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UNICEF: J8 meets G8

Junior 8: Climate change targets must be met, teachers’ standards improved

ROME, L’AQUILA, July 9 2009 - Fourteen young people from countries attending the G8 today called on their respective leaders to get tough with countries who don’t meet climate change targets and teachers whose standards slip.
At the meeting, the J8 representatives presented these recommendations and others for the 14 leaders attending the G8.

The young people were chosen by their peers to represent the UNICEF Junior 8 (J8). One young person represented each of the G8 countries and non-G8 countries invited to L’Aquila - Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico and South Africa.   In all there were 54 young delegates aged 14 to 17.

The young people told the leaders they want high quality post- primary education for all children and a safe trip to school.

‘If I could ask the world’s leaders to prioritize one thing to help children, it would be education,” said Sanjukta Pangi, 16. “I had to struggle to go to school. If I hadn’t convinced my father to let me continue going to school I would not be at the J8.”

Leaders were told to invest more in renewable energy and collectively sign a meaningful Copenhagen agreement that emphasizes participation of young people in climate change action.

To help address the issue of development in Africa, they proposed a specific ‘End Poverty Bond’ to underwrite new businesses.
The young people expressed great concern about the impact of the financial crisis on their lives.

‘We did not create this crisis, but it will affect us the most and we resent it. We hope the leaders will listen to what we said and act now,” said Emmanuella Louidsor, 17.

To read more about J8 2009 globally, and read this year’s and previous declarations, please visit:   http://www.j8summit.com/.  The young people meeting the leaders are:

Country Name  Age 
Brazil Mayara Tavares 16
Canada Nigel Wodrich 16
China Li Mengyuan 16
Egypt Amira Shendy 16
France Pauline Bossavie 17
Germany Johanna Elter 17
Italy Camilla Grassi 14
India Sanjukta Pangi 16
Japan Moeko Fuji 16
Mexico Mario Alberto Martinez Fuentes 17
Russia Anzhelika Isaeva 17
South Africa Richmond Sajini 15
United Kingdom Mellika Myers 16
United States Emmanuella Louidsor 17

The Junior 8 Summit aims to make sure the G8 and non-G8 leaders listen to young people’s voices when they make decisions that affect them. The 2009 session has been organized thanks to the collaboration between UNICEF and the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of the Sherpa, the Department of Civil Protection, the Ministry of the Interior and the Departments of the Firefighters, Public Emergencies, Civil Defence and the Minister of Youth, the Ministry of Education and the City of Rome.  The Italian Firefighters have been UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors for over 20 years and will escort the young people during the J8 summit.

Note to journalists: 
B-roll of the youth participants activities during the J8 summit will be prepared and distributed through http://www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef

For additional information and to interview young people, please contact:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media,
Tel + 39 328 6059213 or  +1 917 378 2128
E-mail: kdonovan@unicef.org

Stephen Pattison, UNICEF Media,
Tel + 39 328 6059142
E-mail: stephenp@unicef.org.uk

Elke Holderbeke, UNICEF Media,
Tel + 39 328 604 9534
E-mail: eholderbeke@unicef.org

Italian National Committee press office,
Tel + 39 06 47809 226 or 06 47809 233

Luca Cappelletti, Italian Nat Comm press officer,
Cell + 39 3357275877 
E-mail: press@unicef.org





9 July 2009: UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the J8 Summit culminating in a meeting between 14 young people and leaders of their respective countries at the G8.
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