CHOGM: Innovation, governance to take centre stage at Youth Forum | The New Times

The first Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) forum, the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) is set to start on Sunday, June 19, at Intare Conference Arena in Kigali.

More than 350 youth leaders from 54 nations are expected to take part in this three-day forum under the theme: ‘Taking Charge of our Future’, which is expected to see them bring policy recommendations to their governments – asserting their role in shaping the future of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected young people, saying that it also casts a shadow that could stretch across the coming decades, threatening to set the community back on the social and economic progress made and exacerbating existing weaknesses.

“But, in the Commonwealth we have a powerful advantage – a young majority who are brimming with talent, intent on innovation and eager to be part of the solution,” Scotland added.

Indeed, more than 60 percent of Commonwealth citizens are under the age of 30, and have been distinctly impacted by the Covid-19 and its associated consequences; economic, social and academic.

“At this critical time in our history the Commonwealth recognizes the critical importance of giving these powerful youth leaders a voice and a space, and we are excited to see what they will bring to the table,” Scotland added.

The youth leaders will also have an opportunity to meet heads of governments during an intergenerational dialogue.

This year’s CYF will also address thematic areas such as governance and the rule of law, technology, skills, innovation, sustainability, health, Covid-19, and trade.

Darrion Narine, the co-chair of an International Youth Task Force co-ordinating the meeting said that they have worked hard over the last few months to deliver an inspiring and productive forum that will get young people engaging in critical thought around the major issues impacting youths across the Commonwealth.

“We hope the next three days will provide an invaluable opportunity for the 350 youth representatives attending to have an input on building a future that benefits us all – paving the way to a stronger and more successful Commonwealth,” Narine said.

Rosemary Mbabazi, the Minister of Youth and Culture said that the government of Rwanda is committed to support the Youth led declaration “towards a prosperous and inclusive commonwealth.”

Happening for the 12th time, the CYF is one of the four forums which have taken place in the margins of CHOGM since 1998.

The other forums held ahead of CHOGM are the People’s Forum, the Women’s Forum, and the Business Forum.

More than 5,000 delegates are expected in Kigali for this meeting.

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