Young people have asked Commonwealth leaders to work with them in developing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
At a meeting in London called Commonwealth Futures: Youth Perspectives, participants discussed new ideas to help Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30 advance good governance, innovation, the rule of law and information and communication technologies (ICT). The youth cohort makes up 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population.
“Work with us,” said Nafula Wafula, vice-chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council. “There is such richness and value in tapping into the diversity of young people in the Commonwealth.
“Our collective voice will represent a policy document in Rwanda next year which leaders will consider to ensure young people are at the forefront of change from ending inequality and getting employed to fighting for the environment and benefitting from the applications of ICT.”
A 2018 UN report report shows that young people are the largest poverty-stricken group globally. The report looks beyond income to understand how people experience poverty in three dimensions of health, education and living standards.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Secretary-General Arjoon Suddhoo said: “The future of our world rests on our young people.
“Young people bring new perspectives and insights, and with your needs and ambitions, you bring focus and urgency to our development agenda. This gathering is to consult and understand the ambitions young people have and ensure their voices are carried forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting convening in Kigali next year.”
The meeting was held at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor from 1 to 3 December and convened by Cumberland Lodge, in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the British Council.
Edmund Newell, the Chief Executive of Cumberland Lodge, said: “We convened this meeting to give a voice to young people from across the Commonwealth through a policy-focused forum that addresses key issues affecting their future. We look forward to seeing how the outcomes of these discussions go on to influence policy around ICT, innovation and the rule of law in the Commonwealth.”
Joanna Newman, Secretary-General of the ACU, said: “Through the Commonwealth Futures series, we will be giving young leaders a platform to directly influence policymakers and help shape the future of our global community.”