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‘Post-2015 framework must be responsive to experiences, needs and rights of young people’

Ministers and senior government officials from across the Commonwealth gathered in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting.

Taking place in the wings of this meeting, the Commonwealth Youth Stakeholders’ Forum gathered together representatives from civil society organisations to discuss and debate emerging issues related to the youth agenda. Responding to the theme ‘Young People at the Centre of Sustainable Development’, the two meetings saw a strong focus on collaboration and collective impact.

Speaking at the Ministers meeting on the post-2015 development agenda, Vijay Krishnarayan, Commonwealth Foundation Director, outlined the aspirations and concerns of youth advocates for the post-2015 development framework. Referring to the increased global conversation on the future of the development landscape, Mr Krishnarayan stated that a number of processes dedicated to articulating a youth development agenda have “gradually evolved into meaningful and recognised components of the post-2015 discussion thanks largely to the advocacy of civil society organisations and networks.”

Reflecting on these processes, Mr Krishnarayan continued: “It is clear that the starting point for youth advocates has been that any framework, goals or targets must be responsive to the specific experiences, needs and rights of young people who are presenting not as the recipients of development – but as agents of development”. Featuring highly amongst the aspirations of young people are the need for governance systems which enable participation, environmentally responsible economic models and the development of public services which enhance life choices.

However, despite the increase in conversations surrounding the youth agenda, Mr Krishnarayan explained that there is still a need for an explicit reference to youth development in any post-2015 framework. Referring to collaboration as a key means for achieving this, Mr Krishnarayan concluded that “…here we have a tangible way that youth development institutions can act on this imperative in order to truly place young people at the centre of sustainable development”.