Young people present proposals to G-8 leaders with UNICEF’s help

7 July 2008

Young people holding their own parallel summit to the current Group of Eight (G-8) meeting in Japan today presented their proposals for global development to the leaders of the world’s most industrialized nations, in an initiative led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Nine young people – eight representing G-8 countries and one from the developing world – met face-to-face with leaders gathered for the annual high-level summit, which is being held in the Japanese mountain resort of Toyako, and presented recommendations revolving around three topics: climate change, poverty and development, and global health.

The nine young people represented 39 participants in the J-8, or “Junior 8,” summit being held this week in Chitose City in Hokkaido, Japan, where they issued a statement called the “Chitose Declaration” after several months of preparatory work.

“The J8 delegates… believe that it is imperative for G8 leaders to listen to the voices of young people,” the Chitose Declaration states. “Together let’s turn young people’s ideas into actions, and not just words.”

The young people’s recommendations include establishing an international organization to evaluate products based on “Green Indexes” such as energy efficiency, waste management, packaging, and product composition, as well as having G-8 leaders sign a declaration prohibiting the provision of aid that is motivated toward political gain rather than the common good.

In addition, they proposed supporting educational programmes on disease prevention, nutrition, sanitation and worldwide sexual education, while preventing governments from restricting access to contraceptives and health education.

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