Malawi to host Commonwealth Youth Parliament Conference in 2013

Malawi will next year be hosting the Commonwealth Youth Parliament Conference, speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda has revealed.

Chimunthu Banda made the announcement during the official launch of the first ever Youth Parliament in Malawi on Wednesday, in Lilongwe.

This comes after Commonwealth Parliamentary Association came up with a resolution that every country should institute a Youth parliament to give voice to young people.

Speaking at the launch, Chimunthu Banda said the entire Commonwealth of Nations whose total population stands at 2 billion, comprises 60% youths, whose voices must not only be heard, but should be taken seriously by all stakeholders.

Dyson Maliro: Speaker of Malawi youth parliament

He said the youth parliament as a concept has become a standard feature of parliaments of the Commonwealth for the purpose of providing a platform to the young people to be heard on issues that affect their lives.

“Therefore, our formal institutionalization of the Youth Parliament in Malawi is in positive conformity with the desire of the Commonwealth of Nations,” he said.

“This clearly demonstrates that we are now in an era when nations are doing everything possible to enhance the effectiveness of their democracies, their parliaments as well as their governance systems based on principles of inclusivity,” said Chimunthu Banda.

The Speaker further urged all stakeholders to view the launch of the youth parliament as a testimony of the success for young people’s long standing quest to participate in the decision making process.

The conferences scheduled for April next year, will draw two youth participants from each of the commonwealth parliaments of the African continent.

Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA) Africa Region Representative Elija Okupa said CPA is a strong believer and supporter of the youth nationwide.

Thus he said Youth parliament is one of the projects of the CPA to help the youths in addressing issues and challenges facing the youth globally.

“The problems facing the youth ought to be addressed in all CPA countries and the youth to be involved in decision making processes,” said Okupa.

The right of young people to express themselves and to have their opinions heard is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It is also in the declaration and Plan of Action on Africa Fit for Children which affirm the right of youth and children to participate in national development.

Malawi youth parliament

Speaking at the launch, Speaker of the Youth Parliament, Dyson Maliro thanked the National Assembly and all stakeholders who have made it possible to have the youth parliament as stipulated in the strategic plan of the National Assembly for the period 2012-2015.

He said the main objective of the Youth Parliament is to give the youths of Malawi an opportunity to actively take part in major decision making processes of the country by influencing the legislative process.

“We members of the youth parliament will apply ourselves fully and work with dedication to ensure that the resolutions that we will come up with, should bring significant improvements towards the well being of all the youths in this country, through improved policies and legislation which will be favorable to the youths,” said Maliro.

The young speaker further urged his fellow members to be role models to their colleagues out there for them to be motivated to participate in various activities meaningful to their lives.

The Commonwealth Parliament is a grouping of 19 national branches and 45 provincial and state legislatures across Africa.

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