ASIA-COMMENWEALTH YOUTH MINISTER MEETING
Mr.Dinesh Gajendran Catalyst and Founder of Audacious Dreams Foundation Asia Regional Representative – Commonwealth Youth Sports for Development and Peace at The Commonwealth & Steering Committee & Asia-Regional Working Group Representative at Commonwealth Students’ Association represented Youth of Asia and Delivered status of report on Commonwealth Students Association, Facilitated session on Cross Cutting Issues in Youth Development, Contributed to the Youth Community. The Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (AsR-CYMM) was held in New Delhi, India, 27-30 July 2015. Youth Ministers and Officials from Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Srilanka, Maldives & Malaysia had participated in the theme of Youth Participation in the heart of Sustainable Development.The meeting is convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the Government of India, under the theme ‘Youth Participation at the heart of sustainable development’. It brings together Ministers with responsibility for youth affairs, senior government officials and youth representatives from Commonwealth countries in Asia.
During the meeting, delegates will focus on youth development challenges and opportunities, including new global development goals for 2015 and beyond. Delegates will take stock of current trends in youth development in Asia and identify strategies and priorities for future action to advance youth empowerment in the Commonwealth.The meeting incorporates a Youth Leaders’ Forum, managed by the Commonwealth Youth Council in conjunction with regional youth platforms in Asia. It follows the 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in April 2013 in Papua New Guinea, which brought together Youth Ministers, senior government officials and young leaders from across the 53 nations of the Commonwealth to discuss youth policy priorities.
Youth ministers agreed strategies/key actions to ensure youth empowerment and development priorities are included in national and regional development frameworks, especially in light of the new SDGs. Ministers agreed to champion a youth focus in their countries in programming and interventions at national and regional level to achieve the goals of the SDG targets and indicators.
Ministers agreed to advocate for adequate financing for youth development at sub-national, national and regional levels. . Ministers also supported the call by youth leaders for a youth-focussed monitoring mechanism for the SDGs, including the disaggregation of data, and analysis using the Commonwealth Youth Development Index.
Ministers committed to enhancing youth participation in decision-making, as well as youth participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of government programmes, by taking steps to include targets for youth representation, through legitimate structures, in relevant governance and decision-making structures at national, regional and international levels.
Ministers commended the progress of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) and Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA) in engaging and uniting youth and student organisations in the Commonwealth. They also noted the need to strengthen communication and coordination mechanisms between youth networks, youth ministries and the Commonwealth.
Ministers commended the progress made by the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Asia (CAYE-A), and agreed to provide further support, noting that such a network helps lift economic growth and youth employment in member countries. Ministers further agreed to continue to strengthen and support youth entrepreneurship by facilitating easier access to technology and finance for young people, particularly those unable to furnish collateral, and simplifying the regulatory environment for youth.
Youth delegates expressed their deep appreciation for the financial and in-kind contributions from the Governments of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in support of the Commonwealth Youth Council. Ministers discussed the issue of setting up systematic field mechanisms for the empowerment, non-formal education and care of young people, and agreed to work towards the identification and implementation of good models of youth work practice such as that outlined in the Commonwealth’s Co-Creating Youth Spaces model.
Ministers commended the participating youth leaders on the relevance of their inputs to the AsR-CYMM, noting that it is critical for young people to be involved in development policies, strategies and implementation to ensure sustainability and relevance to young people. Ministers noted the challenges of an increasingly complex environment of regional and global youth policy frameworks, and the expiry of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (2007-2015). Ministers endorsed the Commonwealth’s proposal to harmonise the multiple policy frameworks, as part of a broader Commonwealth youth policy environment, and agreed to collaborate in the process.
In closing session Youth delegates expressed their appreciation to the Ministers of the Commonwealth Asia Region for their participatory approach and genuine partnership, and noted that they look forward to a continuation of this inclusive and mutually beneficial relationship and the implementation of the agreements made.