It is the first time in over 50 years that a Commonwealth Games event has been held in the Caribbean, the last being in 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica.The Youth Games aims to unite 1000 young athletes aged 14-18 in a Caribbean carnival of impactful competition, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.“It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that the Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation has unanimously voted to award the upcoming edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games to the Bahamas,” said Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE, speaking after announcement of the decision.“The Commonwealth Youth Games are a unique and empowering opportunity to celebrate and engage young people on the level playing field of sport. I congratulate and commend the Bahamas Bid Committee for their passion, commitment and expertise and look forward to helping realise their dream of an impactful and inspiring Games for the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.”The sixth edition of the Games – now just over 500 days away – will take place from 19-23 July 2017 in the capital of The Bahamas, Nassau.The Bahamas is a former host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 1985 and the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in 2015.Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has congratulated the hosts of the next two Commonwealth Youth Games: The Bahamas in 2017 and Northern Ireland in 2021.Describing sport as a powerful catalyst for the empowerment of young people across the Commonwealth, Sharma said he expected each host nation to build on the success of previous Youth Games to inspire young people to participate in sports, stay healthy, and contribute to building an inclusive Commonwealth.Commenting after the announcements of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Sharma said: “The Commonwealth Youth Games are a practical expression of Commonwealth inclusiveness, and a reminder of how sport and physical activity can bring people together and inspire positive social action.”“I was honoured to attend the opening ceremony of the last Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa, in September 2015 and immensely enjoyed meeting the many inspirational young athletes who participated. This international sporting event is growing from strength to strength, and demonstrates a distinctive Commonwealth ethos.”The Secretary-General welcomed the choice of The Bahamas as the host of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, saying: “I congratulate the Government of the Bahamas on its successful bid to host the next Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017. The Bahamas shows exemplary commitment to the development of young people in the Commonwealth, as was seen when the conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers assembled last year. I am confident they will put on a spectacular showcase for sport.”Responding to the announcement of Northern Ireland as host of the 2021 Youth Games, Sharma commented: “I am confident that the people of Northern Ireland will extend a warm welcome to all who participate and attend the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games. This will enable all to experience our continuing Commonwealth commitment to the positive role of young people and the role of sport in bringing communities together.”At a special event at Belfast City Hall , attended by athletes from previous editions of the Commonwealth Games and Youth Games, Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin said: “The Commonwealth Youth Games are an important and inspiring demonstration of the connecting and life-changing power of sport to bring people and different communities together.“As Samoa showed us last year, hosting a special sporting occasion like the Youth Games empowers even the smallest nations to have a profound and distinctive impact – not just on their own young people or their own communities – but on an international scale.”The Commonwealth Games Federation is the organisation responsible for the governance, direction and organisation of the Commonwealth Sports Movement, including the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. The Commonwealth Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General, provides policy advice and technical assistance to member governments to adopt sport as a tool for development and peace. This complements its broader work to support youth development and empowerment.Each Olympic year the Commonwealth Secretariat brings together Ministers responsible for sport for the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting. The next meeting is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.