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Children of Junior 8 gather to share views with G8 world leaders

Russian Federation hosts youth forum as part of G8 summit.

PUSHKIN, 10 July – Young people from G8 countries today opened the “Junior 8” in Pushkin, near St. Petersburg.  With an agenda that parallels the G8 itself, they will have the opportunity to share their views directly with the world’s leaders.

The Junior 8 has brought together more than 60 youths aged 13- 17, representing all G8 countries, to discuss what they think the G8 leaders should do about some of the most serious global issues.

Hosted by the Russian Federation Government, in partnership with UNICEF, the Junior 8 will focus on the key themes of this year’s G8 agenda: Education, Energy Security and HIV/AIDS. The children will also discuss violence and other issues they see as priorities. Their recommendations will be presented to the G8 leadership.

“The decisions that are made this week by the leaders of the G8 will affect the future, and the future is where we will all live the rest of our lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, at the opening of the Junior 8. “In an increasingly global village, as we are drawn closer together both literally and figuratively, these young people represent not just the J8, but all countries around the world.”

 “It is important that the G8 leaders listen to the views of children, because the children will have to live with the decisions those leaders make,” added UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore, attending the launch of Junior 8.

The participants include young people from each of the G8 member countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, UK and USA. The views of children from non-G8 countries, will be included via a series of videoconferences linking the Junior 8 to children from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

The delegates attending the Junior 8 from all countries except Russia were selected through an essay competition organized by the Morgan Stanley International Foundation, with additional children selected by UNICEF. Russian participants won their places through a televised competition.

The young participants will discuss key G8 agenda items including:

Education:

· Nearly 115 million children worldwide are out of school – 54 per cent of them girls;
· Three quarters of the children out of school have mothers who did not go to school themselves.

HIV and AIDS:

· Worldwide, 2.3 million children are living with HIV;
· In 2005, 540,000 children were infected with HIV and 380,000 died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses;
· An estimated 15 million children have lost one or both parents to the disease.

Violence:

· It is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year;
· An estimated 1.8 million children – mostly girls – are sexually exploited in the commercial sex trade each year;
· At any one time, around 250,000 children are being used in armed conflict: to fight, to act as messengers or spies, as porters or used for sex.

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About UNICEF
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 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 media accreditation, go to: http://www.juniorg8.com/main

For more information, please contact:
Oliver Phillips, UNICEF Media, +7 926 272 5455, ophillips@unicef.org
John Brittain, UNICEF Russia, +7 495 937 4812, jbrittain@unicef.org

For more information on Morgan Stanley’s involvement contact:
Andrea Bothamley, (+44) 207 425 4943, email: andrea.bothamley@morganstanley.com


 

 

 

Video

10 July 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the opening session of the Junior 8 Youth Forum near St. Petersburg, Russia.
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