Youth delegation at CLGC2023
18 November 2023
Ensuring that young people contribute their views about the future of the Commonwealth has always been important to CLGF. Eliciting opinion on how they want their communities and cities to be developed; their priorities and needs; and what can be done to encourage greater engagement with local government.
As part of the 2023 Year of Youth, CLGF ensured that the youth view was captured throughout the conference and reflected in the outcomes statement which will be submitted to CHOGM in Samoa next 2024.
Launching and networking
Youth activities began on 14 November with a launch event to set the scene for the youth programming over the course of the CLGC23. The launch was hosted at the Rwanda Ministry of Youth by Hon Ms Sandrine Umutoni, Minister of State for Youth and was attended by around 60 youth representatives, comprising delegates from countries including Ghana, Sri Lanka, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Maldives, Eswatini, UK, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Belize, Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Chad and around 30 local Rwandan young people who joined forces to network and share their views. Attendees were inspired by keynote speeches, provided by the Minister on Rwanda’s commitment to the Youth Dividend and a UK perspective on Youth Leadership and the transformative role of local government – reinforcing local resilience, shared by Mayor Marvin Rees from the city of Bristol in the UK.
Youth delegates participated consistently in all components of the conference, with their own specific session focused on priorities for young people around the democratic process at the local level. On the final day of the conference, this cohort came together for a closed Youth Caucus, to reflect on all the discussions and to develop the Kigali Youth Outcomes Statement on Youth Leadership for a Resilient Future - a list of youth recommendations to be submitted for inclusion in the outcomes statement of the conference. A cross-commonwealth representative team of drafters was also nominated from amongst the youth delegates, to work to streamline the youth outcomes statement post conference.
Kigali youth outcomes statement
The Kigali Youth Outcomes Statement will feed into the ongoing work of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation (CYSU) and the overall conference outcomes statement - The Kigali Declaration on Building local resilience across the Commonwealth, which will be submitted to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2024 in Samoa.
The Youth recommendations were presented at the closing ceremony in the presence of Hon Jean Claude Musabyimana, Minster for Local Government. Nominated by his peers, Mr. Jeremy Wagaba, Programmes Assistant with the Uganda Youth Senate on Leadership and Governance took delegates through the recommendations of the youth outcomes statement, framed around the four CHOGM themes.
Some of the recommendations are shown below:
- Building Resilient Democratic institutions - the need for youth quotas for representation of young people in elected roles in local government and a presence in the CLGF board and calls for mandatory civic education highlighting the importance of local government institutions and systems;
- Building Resilient Economies - youth centric procurement and contracting policies; advocacy for funding platforms and visa free movement across commonwealth states focused on trade, employment and study;
- Resilient Environment - advocacy for action for central and local government action for climate mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction; calls for investment and financing to implement sustainable and resilient infrastructure and planning codes to support green infrastructure developments and safe public spaces;
- Building resilient societies and people - Advocate for leadership, mentorship and knowledge-exchange programs for young people in both the technical and political local government space; calls for central and local governments to develop and implement policies to address mental health services for young people; advocacy for inclusion of life skills education to support independent living and sustainable livelihoods and calls for a festival of the commonwealth.
Closing his contribution, Mr. Wagaba reinforced “Nothing for the youth, by the youth, without the youth”.
CLGF would like to thank the Commonwealth Secretariat, Platforma, the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation Network. and the Rwanda Ministry of Youth for their support of this important element of the Commonwealth Local Government Conference 2023. More information about the 2023 Year of Youth can be found on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website.
With 60% of the Commonwealth’s population aged 30 and under, it is imperative that local government engages with this cohort to secure their views and their participation in local government, both politically and professionally. Earlier this year, CLGF held two online dialogue sessions to exchange views and share best practice with the youth agenda across the Commonwealth. Based on a report, Youth and Cities, commissioned by CLGF, more information about these sessions can be found of the CLGF website: Part one and Part two.
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