Our five priority areas centred around sport and informed by our unique Commonwealth context and guiding frameworks, will help us to guide programming, measure impact and support fundraising. Together, through sport, let us address and make a profound difference to some of the world’s biggest challenges: Youth Empowerment; Equal Rights; Historical Injustice; Small States and Island States; and Sustainable Cities and Communities.
More than 60% of people in the Commonwealth are under the age of 30. The CSF will seek to strengthen youth engagement and empower the diverse group of citizens that make up its 72 nations and territories today. Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow, or the next generation - they are the Commonwealth’s citizens of today.
Twenty years ago, we were the first global sporting body to launch a Youth Games, to support, empower and recognise the development and achievements of young athletes (Edinburgh 2000 Commonwealth Youth Games). Today, we want to build on this work and make the most of young peoples’ proven capability to lead and inspire change, empowering them to leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference in their communities.
90% of young people in the Commonwealth are living in countries that have low or medium scores on the OECD’s Youth Development Index; and 66% of Commonwealth youth not in education, employment or training are female. The CSF will enable initiatives that respect, protect and promote young people as agents of change.
Sport is often called a level playing field, but many athletes and communities across the Commonwealth continue to face issues and challenges linked to gender bias, racial inequality, homophobia and disability discrimination. The Commonwealth Games were the first global multi-sport event to ensure it guaranteed an equal number of medal opportunities for men and women; and have fully-integrated Para sports in to the sport programme since 2002.
But more must be done to continue the drive for equality, and not just when the eyes of the world are on the Commonwealth Games, but across Commonwealth communities every day of the year. The CSF will support initiatives that contribute to our global vision to respect equality and promote fairness, non-discrimination and inclusion in all that we do, bringing us together as equals.
There is no easy way of saying the Commonwealth has a challenging history linked to colonial roots. Work has already started to alter the focus from the hegemony of the British Empire to one of global peace, shared sustainability and prosperity, advanced through the Commonwealth Charter. The most recent Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 was the first multi-sport event globally to acknowledge, respect and support local indigenous communities through a ground- breaking Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan.
As a powerful and influential medium to connect communities and transcend social and racial barriers – we passionately believe that sport has an essential role.
Small States and Island States
Thirty-two of the world’s 42 small states are Commonwealth members. The CSF will work internationally on initiatives that specifically address the unique development challenges they face.
Small states are particularly vulnerable because of their geographic positioning, strong dependence on trade, limited access to development finance and disproportionate impact of natural disasters and climate change. Our two most recent editions of the Youth Games were hosted in small island states providing sport and youth development and event tourism legacies to Samoa in 2015 and The Bahamas in 2017.
Through our Games and our development initiatives – like our Para athlete support programme, which provided an unprecedented pathway for emerging Para athletes in the Pacific in 2017 – our aim is to offer small states and island states regionally relevant opportunities and, most of all, an equal voice on the global sporting stage.
Sustainable Cities and Communities
As urban populations around the Commonwealth continue to grow, the push to make cities greener, more natural and healthier is gaining momentum – and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the need for a more liveable urban environment increasingly evident. The pandemic has also exacerbated the barriers that the most at-risk communities face on the labour market.
Sports can and should be a key feature in economic and environmental efforts to build resilient and sustainable societies. The CSF will use sport to drive urban regeneration projects, tackle climate change and accelerate and promote training and upskilling especially within the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable and at-risk communities and groups.
Our Games provide a unique platform to create sustainable cities and communities by raising awareness, advocating for change and working with partners to put programmes in action that address local economic and environmental issues. Through the power of sport, we can transform and strengthen local communities to drive sustainable growth and promote resilience.