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G8 Leaders Meet Junior 8 Children and listen to their recommendations

UNICEF Russia/2006/Svirid
© UNICEF Russia/2006/Svirid
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with young leaders of the Junior 8 Youth Forum outside St. Petersburg, Russia.

Week of Deliberations, Including Talks with Young People from the Developing World Culminates in Half Hour Meeting with World Leaders. 

ST.PETERBURG, Russian Federation, July 16, 2006: The children of the Junior 8 today met the G8 leaders who heard their views on what they think should be done to make the world a better place for children.

During their meeting with the G8 leaders, eight representatives of the Junior 8 presented their “Address to the Leaders.” Their statement consisted of a call for equal access to free, quality education for all children, immediate actions for children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS, urgent measures to protect the environment and an end to violence and discrimination.

“We would like to live on a clean planet. We want to live in a peaceful world, free from drugs, diseases, and discrimination,” outlined the statement. “We are grateful to have this opportunity to give our views, and we sincerely hope that the leaders of the G8 will consider them for the future.”

The meeting came at the end of a week-long J8 children’s summit, jointly organised by UNICEF and the Russian Government in Pushkin, Russia, which has brought together children from the G8 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, UK and USA. The views of children from some of the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America were included (through video conference), giving a broader perspective on the issues discussed: Education, Infectious diseases, Energy and Violence and Tolerance.

“To find solutions objectively and effectively, we feel that young people of other nations, particularly from developing countries, must take part in future Summits. If we are trying to find solutions for global issues, then we need global views”, the statement read.

The children are now hoping that the J8 leaders will listen to their voices and act on their advice.

The decisions the G8 leaders will take are important particularly because there is so much at stake: 

• Every minute of every day a child becomes infected with HIV.
• 15 million children in the world have lost at least one parent because of AIDS.
• Education is not cost-free in many countries, denying children their right to go to school.
• Nearly 115 million children worldwide are out of school – 54 per cent of them girls.
• 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;

The timing has never been so crucial say the young people: “We pledge that our passion will live on after the Summit and we call upon the youth of the world to join us. We believe in our ability to change the world,” the statement concluded.

The delegates representing the Junior 8 in the meeting with leaders were:
Kristina Abretti (16) from Canada, Xavier Attwell (15) from France, Janusch Krasberg (14) from Germany, Elena Delle Site (17) Italy, Muneo Saito (16) from Japan, Tanya Ushakova (17) from Russia, Sophie Harrison (14) from UK and Diana Perez (16) from USA.


Junior 8, Address to the leaders [Word]

For more information contact:

Gina Dafalia, UNICEF
+ 44 7695 058 058

Oliver Phillips, UNICEF
+ 7-926 272 5455


Junior 8 Summit - St. Petersburg, Russia - 2006
Impressions from the Junior 8 Summit in St. Petersburg where young people met with the leaders of the G8 nations to voice their opinions on the future of the world.
[Photo Essay]





Audios and Videos

July 17, 2006: UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the conclusion of the Junior 8 Youth Forum in Russia and the youth delegates’ meeting with G8 leaders.

July 14: President Putin’s visit to the J8

July 13: UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the ongoing ‘Junior 8’ Youth Forum in Pushkin, near St. Petersburg, Russia.

French youth delegate Xavier Atwell shares his thoughts on the Junior 8 summit.

Italian youth delegate Elena delle Site discusses her experience at the Junior 8 summit.

UK youth delegate James Goodall comments on events at the Junior 8 summit.

7 July: UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on the start of the Junior 8 Youth Forum in Russia.


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