Don’t stop, Harry tells drummers at Commonwealth roundtable meeting

PA

The Duke of Sussex told a group of drummers “Don’t stop playing” as he bobbed his head and pretended to take off his jacket to start dancing.

One Drum, a Ghanaian percussion group, greeted Harry at Lancaster House in central London on Wednesday morning, where he attended a roundtable meeting with young people from across the Commonwealth.

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In a speech, he told the attendees that the responsibility to protect the planet was now more pressing for him as he is “about to become a father”.

He said: “As someone who is about to become a father, I am acutely aware of our shared responsibility to make this world more resilient and its inhabitants more accountable for the next generation.

“There is now, more than ever, a pressing urgency to saving the planet – the clock, as you all know, is ticking.”

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The duke was appointed Commonwealth Youth Ambassador by the Queen in April 2018 and opened the 2018 Youth Forum in London.

During the three-day event, young leaders from Commonwealth countries set goals on issues such as tackling youth unemployment to enhancing youth-led action on marine pollution.

Wednesday’s roundtable was an opportunity for the young leaders to assess their progress so far.

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Addressing the group of 30 attendees who represented countries such as Fiji, India and Ghana, Harry said he was “more passionate than ever about the huge opportunity we have here: to empower young people across the Commonwealth”.

He added: “You are all already doing the work and it is our job to ensure that your views are being heard and acted upon, at the highest levels.

“You are working to secure your own futures – and those who hold the levers of change are starting to recognise the enormous, relatively untapped value in what you are doing.”

The duke stressed that working together and being “interconnected” when striving for sustainability is pivotal for ensuring a future for the next generation.

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He said: “What I have come to understand so deeply is that all health is interconnected – our mental health, our planet’s health, the health of our communities.

“We do not survive, and certainly do not thrive, without the acknowledgement and understanding that, in addressing one problem, we are paradoxically solving another.

“It’s all interconnected. That we are all interconnected. That in tackling the core issue, we solve a multitude of challenges. This applies to education, stigmatisation, and our greatest asset – the environment.”

He was welcomed to the event by Commonwealth Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad, Dr Elvis Eze, a youth ambassador from Nigeria, and Tijani Christian, chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Council, from Jamaica.

In a jovial mood, Harry told Mr Eze and Mr Christian they had “fantastic ties” and was disappointed when One Drum said they would not be there when the event finished.

After his speech, the duke sat with individual groups to hear what they have achieved so far and discuss which issues are important to them in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020. The meeting will be hosted by Rwanda in the city of Kigali.