CYP is unique amongst similar programmes of international youth agencies in that it has established mechanisms whereby young people are represented at all levels of decision-making, including a seat and voice at the Ministerial table when Ministers for Youth Affairs meet.
These meetings comprise of ministers, senior government officials and youth representatives of the Commonwealth.
CYMM enable Ministers to contribute to the debate on emerging issues related to youth development; enable Ministers to take stock of current CYP programmes and provide guidance on ways to address emerging challenges to strengthen the youth development agenda; and provide a platform for potential development organisations to directly or indirectly take part in the meeting deliberations.
1 CYMM 1992 Maldives
2 CYMM 1995 Trinidad & Tobago
3 CYMM 1998 Malaysia
4 CYMM 2000 Solomon Islands
5 CYMM 2003 Botswana
6 CYMM 2006 The Bahamas
7 CYMM 2008 Sri Lanka
The first CYMM was held in the Republic of Maldives in May 1992.
Delegates from 39 countries, 29 of them led by Ministers, and young representatives constituting the Youth Caucus and covering all regions of the Commonwealth, attended the meeting. The Hon Abdulla Jameel, Minister in charge of Youth Affairs, Republic of Maldives, was in the chair. The discussions explored ways in which Ministers of Youth could be strengthened and the effectiveness of youth literacy and community service schemes improved.
The second meeting of Commonwealth Ministers responsible for Youth Affairs was held in Port of Spain from 17-19 May 1995. Forty-one Commonwealth countries were represented. The Meeting was opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon Patrick Manning, and chaired by the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Hon E Jean Pierre.
The special theme for the Ministers’ deliberation was ‘Investing in Tomorrow’s Commonwealth: Youth Towards the Year 2000’. Ministers began to look towards the millennium and recommended three areas which should be pillars for CYP’s strategic plan. A new CYP strategic plan to the year 2000 was presented which was based around these areas; Youth Empowerment, National Youth Policy Development and Human Resource Development for young men and women.
The third CYMM was opened by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed. Held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 27-30 May 1998, forty-four countries, of which 36 were represented by Ministers, participated in the Meeting. The Hon Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd. Yassin, Minister of Youth and Sports of Malaysia chaired the Meeting.
They discussed the special theme of ‘Youth Empowerment in the New Millennium’. In particular, they approved a Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment to the Year 2005, a forward-looking policy framework including a set of strategic objectives and action points to assist governments in their efforts to empower young people to further their personal growth and contribute to national development in the new millennium.
For the fourth CYMM, Commonwealth Youth Ministers met in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 24-26 May 2000. 39 countries, of which 16 were represented by Ministers, participated in the Meeting. The Meeting was opened by the Hon Batholomew Ulufa’alu, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and chaired by the Hon Hilda Kari, Minister for Women, Youth and Sports.
4 CYMM met after 2 years in order to align itself with the Commonwealth Secretariat government cycle. The meeting provided Ministers with opportunities to share national experiences in the development of young people, to review the implementation of CYP’s work programme as agreed at their last meeting in Kuala Lumpur (1998) by considering the Report of the Ministerial Review Group (MRG) and to adopt CYP’s proposed work plan to the year 2003 and the Reports of the Committee of Management (CoM).
The fifth CYMM took place in Gaborone, Botswana from 27-30 May, 2003 under the theme: ‘Young People: Development Partners against Poverty and HIV/AIDS’. Thirty-seven countries participated in the meeting; of these, twenty-three were represented by Ministers. The Meeting was opened by HE the Hon Festus Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana, and chaired by the Hon Thebe Mogami, Minister for Labour and Home Affairs.
Ministers reviewed the strategic and operational plans of CYP, considered the direction of the CYP and set priorities for action for 2003-2006.
The sixth CYMM took place in Nassau, The Bahamas from 24-26 May 2006 under the theme: Youth Empowerment for the Eradication of Poverty, Crime and HIV/AIDS. Forty- three countries participated in the Meeting, of these twenty three were represented by Ministers. The Meeting was opened by the Rt Hon Perry G Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and chaired by the Hon Neville W Wisdom, Minister of Youth, Sports and Housing.
In 2003, Ministers called for greater involvement and participation of young people throughout the CYP governance process. CYMM 2006 responded to this call by changing both the content and process of the meeting, providing effective opportunities for young people to communicate the issues they felt to be greatest concerns through structured workshops.
The Seventh Meeting of Commonwealth Youth Ministers convened in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 27 – 30 April 2008 under the theme of ‘Youth and Peace-Building’. The Meeting was opened by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and chaired by the Honourable Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister for Youth Affairs.
From 2008, Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting is set to convene every four years, in alignment with the Secretariat’s project cycle.