Youth20: new generations voicing their ideas

April 29th marked the official launch of this year’s Youth20 (Y20), the G20 youth engagement group, created as a dialogue platform aimed at enabling new generations to voice their ideas and be part of decision-making processes.

The event, which took place virtually, was coordinated, as is the whole Y20 process, by the Young Ambassador Society (YAS), a non-profit association that has been dealing with the youth processes of the G20 and G7 Summits on behalf of Italy since 2011, in coordination with the Sherpa Office of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

In May and June, delegates between 20 and 30 years of age from the G20 Countries will be involved in formulating proposals and recommendations on the most current and urgent global challenges that they feel most strongly about. The themes of the forum, identified through a survey, will be in line with the three pillars of this year’s G20: People, Planet, Prosperity. A wide range of issues is on the table: innovation, digitization and the future of work; sustainability and climate change; social inclusion and equal opportunities. To better respond to such ambitious goals, international knowledge partners will be involved, including FAO, OECD, UNIDO and UNICEF, with whom young people will be able to engage with through a series of workshops and to draw important inputs for their work.

The process will culminate with the Summit to be held from 19 to 23 July in the cities of Milan and Bergamo. At the end of the Summit, the positions of the young delegates will be collected in a final statement and delivered to the G20 Italian Presidency.

During the inception meeting, delegates were welcomed by institutional authorities. After a welcome opening speech by Alberta Pelino, President of YAS and Chair of Y20 Italia 2021, who highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the younger generations, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio said, through a video message, that he recognises that the construction of a sustainable and resilient response to the pandemic cannot ignore the prospects of young people, as it is them who “will have to face most of the consequences of the global challenges we are facing today.” The Minister referred to generational cohesion and inclusion, reduction of the digital divide to facilitate the transition from education to the labour market, and adaptation to climate change: “We have to make a promise to young people as they deserve a future on a less polluted and healthier planet.”

The Minister for Youth Policies Fabiana Dadone highlighted the role of inclusive participation in the European Union strategy for youth. She also explained that “Environmental, social and generational inequalities feed each other and there is no country where high levels of environmental sustainability are not accompanied by high education rates and very effective social policies in favour of the youngest”.

The G20 Sherpa, Ambassador Luigi Mattiolo, underlined the importance of the voice of young people within the G20: “The current situation emphasizes the need for greater inclusion of young people in pandemic policy response. This requires not only that the younger generations be guaranteed a place at the discussion table, but also that they be given the tools to actively contribute to the transformation underway in our society”.

Giorgio Gori and Giuseppe Sala, mayors of Bergamo and Milan respectively, and the President of Assolombarda Alessandro Spada, participated directly from the venue that will host the delegates in July and placed great trust in the citizens of the future: “No one is more courageous and ambitious than the new generations, full of vision and purpose”, said the mayor of Milan, “Their voices must be heard today so that the decisions and commitments of the G20 bear fruit.”

Giorgio Gori highlighted the pivotal role that young people play in defining the priorities of the post-pandemic recovery: “For the first time in many years, young people are setting the agenda. If the world finally seems to be paying serious attention to the fight against climate change, it is thanks to the fact that the new generations have decisively claimed their rights. Almost shouting.”

The future of the planet and of its inhabitants will be the “red thread” of the entire process. This is why four representatives of the G20 Italian Presidencyalso introduced the three macro-areas that will be the pillars of the entire forum: Tommaso Murè, expert from the Sherpa Office for issues relating to work, education, youth empowerment, and gender equality; Agostino Inguscio, expert from the Sherpa Office for Climate Change; Andrea Gumina and Silvia Viceconte, experts from the Sherpa Office for innovation, digitization, and R&D.

The under-30 negotiating table is thus officially open. The final objective of the young delegates will be to formulate concrete and visionary policy proposals, hoping that their gaze on the world will guide the agenda of the Italian Presidency and the Heads of State and Government who will meet in Rome on October 30th and 31st for the final Summit.

For further information visit the Y20 official website. Press g20.org