The Speaker
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 – 22:15

Young leaders call on G7 leaders to make waves for future generations

Young leaders across the G7 have today called on world leaders to better involve young people in decision making, as they announced their 2021 Youth Recommendations.

The recommendations were announced in the Y7 communique at the virtual Youth 7 summit, which is an accumulation of four months of intense efforts between young leaders from each of the G7 countries, as well as those from the EU and Australia.

The Y7, or Youth 7, is one of the six engagement groups of the G7 – alongside the Business 7, Civil Society 7, Women 7, Labour 7 and Science 7. All of the engagement groups serve the purpose of ensuring that the G7 heads of states’ declaration meets the needs of all different parts of society.

The G7 consists of seven countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Union. Each year, the president nation hosts a G7 summit and sets its agenda – in 2021, the President nation is the United Kingdom.

The recommendations from the Y7 have been formed following extensive consultation with young people, including through surveys and focus groups. The points in the communique are focused around ‘Making Waves for Future Generations’. Some of the recommendations being advocated by the Y7 include;

  • Tackle mental health stigma by changing educational curricula
  • Achieve universal connectivity by 2025 on G7 territories and by 2030 worldwide
  • Protect future generations from natural disasters by strengthening global early warning systems through climate stress-testing and knowledge-sharing
  • Incorporate the impact on future generations into budget decisions

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked young leaders for their role in helping the G7 “build a better future”. In a pre-recorded message played at the opening of the summit, Mr Johnson said;

“The Y7 Summit is very important for us in the G7 because we are trying to build a better future, and we can’t do that without the contribution of young people. So thank you for what you’re doing.

“We must formulate policies that are going to ensure people’s happiness, wellbeing, prosperity, for the long-term and the well-being of the planet. Young people very often see things with particular clarity… and it’s fantastic to get their points of view.”

The summit comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, in which young people have faced significant disruption to their education and personal development. 

Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is a member of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) has mentored the international health delegates since their selection to the Y7. Sir Farrar said;

“Covid-19 has disproportionately burdened young people and it is essential that they are heard when it comes to their future. The Y7 is right to ask their leaders to ensure global, equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. Reluctance to share doses with vulnerable countries will only serve to prolong the pandemic further, risking new variants that may overcome current vaccines and treatments.

“G7 leaders also need to wake up to the realities of a changing world. Young people are threatened by the climate emergency, with global heating poised to widen health disparities between the rich and vulnerable.”

The G7 Leaders Summit is set to take place from 11-13 June in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. 

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