DELEGATION REPORT: 2017 OECD Forum

Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) Public Forum 2017 | Paris, France

Delegation
Adam Camenzuli
Sofiya Kominko
Theresa Yurkewich
Sara Elhawash
Yanish Bhoolaton
Ross Linden-Fraser

Written by Head Delegate: Adam Camenzuli

1. Executive Summary

From June 3-9, 2017, Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) sent five young Canadian delegates to attend the OECD Forum and hold meetings with Canadian and international stakeholders in Paris, France. The OECD Forum was held on June 6 & 7 and the delegation organized and met with over a dozen people/organizations before and after the OECD Forum. The delegation was led by Head Delegate, Adam Camenzuli and delegates included Sofiya Kominko (Communications Coordinator), Theresa Yurkewich, Yanish Bhoolaton, and Ross Linden-Fraser. Sara Elhawash joined the delegation as a representative of YDC.

Each member of the delegation chose his or her own sessions of interest depending on their professional background and career/personal goals. Our delegates come from very different backgrounds, ranging from government to social enterprise to law to the private sector. There were many thought-provoking panels and presentations at the OECD Forum but the Idea Factory stood out as a particular favourite of our delegation. Many of these events included a long waiting list. Accordingly, thanks go to the past YDC delegates who recommended we pre-register for them.

Our delegation organized a series of meetings with many stakeholders, both Canadian and international. We met with our Canadian representation in France including the Embassy as well as the Canadian Delegation to the OECD. We also met with many international organizations, which the team identified as organizations of interest. Although it was a very packed schedule, the team learned a lot from these meetings and we were able to extend our understanding of international policy through asking additional questions.

There were many key successes including meeting the Australian, New Zealand and Polish youth delegations before the OECD Forum itself. This helped to build relationships which carried on throughout the week. We also had a great meeting with the Canadian Embassy in Paris, the Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank and UNESCO. 

 

2. Forum Sessions Attended & Meetings

June 3
Seymour Projects

·      Deep-dive into life/personal motivations
·      Nice introduction for the week

 

June 4
Canadian-organized intro social event

·      Great to meet other delegations to learn more about their YDC-like organizations

 

June 5
Canadian Embassy

·      Met with Ambassador Lawrence Cannon and other high-profile diplomats to learn about Canadian policy/trade in France

·      Questions included the future role of diplomats in the digital age

 

June 5
Canadian Delegation to the OECD

·      Met with lawyer/seasoned diplomat Dénis Langlois and discussed Canada’s role at OECD and future of OECD

·      Discussed possibility of adding more countries and how populism is changing the OECD
 

June 6
Morning Mindfulness

·      Introduction to OECD Forum and what want to learn and experience

·      Opening up each of us to the experience of the OECD Forum

 

June 6
Opening Session

·      Secretary General Angel Gurría discussed anniversary of Marshall Plan and that a minority reaps the benefits of globalization

·      Talked about building “social elevators” to help people benefit more from international trade and globalization


June 6
Idea Factory: Post-Truth World

·      Amazing and interactive take on how to address the issue of “fake news” with a small presentation and break-out sessions

·      Many delegates’ favourite part of the entire OECD Forum
 

June 6
Bridging Divides

·      Discussing the increasing divide in society given globalization and digitization

·      Jobs and government trust were discussed
 

June 6
Beyond Biases: What Does My Headscarf Mean to You?

·      Yassmin Abdel-Magied explained the underlying biases experienced working in construction in Australia

 

June 6
Mobile as a Mechanism to Solve the Refugee Crisis

·      Excellent examples of low-cost technology being used to have major impact (entrepreneurship education in Iraq reaching 1.5 million people)

 

June 6
Inclusive Growth and Globalization

·      Talking about formal “textbook” strategies to reduce inequality

·      Impact of Nordic “Law of Jante” on development

 

June 6
How Screen Technology Is Changing the Way We Think & Feel

·      Brain plasticity allows the brain to change over time

·      Over the span of one's life, different types of technologies may lead to changes of the brain at the neurological level (e.g. video games causing a short attention span)

 

June 6
21st Century Skills

·      Digital literacy is a necessity in a decentralized digital age

·      Equally important are digital problem solving skills–engaging with technology and also using technology to solve issues

 

June 6
The Neuroscience of Consciousness

·      Shelil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, gave a pragmatic approach as to how youth are coping with the changing landscape of traditional jobs
 

June 6
Inclusive Growth & Civil Society

·      This required registration and was limited to several different mini-groups on various topics.

·      Was placed in Rural and Urban divide and we were able to draft notes about each individual’s relationship to the topic and country

·      Also shared some ideas and policies

 

June 6
Wealth into Well-being: How Can We Measure Happiness?

·      Based on the book Life of Hygge by Meik Wiking, he talked about how tax systems in different countries affect the well-being of their citizens

·      We also discussed and compared happiness in the world and the different measurement scales of happiness

 

June 6
Tools for Empowerment

·      A good introduction to the Civic Tech Hub

·      Highly technical presentation of digital tools for policy-makers, though without some of the context that might help some of the traditionally disengaged to truly participate

 

June 6
Integrating Migrants into the Labour Force

·      Less focus here on how to integrate migrants than on how to attract the “right kind” of migrants

·      A bit disappointing, and perhaps a downside of the corporate presence and focus in parts of the Forum

 

June 6
A Fair Share – Universal Basic Income (UBI) et al

·      Here we got a real taste of what it meant to bring in divergent perspectives: a panellist (a socialist academic and proponent of UBI) who claims he never would have been invited to the Forum if populism hadn’t swept the globe

·      Expected a fiery debate, but it turned out pretty much everyone on the panel felt UBI would be useful in some form or another

 

June 6
Educating for Civic Innovation

·      Case study presentation from Sciences Po showcasing their tools for collecting the views of youth and getting students involved in French elections

·      Good to see institutions accepting that voter turnout is a product of more forces than individual choice

 

June 6
Empowering Indigenous Women

·      The panel here was properly interdisciplinary

·      People from the worlds of business, the arts, and government talking about finding tools for indigenous women to speak for themselves

 

June 6
Idea Factory: Me Myself and AI

·      This was a real chance to engage

·      Three hours locked in a room with a small number of people from all walks of expertise, culminating in a long philosophical exercise discussing how to build and manage trust with computers that think for themselves

 

June 7
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

·      Talked about Canada’s role at OECD and experiences that aided her most in her career thus far

 

June 7
MCM Keynote

·      Heard from Secretary General Angel Gurría and Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark about overall goals of Ministerial Council Meeting

 

June 7
Inclusive Entrepreneurship

·      Heard from entrepreneurs working on building products and services for the under-served

·      Focus on impact funds/incubators/accelerators

 

June 7
Anthony Zacharzewski

·      Talked about Democratic Society, a participatory democracy think tank with offices in Brussels and the UK

·      Intersection of government and civil society

 

June 7
Behavioural Economics and Nudging: Fast and Slow

·      Very interesting presentation (university-style) on how people make decisions and how the use of “nudging” people can bring about changes intended by policy

 

June 7
Inequality, Digitalisation & Competition

·      Amazing discussion on digitization of the economy and how to regulate this new economy

·      Discussion around who owns data and how to bring research to market (Denmark as an example)

 

June 7
Responsible Business Conduct

·      Interactive session with Finnish Finance Minister and Dutch Development and Trade Minister and on building good business practices (environmental/social) into policy

 

June 7
Holly Richards

·      Member of the OECD Global Parliamentary Network

·      Discussed internal politics of the OECD and the Better Life Index

 

June 7
Cashless Society and Fintech

·      Looking at Kenya/China for examples of post-cash transactions

·      Discussing whether cash will one day disappear and also debated the trustworthiness of banks/cards

 

June 7
Coding the Law

·      Session covered new technologies from smart data collection software for the agricultural industry to online readers that detect changes made to legal text

 

June 7
Citizen Led Approach to Radical Innovation

·      Mara Balestrini presented Making Sense - a civic technology empowering citizens through personal digital manufacturing, co-designing and deploying environmental sensors

 

June 7
Stocktaking on Globalization

·      Learned that important political winds against finance are due to globalization’s failure to deal with inequality

·      This complexity remains a real challenge for us as policy-makers

 

June 7
Online Engagement for Offline Empowerment

·      A great exchange between tech entrepreneurs, politicians, and OECD officials that gave us some ideas about how tools from the Forum’s Civic Tech Hub might look if put into practice

 

June 7
Ageing Readiness and Competitiveness

·      Panellists from Foreign Policy presented a study about age-friendly policies around the world

·      High marks for Nova Scotia’s emphasis on connecting rural adults with urban communities

 

June 7
Trade and Social Protection

·      The panel at this event seemed to appreciate that the public no longer approves of trade at face value, but their line of thinking (people want social protection, but they don’t want to pay for it) didn’t leave much room for accommodating public concern

 

June 7
Empowering Public Servants

·      Fascinating case studies of cooperation between public servants and tech start-ups, mostly bundled under the theme of accessibility

·      Not much information on how to make these collaborations happen

 

June 7
Better Life Index

·      Discussed the better life index initiative of the OECD

·      It uses social/civic tech to combine old and new messages of public engagement to determine what is important to society today

 

June 7
Forum Closing Session

·      Talked about future of policy and the pace of change with globalization and digitization

 

June 8
Liberté Tech Lab

·      Met with incubator with focus on civic-tech and gov-tech

·      Big focus on intergenerational, inclusive and social impact entrepreneurship

 

June 8
City of Paris

·      Presentation on participatory budgeting and differences in the various districts of Paris and how they work together along with the mayor, Anne Hidalgo

·      Discussed overall budget and initiatives like bicycle ballot boxes and citizen kiosks

 

June 8
Sylvain Giguère, Head of OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED)

·      Canadian working at OECD and discussed push for congruency with taxes across OECD countries and the emphasis on value and jobs

 

June 8
Rolf Alter, OECD Director for Public Governance

·      Amazing interactive discussion going over our personal careers and advice on the “big picture” of the OECD and thought-provoking questions for each of us

·      Definitely one of the best meetings of our trip

 

June 9
UNESCO

·      Met with Frederick (Russ) Russell-Rivoallan, a Canadian working for the Executive Board who gave us the background of UNESCO from his perspective and toured around the building

·      Also met with experts on internet freedom and human rights

 

June 9
World Bank

·      Met with Jakob Kopperud who works at the intersection of the World Bank and OECD and has expertise stretching all around the world

·      Great discussion on policy and interconnectedness of these international organizations

 

June 9
French Foreign Ministry

·      Met with North America and Canada/Quebec department heads

·      Discussed Canada-French cooperation with security, trade, culture and the success of CETA and its Quebec-French origins

 

 

DELEGATION REPORT: 2017 Youth 7 Summit

Executive Summary

The G7 Youth Summit, hosted by the Young Ambassadors Society (YAS) from May 9 - 11th in Rome, Italy, was focused on harnessing innovation to ensure inclusive, open and sustainable growth. As a notably innovation friendly country (“innovation” was mentioned 262 times in the 2017 Federal Budget) the Canadian delegation of the Y7 was a leader in sharing current concepts and best practices for encouraging and supporting innovation ecosystems.

The Final Communiqué was divided into three areas: Production Innovation, Knowledge-Based Capital and Enabling Infrastructure and the Future of Work and of Welfare Systems.

Production Innovation

Enabling a data economy while ensuring the protection and empowerment of individuals
Recommendations were centred around protecting data (cybersecurity), and promoting privacy while working towards developing greater open data infrastructure to facilitate greater data sharing to help advance key sectors. Each day, more and more data is being generated. As a result, opportunities to harness data through tools like machine learning (artificial intelligence) to improve social goods like health care and transportation become closer to reality. In this pursuit, it will be essential to safeguard the individual right to privacy. The Y7 recognized this and recommended an international agreement to individual rights enshrined in the General Data Protection Regulation be discussed in September 2017 at the meeting of the Ministers of Industry.

Achieving sustainable growth in accordance with the Paris Agreement was another focus. Recommendations included increasing fiscal incentives and public financing in technologies that promote renewable energy and a circular economy, as well as supporting developing countries in building technological capabilities locally through sharing environmental technologies. This is aligned with the G7 2017 focus on the continent of Africa as full of opportunity.

Fostering and supporting startup ecosystems and reducing barriers to innovation through encouraging investment and promoting the creation of supporting organizations (such as accelerators and angel networks) was the final focus. Creating an end-to-end digital process for registering and closing new business, as exists in Canada, was highlighted.

Knowledge-Based Capital and Enabling Infrastructures

The growing impact and advances in technology are quickly outpacing education systems across G7 countries. To approach and address these challenges, the Y7 recognized the necessity of: Investing in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Literacy, Promoting emotional intelligence alongside the standard intelligence quotient and Investing in furthering adaptability of current and future generations.

Recommendations included computer science, community projects and work experience as mandatory in national curricula, universities providing STEM training opportunities for the broader public, and funding retraining programmes for workers in declining industries, impacted by the Next Production Revolution.

It is important to note the inclusion of ‘developing technological infrastructure for indigenous communities” in the Final Communiqué, as raising awareness and promoting Indigenous communities this was a core objective of the Canadian Y7 delegation.
 

Future of Work and of Welfare Systems

It is essential for the G7 countries to consider policies to promote inclusive growth as the Next Production Revolution impacts the everyday lives of their populations. The Y7 focused on tackling inequalities by promoting equal access to employment opportunities, championing institutions with diversity in their leadership and expanding the one year working holiday program for youth 18-35 between G7 countries and beyond.

Reform of the welfare state to address rising unemployment, the growing platform economy, increased labour mobility and automation was highlighted. Recommendations include creating employment standards and protections for contract, part-time, and virtual marketplace workers, while allowing individuals to pursue retraining opportunities while receiving unemployment benefits. Another clause urged support for healthy workplaces by increasing access to mental health services. The final recommendation embraced an active labour policy that increases the training of skills and alternative employment opportunities for all unemployed workers, including those displaced by the next production revolution.

Innovative taxation reform was an additional focus of the Y7 recommendations, recognising the changing landscape of work and increased strain on social benefits programs as a result of an aging population. A temporary robotic adjustment tax to fund social benefit programs as well as a new taxation model in accordance with the 2013 European Commission proposal on financial transaction tax were proposed, namely a 0.1 percent levy on the values of financial transactions and 0.01 percent on derivatives. The purpose of this tax is two-fold - obtain much-needed revenue as the population of industrialized countries is aging, while promoting market stability.

Policy Priorities & Recommendations for Canada

The increasing reliance on contract, part time work, and virtual marketplaces as a source of income (particularly for youth) will require federal and provincial governments to adjust the Federal Employment Insurance (EI) benefit eligibility guidelines to cope with short term work and increasing job insecurity.  However, addressing this challenge early on also provides Canada an opportunity to become a world leader in innovation by quickly adjusting to the demands of the market. To accomplish this, we recommend the following:

●      Allow individuals to pursue retraining opportunities while continuing to receive EI without fear of losing their benefits - this is to promote adaptability of and well-being of workers.

●      Offer EI benefits at a relatively high rate, up to 90% for the lowest paid workers

●      Institute an active labour policy that increases training of skills, career guidance, alternative employment, or retraining to all unemployed, modeled after Denmark’s ‘flexicurity model’.

●      Invest in forecasting of industry and labour market trends to anticipate new skills requirements and identify upcoming skill shortages. This data will be to quickly adjust to the demands of the market and properly support skills training/retraining to disrupted Canadians.

●      Eliminate the one-week Federal EI waiting period for contract workers and update the EI benefits webpage - the current design is overcomplicated and is a barrier for marginalized groups with low computer literacy.

In Canada, visible minorities, indigenous peoples, and women face discrimination when seeking work. As a result, we recommend policy incentives to tackle inequalities by promoting blind application processes and to recognize those in the private sector with diversity in their leadership.

Canada has an increasingly ageing population, placing a greater strain on social benefits programs, pension schemes, and health care costs among others. As a result, we recommend innovating taxation schemes to adjust to these changes by:

●      Taking actions against tax evasion by companies and individuals by requiring greater transparency of tax planning arrangements and increasing the frequency of tax audits

●      Introducing a 0.1 percent levy on the values of financial transactions and 0.01 percent on derivatives. This will generate much-needed revenue while decreasing speculation in the financial sector and henceforth increasing stability. We recommend developing a joint strategy with other G7 counterparts as proposed at the 2011 G20 Summit.

In order to maintain Canada’s competitiveness, and to promote inclusive and accessible for all educational models, particularly for women, minorities, and indigenous peoples - we recommend the following:

●      Promoting STEM literacy

○      In alignment with the $50 million to support initiatives of developing digital skills of students, we recommend that the Federal government work with the Provinces to establish computer science and programming as part of their curricula.

○      To further the $221 million pledged in Budget 2017 by the Federal Government to provide relevant STEM working experience to students, instigate a graduation requirement of work experience (industry agnostic) for secondary students.

●      Prioritize soft skills and enhance personalized education

●      We urge investment to increase collaboration between Indigenous communities and other communities across Canada to stimulate innovation, address gaps in infrastructure and digital literacy. We applaud the CRTC’s announcement to allocate $750 million for broadband access Internet service as a basic telecommunications service.

Canada stands to benefit from the next production revolution by supporting the data economy. At the same time, we urge the government to consider the need to empower individuals, advance sustainable growth, and promote a dynamic and inter-connected start-up ecosystem by:

●      Encouraging the development of open data infrastructures and database standards in key sectors, such as energy, environment, health, and transportation. At the same time, enhance business transparency through the disclosure of how personal data is shared.

●      Accelerate the development of artificial intelligence and include ethical considerations of artificial intelligence’ datasets.

○      Given Canada’s leadership in advancing Artificial Intelligence (specifically through research hubs in Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton) we have the opportunity to be global leaders in developing guidelines for ‘AI Safety’. To further the $125M investment into the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, we recommend collaboration of government policy makers and leaders of the respective nationalinstitutes (MILA, Vector, amii) with corresponding international groups.

Sustainability is a key pillar of the G7 Youth Summit recommendations, we recommend that the Canadian government continue its commitment to the Paris 2016 agreement via:

●      Increasing fiscal incentives and public financing for technologies and business models that promote renewable, clean energy, public transportation and a circular economy.

●      Supporting developing countries in building their own capabilities, tapping into local talent and supporting local entrepreneurs through the sharing of environmental technologies.

Innovation stems from ideas that are often times not part of the current paradigm, as a result we recommend facilitating dynamic start-up ecosystems to reduce barriers to innovation via:

●      Encouraging public and private sector investment in start-ups, particularly those addressing sustainability issues via start-up loans, tax incentives, innovation grants and incubators or other accelerators in collaboration with other G7 countries.

●      Continuing Health Canada’s agenda to develop regulatory systems to respond quickly to emerging technologies in the healthcare sector. We recognize the need to formulate effective oversight of products resulting from emerging technologies.

●      Urging the Federal government to work with the Provinces to develop Preventative Healthcare strategies, and look to adopt and implement technological advances (such as machine learning) dynamically. This would improve quality of life and potentially reduce healthcare costs in the long term for chronic illnesses.

Risk mitigation policies are a key part of our recommendations. Ranging from preventative healthcare, to taxation schemes that promote market stability, to developing forecasting models for upcoming skill shortages - we believe in evidence-based research as a driver for policy making.

The Canadian G7 Youth (Y7) delegation would be pleased to discuss these recommendations in further detail with members of all levels of government, the private sector, and advocacy organizations. The challenges our generation face are unprecedented, but with challenges comes opportunity, and following the Y7 summit we are more hopeful than ever that the solutions to our common challenges are within easy reach.

What we need now is political will, and a commitment to work together.

DELEGATION REPORT: 2017 WB-IMF Spring Meetings

Executive Summary

The Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) delegation to the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings represented the voices of Canadian youth in international, cross-sector discussions on the greatest challenges facing the global economy and the most promising opportunities to end poverty and promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

The delegation participated in sessions hosted by the WB and IMF, as well as the Civil Society Policy Forum organized in conjunction with the Spring Meetings to allow a diversity of perspectives to be shared. The delegation also had a robust private program focused on the Spring Meetings agenda as well as the bilateral relationship between Canada and the United States (US). These two strains were highly intertwined, with these being the first Spring Meetings to occur since the new US administration was sworn in. The YDC delegation witnessed first-hand Canada’s strong engagement and leadership in the WB and IMF, led by the Minister of Finance, William Morneau, and Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau. Both Ministers held bilateral meetings with the YDC delegation, providing an opportunity for YDC to discuss with the highest levels of the Government of Canada the priorities of Canadian youth with regard to global governance, economic growth, official development assistance, humanitarian relief, and other issues.

To gain insight into the vitality of the Canada-US bilateral relationship, the YDC delegation met with a range of key actors from within and outside government, including the Embassy of Canada in Washington (Denis Stevens, Deputy Head of Mission), the State Department (Office of Canadian Affairs), leading centres of expertise (Canada Institute at the Wilson Centre and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies), and other experts (Adrian Morrow, Washington correspondent for the Globe and Mail).

To complement participation in the Spring Meetings, the delegation also arranged private meetings with Canada’s representatives to the WB and IMF, as well as thought leaders and key actors in international development. These included Mahmoud Mohieldin, the World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, who encouraged YDC to engage with the WB and particularly the “Ideas for Action” competition.  The delegation also met John McArthur at the Brookings Institution, who offered insights on Canada’s opportunity to demonstrate global leadership on emerging issues, such as skills and the future of work. Finally, the delegation visited the UN Foundation and met the leaders of several initiatives aimed at empowering girls and utilizing digital tools for global impact. The delegation also played a leadership role in convening other youth delegates at the Spring Meetings and organized an informal gathering for delegates from countries such as France and Brazil.

YDC was privileged to send a representative to the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition’s Second High Level Assembly, which mobilized governments, leading corporations, and environmental experts and civil society to advance carbon pricing policies that drive clean innovation. The Assembly marked the start of Canada’s term as Co-Chair of the Coalition.

Key Forum Sessions Attended

World Bank Spring Meetings


April 19
Chief Economists Roundtable: The Road to 2030

In this session several Chief Economists within the WB reflected on challenges and solutions in international development, with a particular emphasis on investing in human capital and addressing infrastructure gaps. The discussion was highly pragmatic, focusing on the need to clarify desired outcomes before identifying financing targets, and the importance of making the most efficient use of public funds. As Paul Romer, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the WB put it, referencing an old trope, “everyone wants growth, but no one wants change.” The discussion highlighted the need to examine outcomes in terms of variance, not just in terms of mean, with a view to ensuring support for the poorest and most vulnerable.

April 20
Generation Now: How Investing in Adolescents Today Can Change the World of Tomorrow

This session provided a platform for unparalleled global influencers - including Melinda Gates, Marie-Claude Bibeau and Jim Yong Kim - to highlight how integrated and high-impact investments in adolescents are a force multiplier, accelerating progress across a range of development areas, namely health, nutrition, education, skills and social protection. These investments can transform life expectancy and opportunities for young people living in poverty, thus improving country-level opportunities for inclusive, sustainable growth and resilience.

This is an urgent issue - ninety percent of today’s 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide live in the developing world, and frustrated aspirations due to stagnated growth can lead to extremism and migration. Disarming adolescents in conflict areas is a critical, yet often overlooked, approach to investing. The panel also highlighted the importance of prioritizing adolescent girls. This includes not just targeting policies that impact girls, but also improving the quality and quantity of data informing investments. All panelists echoed the importance of including communities in the conversation about their needs and strategies to fulfill them.

Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) Second Annual High Level Assembly

Adam attended the CPLC High Level Assembly -- aimed at catalyzing wider adoption of carbon pricing policies -- and was among the only youth delegates at the meeting, which brought together governments (including many Prime Ministers and Ministers of Finance from developing and developed countries), leading corporations (Royal DSM, co-chair, as well asBNP Paribas, HSBC Holdings, Lafarge Holcim, pension funds, and more), thought leaders (Christiana Figueres, who spearheaded the Paris Agreement on climate change, and Lord Nicholas Stern), and key non-governmental actors (Children’s Investment Fund Foundation). Canada began its term as co-chair of the CPLC, and MP Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, co-chaired the Assembly on the Minister’s behalf.

The eclectic list of participants was remarkably aligned on the value of carbon pricing in creating the conditions for accelerated clean innovation to address climate change. However, those in the room were well aware that the number of large jurisdictions with carbon pricing systems in place is still quite small, and Canada, having announced last year a national approach to carbon pricing, stood out. Colombia highlighted its adoption of a (relatively low) carbon price, with tax revenues earmarked for investments in environmental restoration, with a particular focus on repairing environmental damage resulting from the protracted armed conflict in that country. The Executive Deputy Comptroller of New York City offered a valuable perspective on leveraging massive pension funds to bolster green investment. The Children’s Investment Fund’s intervention challenged the Coalition to more forcefully resist opposition to carbon pricing and to guide emissions-intensive industries on a path to deep decarbonization by recycling revenues amassed from carbon pricing schemes. Adam connected with the leader of the youth-led “Put a Price on It” campaign in the US and will be following up to discuss the campaign in further detail.

Implementing the 2030 Agenda: From Commitment to Action

This particular session objective was to reinforce the critical role of the World Bank Group as a leader in the implementation of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Mahmoud Mohieldin, WBG Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, acted as the moderator and four other disguised panelists were invited to share their experience on how they have been implementing the Agenda in their home countries. 

Following the adoption of the Agenda 2030, global development has entered a new stage. As the title refers to “Commitment to Action”, commitments have been taken during a series of international forums including important summits in 2015: Finance for Development Summit, the United Nations Sustainable Goals Summit and COP21. After a year of implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, global development has been able to reach a larger extent and hopefully a greater impact with time. However, now it is time to measure the first results in order to monitor the completion of 2030 Agenda.  Therefore, the WBG has published the report entitled “The Role of the World Bank in the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” and a second report was launched during this same session. The “Atlas on the Sustainable Goals” report serves as the first publication offering the WBG’s perspective on the world’s progress towards each goal. These two reports were referred to by the different speakers throughout the event.

In conclusion, the distinguished panelists came to a common consensus on the actions the WBG must take in order to implement the 2030 Agenda. First they affirmed that the WBG needs to expand funding in fragile and conflict affected states for both public and private sectors. Second, they must enhance support to low and middle-income countries, and further integrate global public goods into business model. In other words, the WBG needs to scale up its financing mobilization efforts, again from both public and private sources. Thirdly, the WBG must expand partner funding sources and help countries to better use their resources, including restricting illicit financial flows.

Furthermore, Mahmoud Mohieldin confirmed that the next major meeting regarding this global initiative will take place during second UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York. In July 2017, 43 countries will meet and discuss the overarching theme of “Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World”.

April 21
Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Middle Income Countries

This was a highly engaging session aimed taking stock of the Global Concessional Financing Facility (CFF), the World Bank’s most significant effort thus far to support middle-income countries hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees, primarily Lebanon and Jordan. Refugee crises represent major economic and social shocks and incur significant costs to host countries who are providing a global public good. Middle-income countries do not have access to multilateral development financing at the same levels of concessionality as lower-income countries, and most host countries do not deem it feasible to take on additional debt or use scarce development resources for non-nationals. The CFF provides development support on concessional terms to middle income countries impacted by refugee crises.

This session offered perspectives from the CFF beneficiaries -- Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and Lebanon’s Deputy Prime Minister -- as well as major donor governments (Canada, represented by Minister Bibeau, as well as the United Kingdom Sweden, and Netherlands) as well as key leaders from the United Nations and WB, most notably the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. There was a clear consensus that the CFF has proven effective in lowering the cost of borrowing to help host countries invest in infrastructure and in meeting the needs of their populations. Jordan emphasized the importance of utilizing refugees’ economic potential and highlighted progress in providing legal work permits to refugees. Lebanon warned that the country could face “social collapse” if the population’s discontent is not addressed and if critical systems are further strained, notably the health care system which currently has rejection rates as high as 40% for intensive care and pediatric care. Lebanon has a $10 billion infrastructure plan and is requesting assistance in the form of grants. Donor governments reflected on the need to strengthen the WB’s capacity to support refugee-hosting countries. Minister Bibeau highlighted the need for significant psychosocial support for refugees. The Netherlands suggested that in addition to mechanisms like the CFF, it is important to support refugee-hosting countries by increasing trade and investment (e.g. removing barriers for Jordanian products to enter the European Union market). This session demonstrated that innovative financing mechanisms can yield significant benefits for the countries most dramatically impacted by the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. 

International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings

One of the most topical set of sessions at the IMF Spring Meetings were those focusing on how innovation affects the economy and people’s lives, and how to adapt to change. Two specific sessions within this category stood out - 1) Walter Isaacson, the head of the Aspen Institute, in conversation with Christine Lagarde (April 19th), and 2) Steven Mnuchin, the US Secretary of the Treasury, in conversation with Christine Lagarde (April 22nd). In both sessions, the speakers acknowledged that technology is the driver of economic growth, both for individual country economies, as well as for the global economy. Mnuchin focused on domestic growth, making the case that sustained growth of the US economy is good for global growth (ie. all boats rise in high tide). Mnuchin recognized that there are winners and losers in global trade, but stopped short of recognizing that the same applies to technological progress. In contrast, Isaacson tackled the nuances of global inequality as a result of automation. Isaacson’s perspective was that global governance institutions have a critical role to play in suggesting regulation to tackle income inequality, while Mnuchin’s perspective was that the global landscape, and the US particularly, has swung too far in favour of restrictive regulation, which has hurt businesses and caused a period of low growth.

Although the contrast between the two sessions was fascinating, Isaacson gave more a substantial examination of the state of AI, it’s impact on the world to date, and how to manage impacts to maximize opportunity while reducing harm. Isaacson predicted that healthcare, education, and finance are the three industries most ripe for disruption. His advice for young people was not to learn one narrow vertical, and to ensure that they were well-versed in critical and creative thinking. In short, arguing for STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) rather than STEM. Canada’s political leaders have echoed these comments, understanding both that skills training is crucial to support workers in fields that will be automated in the near-term, and that maintaining a blended focus on technology and humanities best positions students for the jobs of the future that will be created due to AI advances.

April 19
FinTech and the Transformation of Financial Services

FinTech and its emerging technologies were on everyone’s lips at the Springs Meetings. As technological advances are transforming the capital markets environment, from payments systems to robot financial advising, large financial institutions must become resilient and develop corporate agility to cope with the upcoming challenges.

