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The 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting – What can we expect?
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The 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting – What can we expect?

Resourcing and Financing for Youth Development will be in the spotlight when youth policy makers meet in Kampala, writes Alphonse Akouyu, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon. He argues that the meeting will be an opportunity for policy makers, stakeholders and youth leaders to come up with innovative ways on how to best resource, finance and empower our young people in our quest to build the future we want.

The capital of Uganda will be the place to be when Youth Ministers, Youth Leaders and Youth Development Stakeholders arrive in Kampala from the 31st of July to the 4th of August 2017 for the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (9CYMM). Youth development as we seen over the years, occupies a key position in the strategic plan of the Commonwealth and from Maldives in 1992 to Kampala in 2017, CYMM is without any form of doubt an important priority in the agenda of the Commonwealth.

The stakes couldn’t be higher given the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for young people to be key stakeholders in achieving these goals. The meeting will as schedule a; A Youth Leaders’ Forum, which will review youth development priorities in light of CYC General Assembly mandates and agree on inputs to share in the Ministerial and Stakeholder meetings. Also, a Youth Stakeholders Forum, which will identify youth sector priorities in line with the theme, to be presented to Ministers. A key feature of this meeting will be the first official gathering of Commonwealth Youth Worker Associations at a Ministerial Meeting, and the presence of key resource / partner organisations for the youth development sector. Furthermore, there will be a Senior Officials’ Meeting to discuss progress and technical advancements since 8CYMM, and brief Senior Officials on the 9CYMM agenda and expected/likely outcomes from the meeting. It all culminates with a Ministerial Meeting, which will generate high level political dialogue and create an enabling environment for debate through plenary and roundtable discussions, drawing on the knowledge and experience of delegates and invited guests. All these will be taking place under the theme ‘Resourcing and Financing Youth Development, Empowering Young People’.

The theme of the 9th CYMM resonates with current development trends and practices across the Commonwealth because there is an acknowledgement on the part of decision makers about the potentials of young people but a big question mark on how to harness these potentials. Resourcing and Financing is not a problem peculiar to one region. From the Solomon Islands to Malta and from Uganda to Guyana, young people are facing serious deficits in finding resources to finance their ideas. In a world where, the need for creativity and innovation on the part of young people is quintessential in development, allocating the right resources and adequate finance for youth development is primordial for the future. It’s no news that conventional finance systems regard the ideas of young people as risks but are willingly to do more the day they read the papers and find out that the idea won an award. It’s really a ‘seeing-is-believing’ method of operations by our conventional finance systems which confirms to the basic rules of their business. Therefore, the challenge is to identify alternative sources of finance and stakeholders are creating new schemes to cater for this need. However, given the old statistic of young people occupying about 60% of the population of the Commonwealth, there are gaps in these financing schemes because they can’t adequately fund the ideas of our youth. Young people are aware of this inability to satisfy all and are deriving new solutions to take care of their resourcing and financing needs through self-empowerment. Uganda 2017, provides the perfect avenue for stocktaking and sharing of global best practices on how we as the Commonwealth can better resource, finance and empower our young people to be agents of change in our communities and for sure, we need them to because we can’t do without them.

The solutions many of our young people are coming up with respond to the needs of an ever changing and growing society which looks up to its young people to be partners in development and to which the young people look up to for support. From a neutral perspective, another aspect which will be of interest, will be the need to examine resourcing and financing from a gender based perspective. We need to encourage our young female entrepreneurs and build the capacity of those interested in STEM fields. This requires us to redirect extra resources and finances towards the empowerment of young women who can be role models and mentors for others.

The winds of the 9CYMM will blow at a very high speed in the coming days as the flashlights of the Commonwealth turn towards Uganda and the hope is that we shall leave Kampala with innovative ways on how to best resource, finance and empower our young people in our quest to build the future we want.

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?

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