YOUTH7, THE CONTRIBUTION OF YOUTH TO THE G7 AGENDA
The Youth7 (Y7) delegates met in Berlin to finalize their recommendations to the G7 Leaders and handed them over to the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, who holds the current G7 presidency. What is Youth7 and why is youth participation in the G7 important?
Youth7 is the process of engaging civil society and in particular young people in the G7, that, each year, involves a number of engagement groups in order to ensure the active participation of different interest groups in the G7 decision-making process, of which they are an integral part. These initiatives provide a unique and important opportunity to incorporate points of view that would otherwise be excluded from the G7 Leaders discussions. There are seven engagement groups sought by the current German G7 presidency: the one of businesses (Business7), the one of the civil society and, in particular, NGOs (Civil7), the one of trade unions (Labor7), the one of science academies (Science7), that of Think-Tanks (Think7), the one of women (Women7) and the one of the youth (Youth 7).
The Youth7 is composed of four young delegates from each of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, and four partner countries (Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa, and Ukraine) aged between 18 and 30 years old. Since the beginning of the year, the Y7 delegates, led by their track sherpas and co-chairs have been discussing, negotiating and developing a set of concrete recommendations on the topics of Sustainability, Economy, Democracy, Global Health and Youth, Peace and Security, this latter considered an almost indispensable addition in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
As the Italian delegate for Sustainability, I worked with the other 11 delegates on nine recommendations covering issues such as biodiversity protection, climate finance and just energy transition, as well as sustainable mobility, circular economy and climate change adaptation. Among the proposals, “the delegates would like to see a meaningful youth participation in the Climate Club, which will be created by the German presidency ” as highlighted by the Sustainability track sherpa, Felix Kaminski.
The Italian delegates, selected by the Young Ambassadors Society, that works in collaboration with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, collected and identified the priorities of the youth organising a day of consultations with associations active in the country. This event was also attended by representatives of the Sherpa G7/G20 Office of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Ecological Transition. Italian Climate Network also participated in the consultations, raising the importance of updating upward the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) targets by the next COP27 on climate, and the urgency in their implementation, especially in light of what is happening in the war in Ukraine, which should not weaken the climate ambition of the G7 countries.
The work is not over yet. After the delivery of the recommendations to the German Chancellor, the young delegates have been engaging in advocacy actions on multiple levels. For example, the Y7 co-chair Carolina Klaus recently presented the delegates’ proposals to the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers meeting, where she reiterated the importance of ambition in the decisions made at the G7 Summit to ensure a just and sustainable future.