‘Junior 8’ delegates arrive in Russia for youth summit

© UNICEF Russia/2006/Nybo
The German youth delegation arrives at the airport in St. Petersburg, Russia to attend a 10-day youth summit with other children from G8 countries.

By Thomas Nybo

PUSHKIN, RUSSIA, 7 July 2006 – Sixty-four youth delegates from G8 member countries have gathered here to debate and agree on a set of recommendations to give world leaders, ahead of the upcoming G8 summit in St. Petersburg. 

The children's gathering – known as the 'Junior 8' Youth Forum – officially opens tomorrow. It was convened by the Russian Government in partnership with UNICEF. The youth delegates represent Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russia selected its delegates through a televised competition, while children from the other countries were chosen through a school-based essay contest. Together, they will be spending 10 days producing a communiqué containing their recommendations.

Face-to-face with G8

Seventeen-year-old Tanya Ushakova of Russia is excited to discuss important challenges with other children from around the world. "It will be a unique experience for me to speak about global problems and to try to solve them," she says.

© Junior 8/2006
The ‘Junior 8’ logo created for this year’s youth forum taking place in connection with the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Because this year's J8 is an official part of the G8 summit, it can be attended only by children from G8 member countries. To guarantee that voices from other countries are also heard, children from geographically diverse locations will be linked with the youth summit through video conferencing.

The J8 sessions will focus on the G8 issues: education, HIV/AIDS and energy, as well as violence and extremism. Once the delegates have agreed upon their recommendations, eight of the children will present the final communiqué to the G8 leaders in a face-to-face meeting. This is the first G8 meeting to have formally included in its official agenda an interface between children and G8 leaders.

A platform for children

The aims of the Junior 8 Youth Forum include:

A website featuring formal and informal contributions from the Junior 8 participants, which can be found at juniorg8.com, will be maintained after the meeting and updated throughout the year.

Organizers of the forum hope that the Junior 8 will be an established fixture of all future G8 summits.



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7 July 2006:
UNICEF Adolescent Development Unit Senior Advisor Victor Karunan reports on the start of the Junior 8 Youth Forum in Russia.
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Junior 8 Youth Forum