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Commonwealth Secretary-General with Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and young leaders

"Educate women to reverse climate change"

23 August 2017

Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, encouraged young leaders to tackle the biggest challenges facing their generation at a training event in Scotland this week.

She spoke in Glasgow to more than 70 participants at Common Purpose’s ‘33Sixty’ event – so named because 33 per cent of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, and of that number, 60 per cent are under the age of 30.

Secretary-General Scotland asked the young leaders to address a central question during their training:  ‘What can our generation of the Commonwealth do now to make our cities more inclusive and safe by 2030?’.

Her question is in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“You are each a huge source of potential and as young people are the powerhouse of the Commonwealth,” she told attendees. “It is up to you, as young people of the Commonwealth, to engage and lead on the SDGs, both as beneficiaries and as agents of positive change.”

After highlighting the importance of Commonwealth initiatives such as Women in Leadership, Peace in the Home and Gender Equality, the Secretary-General continued, “Research shows that the number one action we can take to reverse climate change is the education of women, reinforcing how vitally important the empowerment of women and youth is.”

The 16 articles of the Commonwealth Charter, with the addition of the overarching Commonwealth principle of partnership, are closely aligned to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

At the end of the programme, the Secretary-General welcomed the Queen’s Baton to the event, along with members of the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Baton is travelling around the Commonwealth on its way to the Commonwealth Games in Australia.  It will arrive in the host city, Gold Coast, for the start of the Games on 4 April 2018.

Read the Secretary-General’s full speech to the young leaders here.

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