Youth empowerment critical in realising 2030 Agenda

James Kon

The Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the Brunei Government will convene a regional Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) from August 27-29, as it builds on the rich deliberations, policy recommendations and progress made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (9th CYMM).

According to the Commonwealth, the meeting is set to bring together senior officials responsible for youth, national youth leaders, youth workers, key regional stakeholders from across the region, providing an opportunity to focus on the emerging regional and global youth development landscape and to help identify priorities for action.

The SOM will allow representatives of member governments’ and other key youth development stakeholders – including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations partners – to examine and prioritise policy issues pertinent to the regional youth development agenda.

At the 25th CHOGM in the United Kingdom from April 19-20, heads discussed how the Commonwealth can contribute to a future which is fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous.

Given that 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population are under the age of 30, heads of government affirmed that youth empowerment is critical in realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the aspirations of the Commonwealth Charter.

They also stressed the importance of creating meaningful employment opportunities for youth. They agreed on key mandates including the need to invest in a systems approach to support young people, to mainstream youth development into national development planning and to support youth peace-building efforts among other Pan Commonwealth priorities for youth development.

The SOM will examine these issues, discuss and agree on policy solutions.

The objectives of the SOM is to review the policy recommendations from the CHOGM 2018 and the 9th CYMM held in Uganda in 2017, and agree on practical actions to promote timely implementation of these recommendations; provide and access progress reports from Commonwealth Secretariat, regional organisations, youth leaders and stakeholders; analyse current trends in youth development; identify strategies and priorities for future action to advance youth empowerment in the region; provide senior officials with the opportunity to share, celebrate and adopt good practices, strategies, solutions and models; and agree on a statement of priorities and action plan for the Asia region in keeping with the Commonwealth youth policy.