Commonwealth Day Message
The Commonwealth Students’ Association is really excited to be celebrating Commonwealth Day with everyone. Today is the day that we celebrate the beautiful values of the Commonwealth that unites 53 nations together amidst our vibrant diversity. This year Commonwealth Day is even more special as it leads up to the Heads of Government meeting and Commonwealth Youth Forum in London as well as the Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast.
As young people, who make up about 60% of the population in the Commonwealth, we stand ready and pledge to be partners to enable a more secure, prosperous, sustainable and fairer future. Harnessing the potential of young people regardless of race, language, religion, socio-economic status, and ability is fundamental to achieving these goals.
A More Sustainable Future
Preservation of our environment and management of climate change is critical to achieving a sustainable future. Increasing participation of young people from small-island developing states, indigenous and marginalized communities is essential to benefit from the wisdom and knowledge they possess in protecting our planet. Improving infrastructure for active dissemination of information via social media channels, traditional media, and government campaigns will raise awareness and also the role and responsibility of each individual in preserving our planet. Young people throughout the Commonwealth should be encouraged to become active citizens and volunteer with advocacy groups to drive change at a local level.
A More Prosperous Future
In order for the Commonwealth to achieve shared prosperity through inclusive economic growth, young people must be mobilized to design programmes that will help to reduce youth unemployment. Student leaders and our youth need to be involved in strengthening economic and social policies that aim to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, propel economic growth and increase access to quality education for both boys and girls. It is only through inclusion and partnerships that our united and collective capabilities can be translated into a more prosperous Commonwealth.
A Fairer Future
In order to tap on the talent of everyone in our communities and enable them to play an active role, we must first empower them with equal opportunities and resources. Inclusivity needs to be a key strategy so that we can maximize the reach of our policies and programmes, which must highlight the needs of those who are differently abled, people living in marginalized and/or at-risk environments.
A More Secure Future
A secure future is central to achieving prosperity, sustainability, and fairness and we as young people have a critical role in ensuring peace, security and safety. We need to learn from the best practices of countries that have achieved stability and security and adapt them to suit communities who are striving for it. Development of young people is an important function of having safe and peaceful communities. Young people in at-risk environments are often vulnerable to exploitation and disproportionately exposed to risks, insecurity, or adversity. This could lead to detrimental effects on their social, emotional well-being and hence, their future economic capacities. Creating outreach programmes that specifically aims to empower individuals in at-risk environments will have a strong positive impact on our security in the long run.
Young people need to become critical players in national development and governance at all levels including constitutional, leadership, legal, policy, political, funding and planning levels because decisions and policies made today will directly affect us as we inherit the future.
We must, therefore, activate ourselves at the decision making tables and power our future. Individually, we are like flames of candles but when we unite towards a common future and a common goal, we transform into a bonfire of change that we wish to see.
CSA’s Video on Commonwealth Day: