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  • News conference on the G20 youth agenda

Engaging youth is vital for the G20

Ksenia Yudaeva, Chief of the Presidential Experts Directorate and the Russian G20 Sherpa, noted that the key focus of Russia's Presidency of the G20 was cooperation with various social groups, in particular with Youth 20, Business 20, Civil 20 and Labour 20.

"The Y20 is a very important format for developing cooperation with the future generation that is aimed at understanding young people's needs, requirements and interests, their opinions on the issues of the global governance, the issues to be put on the global agenda and ways of resolving them," Ksenia Yudaeva said. "This is a rapidly changing world with significant differences between generations. The older generation lives in an information environment that differs from the environment of the younger generations. We need to develop and maintain ties between these two worlds."

Ms. Yudaeva also mentioned that the dialogue between different generations should be complemented with the dialogue between nations. "Our countries are closely interconnected, but they need to find a common language for sharing ideas. Formats like the Youth 20 allow us to search for solutions at the level of future, rather than current, leaders. It is very important for the global economy and politics that future leaders are given an opportunity to interact with each other, and to find common ground at the earliest possible stage. Besides, our incumbent leaders need to interact with future leaders in order to train their successors."

The Youth 20 recommendations will be forwarded to the incumbent G20 Leaders, so that they could be used to formulate the prospective G20's initiatives, the Russian Sherpa concluded.

Yelena Bocherova, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, noticed that the key goal of the Youth 20 was to develop a harmonic economic and political space. "We want to bring future world leaders together, to show them Russia, to help them become acquainted with each other, and to invite them to formulate their own ideas and proposals," she said. "This will help prepare for the world of future and intensify global competition of ideas."

Ms. Bocherova described participation in the Youth 20 Summit as an opportunity for upward mobility. "The opportunity to participate equally in the development of the new global trends and new paradigms will put young people on a par with the current decision makers," she said.

Roman Chukov, Head of the Y20 Russia 2013 Secretariat, reminded that Russia was the first G20 country to hold an official youth event alongside the G8 Leaders' Meeting in 2006. Its partners took that initiative up during their presidencies of the group in 2007-2010. In 2010, Canada housed the first official G20 youth forum, which convened young student leaders from all across the G20. Mexico also held the Y20 Summit during its Presidency in 2012.

Russia will hold the Y20 Russia 2013 Summit on the sidelines of the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 18-21, 2013. "Summit participants will not only have an opportunity to talk with each other, but will also be able to meet with global economic gurus," Roman Chukov said.

He added that the summit would bring together 106 young leaders, five from each G20 country plus one each from the six invited countries. The Y20 Summit is being organized by Russia's Federal Agency for Youth Affairs jointly with the Russian G20 Sherpa's office, the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum Foundation and the regional youth movement for assisting the Y8 initiatives. The summit will be co-sponsored by the International Diplomatic Engagement Association (IDEA) network, which unites the largest youth organizations from the G20 countries.

The subject of this year's summit is being determined by the participants themselves. "It is an unprecedented example of openness, transparency and democracy where participants are not offered an agenda but are invited to actually formulate it," Mr. Chukov said. "The young leaders will be able to determine four issues for discussion at their summit within the framework of the two broadly outlined issues (on the G20 agenda) -reforms and regulation of the international financial and monetary system, and economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development."

The young leaders who will represent Russia at the Y20 Russia 2013 Summit are being selected in a nationwide competition. The results of the first stage will be announced on March 20. The second stage will be in the form of video conference interviews of the applicants by members of the Y20 Russia 2013 Secretariat. The group of 30 finalists, to be announced on April 2, will be later invited to Moscow, where they will work out the final communiqué jointly with experts. This document will include concrete recommendations for the G20 Leaders on the financial tools and innovative solutions that can ensure sustainable development. After that, five applicants will be chosen for the Russian delegation, though all 30 finalists will be invited to attend the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In conclusion, Ksenia Yudaeva pointed out that the only official G20 youth event this year is the Y20 Russia 2013 Summit in June, and urged youth associations to work within that format and to use all the opportunities offered by this format. "The Y20 Russia 2013 Secretariat is ready to take constructive ideas and proposals into account," the Russian Sherpa said.

The full version of the news conference (in Russian) is available here