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UNICEF J8 meets G8

2009-07-08

Junior 8: Climate change targets must be met, teachers’ standards improved

TORONTO, July 9 2009 - Fourteen young people from countries attending the G8 today called on their respective leaders to get tough with countries who don’t meet climate change targets and teachers whose standards slip.

At the meeting, the J8 representatives presented these recommendations and others for the 14 leaders attending the G8.

The young people were chosen by their peers to represent the UNICEF Junior 8 (J8). One young person represented each of the G8 countries and non-G8 countries invited to L’Aquila - Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico and South Africa. In all there were 54 young delegates aged 14 to 17.

 The young people told the leaders they want high quality post-primary education for all children and a safe trip to school.

“If I could ask the world’s leaders to prioritize one thing to help children, it would be education,” said Sanjukta Pangi, 16. “I had to struggle to go to school. If I hadn’t convinced my father to let me continue going to school I would not be at the J8.”

Leaders were told to invest more in renewable energy and collectively sign a meaningful Copenhagen agreement that emphasizes participation of young people in climate change action.

To help address the issue of development in Africa, they proposed a specific ‘End Poverty Bond’ to underwrite new businesses.

The young people expressed great concern about the impact of the financial crisis on their lives.

“We did not create this crisis, but it will affect us the most and we resent it. We hope the leaders will listen to what we said and act now,” said Emmanuella Louidsor, 17.

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To read more about J8 2009, please visit www.unicef.ca/junior8summit.

For global updates, please visit: www.j8summit.com.

To read this year’s J8 declaration, please click here.

 The young people meeting the leaders are:
Brazil: Mayara Tavares, 17
Canada: Nigel Wodrich, 16
China: Li Mengyuan, 16
Egypt: Amira Shendy, 16
France: Pauline Bossavie, 17
Germany: Johanna Elter, 17
India : Sanjukta Pangi, 16
Italy: Camilla Grassi, 14
Japan: Moeko Fuji, 16
Mexico: Mario Alberto Martinez Fuentes, 17
Russia: Anzhelka Mikhailovna Asaeva, 17
South Africa: Richmond Sajini, 15
United Kingdom: Mellika Myers, 16
United States: Emmanuella Louidsor, 17

 The Junior 8 Summit aims to make sure the G8 and non-G8 leaders listen to young people’s voices when they make decisions that affect them. The 2009 session has been organized thanks to the collaboration between UNICEF and the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of the Sherpa, the Department of Civil Protection, the Ministry of the Interior and the Departments of the Firefighters, Public Emergencies, Civil Defence and the Minister of Youth, the Ministry of Education and the City of Rome. The Italian Firefighters have been UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors for over 20 years and will escort the young people during the J8 summit.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.