The 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting opened today in Papua New Guinea’s capital city with a traditional display of dance and music, illustrating the rich cultural diversity of the Pacific island nation.
The ceremony at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby was attended by ministers and youth delegates from across the Commonwealth’s five regions, who are meeting for the first time in four years under the banner: ‘Young people at the centre of sustainable development’.
In his address, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, welcomed delegates to the meeting and praised the Commonwealth as a force for democracy and freedom, that has championed the role of youth.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma reiterated the Commonwealth’s long-standing commitment to young people, noting the 40th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme this year.
“We are here to carry forward that work, to deepen its impact, to renew our efforts for the rising generations of youth in a world with its headlong pace of change, bringing new challenges and complexities, but also new vistas and opportunities,” he said.
Working sessions get underway tomorrow when delegates will hear from the United Nations Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, who is delivering the keynote address.
Over three days, ministers will deliberate issues pertinent to youth development, including the economic empowerment of young people, the promotion of values-based leadership and the integration of young people into the design and execution of development strategies.
There will also be sessions where young leaders participate in the ministerial discussions. The outcomes of these discussions will feed directly into this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which takes place in Sri Lanka in November.