Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Engaging youth in India

19 June 2023

 

This year, more than any before, is an ideal time to look at involving more young people in the democratic process. This was certainly the case last week in India.

 

A special two-day event, or workshop, was held last week to focus on the youth collectives and their role in urban government. This involved four organisations and numerous youth groups from Mumbai and Maharastra. The discussions were centred on how local government can involve young people in a more constructive manner; for example, to input into planning and decision-making processes, to reflect their views and needs. It was also recognised that greater youth participation would also help with issues around anti-social behaviour and ensure that the rights of young people are preserved.

Youth action on sustainable urbanisation

On the first day of the event, CLGF’s Asia Regional Manager, Ms Anuya Kuwar gave a presentation to explain the work of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in ensuring that young people were an integral part of the response to rapid urbanisation and sustainable development. The creation of the new Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation Network  provides a platform, consisting of young professionals, to play their role in ensuring cities of the future meet the needs of young people – who make up some 60% of the Commonwealth’s population. The CYSU gives a voice to planners, researchers, architects and, more importantly for local democracy, young and aspiring political leaders in councils. Ms Kumar also explained how young people could be better involved. (CLGF also held two dialogue sessions on Youth and the City based on a paper they commissioned to detail the key facts and priorities.)

Recommendations to central government

On the second day, participants were addressed by the Chair of the Legislative Assembly. A series of recommendations were put forward to him, with a list of suggestions about how young people could be engaged in local politics. The aim being to bring together a network of organisations to work towards the inclusiveness agenda, in relation to young people.

Ms Kuwar said: “It is very pleasing to see, in the Commonwealth Year of Youth, such an appetite for youth involvement in local politics and an appetite to find innovative ways to achieve this. This is as much about showing young people that they have rights, and their input is important, as well as encouraging more young people to play a part in planning their communities.”

 

Year of Youth

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022, leaders declared 2023 as a year dedicated to youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development. Year of Youth was officially launched in January. Young changemakers, civil society and governments are invited to work together towards a renewed vision for the Commonwealth: one that is secure, fair, and sustainable.  Read more about this initiative.

 

Image courtesy of the Commonwealth Secretariat

 

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