Saturday, 21 November 2015

Speech delivered by Ahmed Adamu, the Chairperson Commonwealth Youth Council during the Opening ceremony and plenary session at the 10TH Commonwealth Youth Forum and 2nd Commonwealth Youth Council General Assembly, Malta, November 2015.

The Prime Minister of Malta, other Presidents and Prime Ministers here present, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, youth delegates, ladies and gentlemen!

On behalf of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), the official voice of the young people in the Commonwealth, I would like to welcome and congratulate all the youth participants to this historic Commonwealth Youth Forum and the Commonwealth Youth Council’s General Assembly, the first official youth meetings parallel to the CHOGM that the young people ourselves are co-convening.
The young people’s strength and potentials are increasingly been recognised and appreciated in the Commonwealth. This is demonstrated by the active and inclusive participation of the young people in every process of decision making at various levels in the Commonwealth, and this forum is one of the big examples.
And with these I would say in Maltese language: Merhaba Gio Malta
This forum is historic for us, because it is during this forum that the CYC’S second general assembly is taking place, where young people for the first time will receive feedback on the interventions made in response to their calls from the preceding forum. There have been 9 series of this forum, but there have never been a formal democratic transition of youth leadership except in this 10th series, so this is historic.
It is Historic because it is for the first time a country is hosting the forum twice and for the third time it is hosted in Europe. The inaugural youth forum was held in Edinburgh, UK, 18 years ago. Since then there have been increasing spaces for the young people to participate in this high level decision meeting.
This forum is also historic, because it is for the first time we have young people without the connection, and without being nominated by their country, but by virtue of their competence and commitments they are here through the open selection process that allowed every young person to apply to participate in this forum.
This is historic as the first Commonwealth Youth Council’s transition from one democratically elected executives to another will take place.
It is also historic, as this is the biggest Commonwealth Youth Event taking place since the adoption of the successor development goals i.e. SDGs , and therefore, it is opportunity for the young people from the Commonwealth, who formed more than half of the global youth population to reflect on these development goals as well as other current and past global, regional and national declarations and commitments and develop an implementation and action framework that will ensure success of these commitments.
The recommendations coming from this forum have been widely consulted for over a year, and young people are here once more to further discuss on these various thematic areas with a view to putting forward a practicable recommendations.
So these recommendations will answer the question of what next? What next after SDGs adoption, what next after CHOGM, and with the Commonwealth having the largest youth generation and with adequate spaces like this, we are confident that young people of the Commonwealth will play effective role in implementation of these commitments.
One thing we can do better is not to only place the young people in place, but make them in charge, and this is the area the Commonwealth needs to improve at all levels. There is difference between being in place and being in charge. And the Commonwealth Youth Council is the appropriate platform through which we can make the young people become in charge in their countries and at regional levels. Commonwealth can only add global value if the young people will continue to be in charge especially in matters that affect us.
As the first ever CYC executives, we have received our mandate from the last Commonwealth Youth Forum/Commonwealth Youth Council General Assembly in Sri Lanka, and we are here to report back to the young people on what we have done on their behalves toward ensuring effective implementation of their recommendations.
There is nothing for the youth without the youth, any youth-less decision is useless, and we are convinced that Commonwealth’s decisions process are useful as it has been youthful. The bond of friendship and brotherhood of the Common family is further bonded among the largest ever youth generation in the Commonwealth.
Attending this forum enable us to further broaden our networks of friendship and partnership, essential elements for success in the modern world. And this has given us confidence for the better future of the Commonwealth.
This is the only international forum in the entire world where young people interact with the heads of government and make direct inputs in to the heads of government’s commitments.
I therefore welcome all you of you to the 2nd Commonwealth Youth Council’s general assembly, and I can imagine how excited it feels that the campaign for the executive positions are getting hot now, and we all looking forward to the election. We hope that the new executives to be elected will build on the foundation and the institution we set for the Commonwealth Youth Council.
Ahmed Adamu

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