 votes)
“Commonwealth Youth Forum – a Sri Lankan view”
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

“Commonwealth Youth Forum – a Sri Lankan view”

salma yusuf

Next month’s Commonwealth Youth Forum will be unique, writes Salma Yusuf, a Correspondent from Sri Lanka. It marks the formal beginning of the Commonwealth Youth Council as the official voice for young people in the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Youth Forum 2013 (CYF9) is one of the three main meetings to be held at the People’s Forum in the wings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The CYF at CHOGM 2013 is set to be significantly different from previous summits.

The first Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) was held in Cardiff in 1997 when it was agreed that it was important to have young people at CHOGMs to contribute to the policy discussions that define the direction and work of the Commonwealth.

In practice, the CYF biennially brings together youth leaders from across the Commonwealth to exchange ideas, share their culture, build and strengthen networks, and identify the most vital challenges and opportunities facing young people in the Commonwealth.

The 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF9) from 10-14 November 2013 in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, brings together over 200 young people from around the Commonwealth under the theme: ‘Inclusive Development: Stronger Together’.

The CYF9 forum will be different from previous summits by serving as a turning point for young people in the Commonwealth. It will mark the formal beginning of the Commonwealth Youth Council as the official voice for young people in the Commonwealth.

CYF9 will host the first General Assembly of the newly-agreed Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) where the CYC constitution will be ratified and office bearers elected. The new executive will then hold a dialogue with leaders attending the CHOGM which takes place during the same week in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The lead-up to this crucial change dates back to 2010, during the International Year of Youth, when Commonwealth Youth representatives agreed that mechanisms at their disposal were inadequate. As young people, they wanted to participate more meaningfully in shaping the future of the Commonwealth rather than being mere beneficiaries of such actions. Commonwealth youth representatives agreed that there was a need for a more effective and inclusive youth governance structure to better represent the over 1.2 billon young people in the Commonwealth. Therefore, they challenged themselves to ‘raise the bar’ on youth representation, youth participation and more effective accountability. This led to their recommendation to form the Commonwealth Youth Council to replace the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus.

This shift is in tandem with the views of the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, who often mentions that the Commonwealth and its future belong to the young people. This is what is meant by youth empowerment – creating the means and the ability whereby young people can participate effectively and make the difference they want.

The 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum theme is ‘Inclusive Development: Stronger Together. ‘This theme aims to explore the challenges of inclusive development and the opportunities for young people to contribute as partners both at national and PanCommonwealth levels.

Youth leaders will explore the role and contribution of young people through the following sub themes: Youth in the Post 2015 Agenda; Wellbeing and Economic Growth; Quality Education – fit for purpose; Generating Decent and Productive Youth Employment; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and Professionalising Youth Work.

There are very specific outputs envisaged for CYF9.

The CYC General Assembly will identify priorities on development and democracy and agree on resolutions for youth-led development work to be implemented by the CYC in collaboration with national youth organisations, Governments, civil society organisations, and other regional or international bodies.

Speaking on the specific benefits for Sri Lanka as host of CYF9, Layne Robinson of the Commonwealth Youth Programme said, “As the Commonwealth visits Sri Lanka, it is a great opportunity for the young leaders of Sri Lanka to exchange ideas with other youth leaders from all over the world.

“CYF9 will host an exhibition, showcasing developments in youth empowerment and other youth-related issues. It is an opportunity for other member countries to also learn from Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka has many well thought out ideas on youth empowerment that we believe other countries could greatly benefit from. One example is the model and structure of the Sri Lankan National Youth Parliament and structure of the Federations of Youth Clubs; these are two of the best models in the world at the moment.

“The fact that Sri Lanka is hosting the first General Assembly of the CYC means that Sri Lanka will make a major contribution to improving the lives of young people in the Commonwealth. This will be a historical event, and one that Sri Lanka will have facilitated.”

salmayusuf@gmail.com

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me: I am a Human Rights Lawyer based in Sri Lanka, and a visiting lecturer in law at University of Northumbria – Regional Campus for Sri Lanka & Maldives, and previously at the University of Colombo.

As well I serve on both national and international programmes in the fields of law, governance, human rights and transitional justice. I hope to build on my work in policy development, research, advocacy and publishing going forward.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments