Having a say in the future

Thu, 07.06.2007
The J8 have called on the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm to tackle the major problems our world is facing. They advocated fair global trade and called on the G8 most specifically to invest in education in Africa.
"Please consider our proposals," said 16-year-old Lisa Marie Ulrich from Germany in her opening statement. "We want to have a say in our future," she added.
The young people had the same two topics at the top of their agenda as the adults: "Growth and responsibility in the global economy" and "Aid for Africa". 64 young people from the G8 countries and 10 from developing countries have been discussing the same issues as the G8 in Wismar since last Sunday. Now the youngsters had the opportunity to discuss their opinions directly with the Heads of State and Government gathered in Heiligendamm.
Overview of J8 meeting in the pavilion in HeiligendammPhoto: REGIERUNGonline / Plambeck Vergrößerung (en) G8 working session in the pavilion with young people from the J8 summit

Fair global trade

In her statement on global trade, Ellen McCoy Smith from the UK focussed on patents law, which was important for creating incentives for innovations, she said. She then took all those sitting at the round table to task, by telling them that patents were often misused. For example, bottlenecks in supplies of medications happened time and again. The J8 also believe that emerging economies and developing countries should be given easier access to new technologies.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was able to give the young delegates a positive example. Japanese companies had developed a patent for an especially effective mosquito net, he said, which they were making available free of charge.

Education for Africa

The G8 Heads of State and Government with the J8 delegates in front of a wicker beach chairPhoto: REGIERUNGonline / Kühler Vergrößerung (en) G8 working session in the pavilion with young people from the J8 summitThe young people were especially interested in the topic of Africa. Isaya Yunge from Tanzania urged the developed countries to invest in education in Africa. That was the crucial point. Only through education would it ultimately also be possible to effectively combat other problems such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
At the end of the meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel assured the J8 delegates that many of the issues they had raised would be addressed in the final document of the G8 Summit.
The G8 and J8 then posed for a photograph together: "So that everyone can clearly see the difference in our ages," the Chancellor said with a smile.
J8 is a joint initiative of UNICEF and the Morgan Stanley Foundation, which is supported by the G8 Presidency. The conference serves as an international forum for the exchange of ideas. Children and young people from the G8 countries and the developing countries are to be given direct access to the most powerful leaders in the world. It also gets young people interested in politics.
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