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Young people meet with G8 Leaders

Recommendations on pressing global issues to be presented

 

TOYAKO, JAPAN, 7 July 2008 – Young people from Group of 8 (G8) industrialized nations and from the developing world are meeting today with the G8 leaders in Toyako, Japan to present their recommendations as part of the Junior 8 (J8) Summit.

 

The J8 Summit, an initiative spear-headed by UNICEF, is an annual parallel event to the Group of 8 (G8) Summit where young people from around the world meet and discuss global issues, sharing their solutions with G8 leaders and the world community.

 

Nine young people – eight representing G8 countries and one from the developing world – will represent the thirty-nine J8 participants and will have the chance to voice their concerns directly to G8 leaders when they meet them face-to-face this evening.  The recommendations, taking the form of the Chitose Declaration, revolve around three topics: climate change, poverty and development, and global health.

 

“The J8 delegates… believe that it is imperative for G8 leaders to listen to the voices of young people,’’ states the Chitose Declaration. “Together let’s turn young people’s ideas into actions, and not just words.”

 

Key recommendations from the declaration include:

  • The establishment of an international organization to evaluate products based on “Green Indexes” such as energy efficiency, waste management, packaging, and product composition.  Approved “green” products are labeled to promote consumer awareness and receive government subsidies to become more competitive price-wise. This will harness the free-market nature of G8 nations to facilitate positive progress.
  • The promotion by G8 leaders of non-political donations by signing a declaration prohibiting tied-aid. Though donor countries would be able to intervene in order to make sure aid is being used most effectively, this declaration would make sure G8 countries donate funds not for their own political gain but rather for the common good. This provides accountability not only toward local governments but to the people in need. We also stress the need to write-off the debts of developing nations.
  • The support by G8 governments of educational schemes including programmes on disease prevention, nutrition, sanitation and worldwide sexual education. Special programmes for women and girls must be included, as well as promoting education for men and boys on gender equality. Governments must not be allowed to restrict people from access to contraceptives and health education. Education must be supported with free access to contraceptives and other necessary materials.
© UNICEF video
Young people at the J8 Summit are utilizing technology to come together and find solutions.

The J8 participants are also supplementing their recommendations with an action plan and steps for follow-up.

J8 2008 Background:

Teams of four young people from each G8 country, as well as one young person from each world region make up the participants of this year’s summit. This year’s developing country delegates hail from Barbados, Cote D’Ivoire, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, and South Africa.  This year’s J8 Summit is being held in Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan from 1-10 July.

 

The young participants have been working in teams for the past few months, and now together in Chitose, to statements and recommendations to take to the G8 leaders today.

 

About J8

Junior 8 (J8) is the young people’s event linked to the G8 Summit and organized by UNICEF.  J8 aims to advance young people’s understanding of global issues and to provide a platform for them to discuss and advocate on these issues with some of the most powerful leaders in the world.

 

About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

 

For more information, arrange interviews with the participants and full copies of the Chitose Declaration, please contact:

 

Japan:  

New York:  Kate Donovan, +1 917 378 2128 kdonovan@unicef.org

Geneva:  Miranda Eeles, +41 22 909 5716 meeles@unicef.org

 

 
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