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Commonwealth launches webinar series for youth to take charge of their future

6 July 2020

The Commonwealth Secretariat is hosting a new webinar series for young people to have a louder voice in policy decisions affecting them.

The announcement comes after both the Commonwealth Youth Forum and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) were postponed due to COVID-19.

Engaging young people

The series aims to engage young people from the 54 member countries to discuss their pressing issues and agree tangible solutions to be presented to Commonwealth leaders at CHOGM.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected young people and has highlighted the need for a space in which they can meet and discuss their challenges and pool their ingenuity and resources.

Global youth unemployment stood at 13.6 percent in 2019 – far higher than for any other group. The pandemic has worsened this issue, forcing one in six people under the age of 29 out of work across the world. Meanwhile, some 1.5 billion children are now unable to attend school.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Despite being adversely affected, the Commonwealth’s young people are active in the fight against COVID-19.

“They are showing their leadership in their communities and are making vital efforts to stop the spread of the virus as innovators, researchers and activists.

“Our new webinar series is providing young people from across our five regions with a powerful platform to exchange their ideas, solutions and challenges so that we can build an inclusive and equitable recovery strategy, which benefits everyone and supports sustainable growth.”

Taking Charge of Our Future

The monthly ‘Taking Charge of our Future’ webinar series will run from July to December. It will focus on the five CHOGM pillars covering issues such as employment, climate change, technology, education and equal opportunities.

The Commonwealth Youth Council’s vice chair Darrion Narine said: “Young people need a seat at the table where decisions are made about their future.

“This series will allow us to consult with young people as equal partners in coming up with solutions that leaders can consider to respond to their needs, particularly in light of the pandemic.”

Building on the 2020 theme of ‘youth engagement for global action’ for International Youth Day, the series will engage about 1,000 young people to ensure their voices are heard in the debate around global development.

Shomy Hasan Chowdhury from the Commonwealth Youth Forum’s taskforce said: “The impact of COVID-19 will be far lasting, excluding young people or diverting attention away from them will be harmful to everyone.

“This webinar series is critical for young people to come together and brainstorm fresh ideas to inform global responses to deal with what is to come after COVID-19.”

Upcoming episodes:

  • Episode 1: Taking Charge of our Future
  • Episode 2: Trade, Entrepreneurship, and Employment
  • Episode 3: Technology and Innovation
  • Episode 4: Youth Development: Inclusive, Equitable, and Accessible Opportunities
  • Episode 5: Governance and the Rule of Law: Youth Leadership in Decision-making
  • Episode 6: Environment: Climate Change and Sustainable Blue Economies

To take part in the series, register here.

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