Young people from across the Commonwealth were invited to discuss policy issues at The People’s Global Summit on Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind last Thursday.
The summit, initiated by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), was put together to “act as a catalyst to develop new local and global values, policies and practices for our joint futures”.
The Commonwealth Youth Programme were among several partners, including UNICEF and the Global Student Forum, contributing to the event between 29 June and 2 July.
Research Manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr Terri-Ann Roberts, moderated an enriching panel discussion on 'Redefining and Reclaiming ‘Youth’ Principles in a Post-Pandemic World' and was joined by Kim Allen, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, Supriya Paul, Commonwealth Youth Award Finalist 2022 and founder of JoshTalks, Christine Achieng Odera, Coordinator for Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) and Kendell Vincent, Chair of Caribbean Regional Youth Council.
Speaking about how the pandemic has affected young people, Christine said:
“Covid came, and we realised that human and interpersonal connection is the most vital activity that we as people need to really focus on. When we were all experiencing lockdowns the world literally shut, but we saw a lot of young people coming out to make sure face masks were distributed. There were young people putting themselves at risk to make sure that disabled people were able to move from one place to another.
“I think if anything Covid really amplified what we have been doing and what has not been recognised for ages and this has been an opportunity for us to tell the world, look we can do this.”
Throughout the event, the young leaders also discussed themes of civic participation, capacity building, digitalisation, and perseverance. Dr Terri-Ann said:
“It is such an honour to be in your presence because for the young people, we work with in the Commonwealth Youth Programme we see that perseverance every day. We’re in challenging times but we are so proud to see your perseverance to continue to deliver great solutions to change the world.”
Also speaking at the Summit as a keynote speaker was Head of Social Policy Development at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Layne Robinson. Layne spoke about the recent Commonwealth Youth Forum at the Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda and the role of youth post-pandemic.
He said: "Involve youth, think youth, get young people involved not just as an add on but meaningfully, intentionally think about how you can reorder your institution, so it involves young people."
- Amy Coles Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat