Youth leaders putting themselves forward to join the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) leadership team have outlined the ways they want to see the Commonwealth become fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous in their manifestos.
The CYC, is the recognised voice of more than 1.2 billion young people from all across the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries and advocates on behalf of these young people on issues such as climate change, access to education, gender equality and employment.
A new chair and leadership team for the Youth Council will be elected in London on 18 April at the Commonwealth Youth Forum ahead of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
With campaigning about to commence, the current Commonwealth Youth Council Chair, Mr Kishva Ambigapathy encouraged young people across the Commonwealth to engage in the election and with the candidates. “The young people elected to the Commonwealth Youth Council in April will work in partnership with young people, national youth councils, national, regional and global youth bodies, governments and all stakeholders to advance the youth contribution to the prosperity, security, fairness and sustainability of the Commonwealth – the four main aspirations of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This election is an opportunity for young people from across the Commonwealth to engage in Commonwealth democratic processes, have their voices heard and have an impact on those relationships and partnerships with their choice of candidates”, said Mr Ambigapathy, a Durham University MSc Graduate from Malaysia.
The General Assembly where the Youth Council election takes place is a key part of the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Attended by over 350 young delegates aged from 18 to 29, the forum is jointly organised by the UK Government, the Youth Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat under the theme of “Towards a Common Future”.
The final shortlist of 24 candidates for the nine seats on the Council’s Executive was announced by the Council and its partner, the Commonwealth Secretariat on the election website, alongside each candidate’s manifesto.
Campaigning will end on 17 April, 24 hours before polls open for national delegates. Young people are encouraged to use the #CYC, #CommonwealthYouth and #CHOGM2018 hashtags to reach out on social media and propose questions and suggest priorities for discussion by candidates.
Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Development at the Commonwealth Secretariat said: “The candidates elected to the Youth Council will become global champions for the Commonwealth Youth, putting their interests, goals and aspirations forward. The Commonwealth Youth Council is a dynamic and diverse youth-led organisation, representing young people from Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe. Young people across the Commonwealth should make the most of this opportunity to elect a candidate who best represents their priorities.”
The final selection of candidates was made by the Returning Officer of the Commonwealth Youth Council and an Electoral Board representing each region of the Commonwealth after they were assessed on the qualifying criteria. Applicants were required to submit a manifesto, personal profile and other documentation, and they needed to be endorsed by a National Youth Council or Regional Youth Council, a national or regional youth-led organisation, or a registered and recognised international youth-led organisation.
The Commonwealth Youth Council was first established in 2013 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Programme. It was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their biennial summit in Sri Lanka in 2013 as an “autonomous, youth-led” organisation.
Led by a nine-member executive, the Commonwealth Youth Council acts as a coalition of national youth councils and other youth-led civil society and private sector bodies from across the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth.