London, 4 February 2014 – Senior government officials from Commonwealth countries in Asia convene in Chandigarh, India this week to review their priorities for youth development.Representatives of Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka will attend the senior officials meeting on 5 and 6 February, which is being convened by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP). India’s head of delegation is Mr Rajeev Gupta, Secretary for Youth at the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The meeting follows last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, at which leaders vowed to put young people at the heart of policymaking for sustainable development. The resulting Magampura Commitment to Young People focused on renewing efforts to develop and empower young people, and on tackling issues such as joblessness and lack of meaningful voice.
Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth Affairs at the Commonwealth, said: “This generation can make an enormous contribution to national development, with the right prioritisation and investment. It is essential that their voices be heard and that government decision-makers have the right policy tools available to them. By sharing national experiences and working collaboratively, policy-makers will be putting the commitments of their leaders into action.”
Ellis notes that the meeting is taking place at a time when the Commonwealth Youth Programme is undergoing a period of renewal, which will result in a new operating model. “The Commonwealth Youth Programme will continue to be a driving force in the youth development sector. It will support governments and youth-led organisations in policy-making and programming,” she said.
Under the reorganisation of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, its Asia Centre in Chandigarh will be redeployed as a regional centre of the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, overseen by India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Ahead of a regional Commonwealth youth ministers meeting to be convened by the Commonwealth Youth Programme in early 2015, senior officials will discuss in Chandigarh national priorities as well as opportunities for collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
Participants will also assess progress on the outcomes of the 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Papua New Guinea in April 2013, as well as the 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum in Sri Lanka in November 2013. At the forum, young delegates called on governments to focus on youth employment, fit-for-purpose education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the professionalisation of youth work.