Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting – Youth Leaders Forum

It has been an exciting few days, meeting with fellow youth leaders from across the Commonwealth to have an intellectual discourse on advancing the agenda of resourcing and financing youth development. We have identified the challenges, and now we are devising solutions. We hope governments acknowledge that to realise the solutions we will need partnerships with all stakeholders – the private sector, philanthropy, civil society and young people.

– Kishva Ambigapathy, Chairperson of the CYC

The Youth Leaders Forum, part of the Commonwealth Youth Minister’s meeting, this year took place in the capital of Uganda, Kampala between 31 July – 1 August. Organized by the Commonwealth Youth Council, Uganda National Youth Council, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Uganda, this year’s theme is Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People. 

Over 150 youth leaders from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas, Europe and the Pacific attended the Forum to discuss the lack of expenditure for the development of young people.

With innovative technology and automation penetrating most industries, it was agreed upon at the Forum that young people across the Commonwealth must be equipped with the skills to adapt to these drastic changes.

Furthermore, with widening social inequalities (eg: unequal opportunities to youth), lack of access to quality education and healthcare, delegates of the Forum agree that there is a “critical need” to diversify sources of funding for youth development, including through public-private partnerships, promoting social enterprises and seeking out philanthropic donors.

Amongst the recommendations provided, a Commonwealth Youth Development Bank was proposed to increase financial support to youth-led social enterprises. In addition, the youth delegates call upon governments to strengthen regulations on corporate social responsibility to ensure that companies support youth projects. On the other hand, there were strong recommendations urging governments to aid the professionalization of young people and provide adequate funding to national youth councils.

Young people are working really hard to advance the sustainable development mandate of our governments. Young people are also often working voluntarily to advance these causes. Investing in young people will provide them with more resources to do much more.

– Karuna Rana, Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN)

Read further about the Youth Forum here: