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With over 60% of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens under the age of 30, engaging with young people to increase their input and participation in local government is important to CLGF. As an illustration, working in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Youth Council, CLGF’s recent conference in Malta featured a Young Leaders’ Forum.
Held immediately before the main conference, the two-day event brought together young councillors and mayors, along with youth civil society leaders from all regions of the Commonwealth. The aim was to ensure that the voice of youth fed into the conference and its outcomes, and to further the advocacy role of CLGF around supporting young adults in local government – the sphere of governance that has such a fundamental impact on young people.
Key issues discussed
With lively interaction throughout the forum, participants used the opportunity to discuss their challenges, as well as their achievements. In line with the theme of the conference – fit for the future – the forum explored recommendations to help local government create the necessary enabling environment to better engage with youth and meet their needs as citizens. The issues discussed included governance and holding local government to account; mobilising financial and other resources; understanding local government and its role; and leadership, and how better to attract and support young councillors, particularly young women.
Participants created a statement of recommendations and took their key messages into the main conference, with opportunities to speak on panels and in working groups.
Take a look at one of the participants at the Young Leaders' Forum, Cllr Buumba Malambo from Zambia, talking about social media at the main conference.