The Commonwealth Youth Ministerial Taskforce has endorsed key initiatives to create jobs for young people and prioritise youth in national development plans.
The Task Force is a panel of 10 ministers, with two representatives from each Commonwealth region, that provides advice on the design and delivery of youth programmes.
Meeting in Malta, members underscored the urgency of mobilising resources to meet the growing ambitions of young people, who make up more than 60 per cent of the 2.4 billion population of the Commonwealth.
Strategies that were endorsed to address this challenge include a new toolkit to help governments boost green and blue growth through youth entrepreneurship as well as a new executive course for ministers, diplomats and permanent secretaries on strategic leadership and management of youth work.
The taskforce also welcomed the addition of The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, as the new Commonwealth Youth Ambassador and discussed ways to work more closely with him.
Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Uganda’s Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development, chaired the meeting. She said: “In this family of nations, we have such a diversity of member countries, you are able to explore new and innovative youth work practices to enrich your own work and share some of your own ideas as well to assist others in their work.”
“As ministers, we all have a keen interest in the development of our young people and this gives us the chance to work together as governments to deliver on the priorities we have identified.”
Ministers reviewed the Commonwealth Youth Council’s strategic plan for the next two years which focuses on strengthening national youth councils and fostering closer partnerships with regional bodies. Plans are also underway to train youth workers under the Commonwealth Higher Education for Youth Work Consortium.
Describing youth empowerment as a duty, Ryan Borg, Head of Secretary for Youth Sport and Voluntary Organisations in Malta, encouraged officials to do their best to support young people in meeting the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
“We need to provide the political leadership and practical commitment necessary to help young people in shaping and determining that future for the better,” he said.
During the meeting, ministers also shared successful local initiatives including youth skills centres in Uganda and the political youth mentorship programme in Malaysia.
“Commonwealth heads of government outlined a clear set of strategic mandates at their summit in April 2018. Their vision will advance youth development in the Commonwealth and transform the life-chances of young people, especially those from marginalised communities,” said Layne Robinson, the Commonwealth’s Head of Social Policy Development.
Ministers called for a coordinated approach to funding for youth programmes through an innovative approach such as a youth development fund.
The meeting is part of Commonwealth Youth Work Week, which also includes the Third Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work from 6–8 November.