Youth20 summit

Young people provide impetus for G20 summit

Fair global trade, more climate action and effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – that is what young people from more than 20 nations have called for at the Youth20 summit.

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the meeting with young people from the G20 states Some 70 young people and young adults from the G20 states have drawn up proposals for the G20 Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

They presented their recommendations for the G20 summit in Hamburg to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For five days they have engaged in discussions, met with experts, elaborated solutions, and wrestled with standpoints and wording: the 68 young people from more than 20 nations at the Youth20 summit. They have produced a 36-page paper, which they presented to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Youth Minister Katarina Barley in Berlin.

The paper lays out detailed recommendations for action for leaders on the major issues that will shape our future. How can global trade be made fair, ensuring worldwide compliance with environmental and social standards? How can the Sustainable Development Goals laid out in the 2030 Agenda be effectively implemented? What incentives will encourage states to play a more active part in climate change mitigation?

The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs organised the Youth20 dialogue. It is supported by the IJAB, the International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany. The main points on the agenda were the global economy and trade, employment and digitalisation, climate, energy and the 2030 Agenda, empowering women, addressing the causes of displacement, fighting terrorism and anti-corruption. More information can be found at www.y20-germany.org.

Discussing women’s rights, climate action and digitalisation

Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the intensive work of the young people, "They know that as young people from the G20 states they should provide impetus, like the other civil society groups." The young people’s input has lent new momentum to discussions of the G20 issues, she said, and promised to look closely at the recommendations of the Youth20. She encouraged the young people to speak to their own governments too about their demands.

Lena Simosek, member of the German Youth20 delegation, was delighted by the Chancellor’s recognition. "We don’t expect all G20 leaders to embrace our positions as laid out in the paper. But it is important that we were able to present our recommendations to the Chancellor today. That demonstrates that our opinions are worth something."

In the discussion with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Youth Minister Katarina Barley, the young people called for women’s rights to be strengthened. "Women’s rights are human rights," stressed a participant from Spain. Climate action was another main issue. The youth representatives called for complete compliance with the Paris climate agreement. In this context, Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated a neutral review of international climate targets. Unfortunately, she said, not all countries are willing to accept this. On digitalisation, the young people felt it was important to ensure Internet access for all, irrespective of where people live or their social status.

Major global policy and new friendships

After about one and a half hours the Chancellor bade the Youth20 delegation farewell and thanked them for their commitment. Quite apart from the important input produced for the G20 summit, the Chancellor said she was certain that "a great many new friendships have been forged".

Y20 is one of seven G20 dialogue processes with civil society (along with Civil20, Business20, Women20, Labour20, Science20 and Think20), which the German Government has initiated within the scope of Germany’s G20 Presidency.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017