9CYMM Theme

The theme for the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting is:
Resourcing and Financing Youth Development, Empowering Young People

Despite the potential of youth development, and the recognition of young people’s capacity and contributions, there remain significant challenges in how the sector is resourced, supported and financed at all levels. The challenges can vary widely, including:
- Lack of appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks
- Inadequate human and financial resources
- Lack of trained youth workers, researchers and policy makers
- Scarcity of robust coordination frameworks to reduce duplication and identify gaps, and achieve efficiency
- Inadequate infrastructure to support the needs of young people, especially where economic downturns have led to significant cuts to youth services and programmes

Challenges in youth development at the national level are inextricably linked to the challenges in the global and national macroeconomic environment, exacerbated by the global economic crisis of 2008. Since then the world economy has experienced slow growth, and there are increasing challenges related to the rising debt burden in some small states, growing unemployment, inflation and macro-economic uncertainties. External shocks from financial and economic (including debt) crises, as well as from conflict, natural disasters, terrorism and disease outbreaks remain real challenges for small and vulnerable states, and place a real squeeze on national budgets.

In addition to the realities of the macroeconomic challenges, there are also more meaningful attempts to ensure greater equity, protection of marginalized people and preservation of the planet, including action against climate change, which all demand resources and structures. Finally, least developed countries, small island developing states, and countries emerging from conflict and natural disaster, face unique challenges that resulted in specific resourcing and financing needs.

In this context, and with the ever increasing challenge to do more with less, while delivering results, the youth development sector stands at a crossroads. On the one hand, there is an acknowledgement of the need to invest more in young people because of their proven ability and potential to drive positive change. On the other hand, there are competing national priorities that place pressure on already limited resources.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognised essential factors for the shift towards sustainable development and poverty eradication, such as appropriate incentives, strengthening national and international policy environments and regulatory frameworks and their coherence, harnessing the potential of science, technology and innovation, closing technology gaps, and scaling up capacity- building at all levels. The conference concluded that solutions can be found, through strengthening public policies, regulatory frameworks and finance at all levels, unlocking the transformative potential of people and the private sector, and incentivising changes in financing as well as consumption and production patterns to support sustainable development.

Within that framework, this meeting asks how should youth ministers, senior government officials, youth leaders and youth sector stakeholders respond? What are the policy options and alternatives available to decision makers? What are the solutions/models of good practice that are yielding results for young people in the current environment? What challenges and opportunities can we expect over the horizon? How can youth sector stakeholders position themselves to be proactive in the future?

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