Youth leaders from Commonwealth countries in Asia have urged governments for more green employment opportunities to support sustainable development. They have called on Commonwealth Youth Ministers to invest in training young people for the region’s future.
The Declaration concluded a two-day Youth Forum in New Delhi, India, ahead of the Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, from 28-30 July.
Youth leaders also resolved to amplify the collective youth voice in the region. They called on Ministers to partner with them to strengthen and cultivate inclusive, democratic, autonomous and youth-led National Youth Councils in all Asian Commonwealth countries, and at the regional level for engagement with youth bodies in other blocs such as the European Union, Pacific and Caribbean.
Speaking at the opening session of the Youth Forum, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj urged youth delegates to play a vital role in the fast-moving Asia region.
“For a region to fulfill its potential, it must focus on the large youth demographic and involve youth in the challenges and opportunities it faces,” he stated. “This Youth Forum can provide valuable input into sustainable development discussions for the Asia region.”
Youth delegates at the forum developed a set of recommendations to contribute to ministerial discussions. They identified young people as key contributors in decision-making processes, and in the design and implementation of national and regional sustainable development agendas. This role includes being agents of change in the green economy.
Aditya N. Acharya, youth delegate for India, heralded this Youth Forum as a chance for young leaders to have a say in the region’s future.
“This youth forum is a great opportunity for us to have a seat at the table with policymakers so we can have a direct role in being part of the decisions that affect us, he said. “The recommendations are a comprehensive list of issues that are indispensable to us, such as sustainable youth employment opportunities and having a greater say in the development of our region’s future.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Joint Secretary of Youth Affairs for India, Mr L K Gupta, signalled the great potential of the region’s youth population.
“Over 60 per cent of the world’s young people in the 15-24 year age group live in Asia, most of them in Commonwealth member countries. It is a great opportunity for these countries to develop and empower their young people and effectively leverage this enormous youth force for development.”
Youth delegates will present their recommendations to Commonwealth Youth Ministers from Asia during the ministerial meeting this week.
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