|Junior 8 Summit participants pose for a group photograph with world leaders at the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy.|
By Thomas Nybo
L'AQUILA, Italy, 9 July 2009 – A select group of 14 young people have met with top leaders at the G8 Summit here yesterday and urged them to act on a set of recommendations aimed at protecting child rights around the world.
The youth delegates were selected by their peers at this week’s ‘Junior 8’ Summit in Rome – also known as the J8 – to present a declaration to the G8 world leaders.
Future leaders speak out
"We, the participants of the Junior 8 Summit 2009 have come together in Rome, Italy, to propose immediate action from our leaders," read the declaration. "We invite them to listen to the young people and take our proposals seriously.
“As young people, we are the leaders of the future, and therefore will be the most affected by your decisions made today. We believe that collaboration between adults and young people is the best way to grant a better future for the upcoming generation."
The J8 Rome Declaration focused on four key areas: children's rights in the context of the global financial crisis; climate change; poverty and development in Africa; and education.
J8 demands action
The youth delegates in L’Aquila, who represented 14 different countries, each had a private discussion with the leader of his or her nation.
At a news conference following the meeting, Moeko Fuji, 16, of Japan spoke about her conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. "What I told my prime minister is that we, the J8 community, address many problems," she said. "It's good to say we need to address these problems, but what we really need is action!"
Nigel Woodrich of Canada, also 16, used his time with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to focus on Africa. "I told him that we need to treat Africa as equal partners on the world stage so that they will be no longer dependent on foreign aid," Nigel said at the news conference.
‘We are all one community’
South African President Jacob Zuma had a lively conversation with J8 participant Richmond Sajini, 15.
"He thanked me that I was able to come here and lift the name of our country high," said Richmond. “I had to explain to him that there are no borders here. We are all one community and we aren’t bound to each other by our countries."
The 14 young people at the G8 meeting were part of a larger group of 54 that spent the week in Rome, assembling their declaration. Participants in this year’s J8 Summit represented Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
9 July 2009: Malinalli Vergara, 15, from Mexico discusses her experience as a participant in the J8 Summit in Italy.
J8 2009 Summit
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