In parallel to the Twenty-Third Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will be hosted by Sri Lanka during 15-17 N0vember, 2013 at the BMICH Colombo, the 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) is scheduled to be held from 10 – 14 November, 2013 in Hambantota.This is organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs and the National Youth Services Council. The Youth Forum is to be attended by about 200 Youth Delegates representing 54 Commonwealth Member States including Sri Lanka.
OBJECTIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH YOUTH FORUM (CYF)
Identify Challenges and Opportunities Faced by Youth
Promote Cultural Exchange and Cooperation
Provide a platform to set an agenda for Youth of the Commonwealth Member States
Build Skills, Knowledge and Awareness of Young People
Provide an opportunity to contribute to Commonwealth Agenda
A Youth Led Task Force (YLTF) has been established to plan and organize the Youth Forum comprising five Youth Leaders from Sri Lanka and another five Youth Leaders from other Commonwealth Member States nominated by the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec). This YLTF is facilitated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council in London.
The first Planning Meeting of the YLTF was held during June this year in Sri Lanka with the participation of the YLTF Members and Officials of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and the National Youth Services Council. During this Planning Meeting, the team developed a main theme for the Youth Forum, sub themes and the daily Program Agenda for the event.
The Theme of the Forum is ‘Inclusive Development: Stronger Together’
The main Forum will be held for four days from 10-13 November, which will be ceremonially inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma on November 10 at the International Convention Centre, Hambantota. It is expected to invite about 1300 youth to participate at this inauguration including school prefects of the schools within Hambantota and adjacent districts in order to create an opportunity for the youth to get them exposed to this event and offer them a sense of ownership of the event.
The four day event would consist of Plenary Sessions on selected sub themes, Working Group activities, General Assembly of the Commonwealth Youth Council which will be the new official and independent platform that represents the voice of young people in the Commonwealth and meeting every two years, Commonwealth Youth Award Ceremony, Cultural events, an Exhibition, Professional skill and capacity building activities, Volunteer opportunities for the youth delegates to participate in a simple community project etc.
Finally, on 15th November, a group of youth delegates including newly elected youth leaders of the Commonwealth Youth Council and the co chairs of the Youth Led Task Force will interface with the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Colombo and share the outcome of the CYF, share their vision for Commonwealth and agree on how they will work with the governments to achieve Commonwealth goals and objectives during the following two years.
EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE YOUTH FORUM
Creation of an opportunity for the youth of the Commonwealth Member States to experience the development of the country at large and the commitments towards development of youth in Sri Lanka
Youth from the different parts of the world will experience the socio, economic and cultural aspects of the country.
Opportunity for the Sri Lankan youth to interact with youth from different cultural backgrounds and share their experiences with them.
Creation of a Youth Voice on working towards a common theme for another two years until the next Youth Forum is held.
NILANTHI SUGATHADASA Additional Secretary
Ministry of Youth Affairs & Skills Development