Canada was represented on the panel with Mrs Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. As a central banker, Mrs. Wilkins expressed her concerns about the impacts of blockchain technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence on financial stability. FinTech will inevitably change the structure of the capital markets but it will also have benefits for the once excluded and unbanked segments of the economy both in developed and emerging countries. In developing countries, Kenya for instance, the mobile payments system M-Pesa has reduced the gap between skilled and unskilled households’ access to financial services. However, these shadow banking institutions are hard to monitor for central banks as their role is to legislate policies and ensure financial stability in the banking sector. FinTech can help eradicate extreme poverty through financial inclusion, reduce the risks of instability caused by wealth inequalities and in the long term boost prosperity and inclusive growth.

The key message from the panelists was that technological advances, or creative destruction, have always been an integral part of capitalism. Banks, or at least the early adopters, will need to develop partnerships with FinTech providers if they want to enhance the efficiency of their financial technologies and survive in an increasingly competitive landscape.

April 21
Closing Gender Gap in Finance

Organized by the Toronto Centre for Global Leadership in Financial Supervision, this high level session aimed to highlight the importance of gender equality and women’s economic participation in order to ensure economic development and achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. These two principles are actually key drivers to eliminate the gaps in women’s access to and use of financial services that still persists in many countries. The session was primarily addressed to financial sector regulators, supervisors from central and affiliated organizations, official from international development agencies, as well as the board and staff of the WB and IMF. The panelists discussed how to close the gender gap in finance by first acknowledging that a gap in usage of financial services by women relative to men still persists. They also agreed that there is even larger gender gap in management of financial institutions. Then, they discussed the most effective policies and practices in order to increase access and usage by women. They agreed that this policy need to be local specific, adapted to a community or region’s needs. Furthermore, data collection and analysis especially regarding usage is essential to critically assess efforts. Finally, they affirmed that the promotion of women’s participation on boards and senior management teams of financial institution and financial supervision agencies is essential to expand perspectives at the top of an organization. Studies have proved that that companies with women directors deal more effectively with risk. Not only do they better address the concerns of customers, employees, shareholders, and the local community, but also, they tend to focus on long-term priorities. Female directors also serve as role models, and therefore, improve female employees’ performance and boost companies’ images. Finally, the promotion of financial boards with a broader composition represents the key milestone in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Canadian Ministers Bill Morneau and Marie-Claude Bibeau participated as guest speakers to this event and shared their remarks on this topic.   

Civil Society Policy Forum

April 19
How Civil Society can Engage and Activate a Youth Role in the Accomplishment of the Agenda 2030, by Taking Action and Keeping Government Accountable

This seminar aimed to provide a platform for youth who are leading efforts to engage millennials and influence governments in advancing progress towards Agenda 2030. The session was moderated by Youth representatives of AISEC.

Youth represents today, our demographic group has never been so large in human history. Therefore, AISEC representatives explained that investing in Youth represents an enormous opportunity to enhance development. Different guest speakers elaborated on their own experience and the establishment of simple frameworks allowing organizations from different sectors to identify entry-points in working with youth around the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The session included panelists: Juan Pablo López, Housing and Urban Development Division- Urban Youth Chief Project, Inter-American Development Bank, Wilson Frota Dias de Carvalho, Senior Knowledge Management Officer, Latin America and Caribbean Region – The World Bank Group, Franklin Morales, Founder, Indigo Youth Leadership Community, Anna Molero, Senior Director of Government and Multilateral Partnerships, Teach for All.

Building Community Resilience to Natural Resource Conflict

Natural resources often prove to be flashpoint for corruption and violence, even though they have the power to improve the lives in fragile and conflict-affected countries through investments, jobs and international attention. Representatives from American University, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and Search for Common Ground discussed ways donors and government can work together with community based organization and civil society to manage natural resource competition. Three quarters of the most vulnerable population live in either poor areas or in natural resources dependent area. To this effect, panelist urged governments, NGOs and Civil society members to take action and improve collaboration as much as cooperation to prevent any natural resource conflict and address fragility issues around the globe.

April 21
The World Bank in an Age of Populism: What does the rise of populist governments mean for the World Bank and its relationship with Civil Society?

A conversation with Ray Offenheiser, the President ofOxfam America, Masood Ahmed, the President of Center for Global Development, Alex Thier, the Executive Director ofOverseas Development Institute and Shawn Donnan, the World Trade Editor of the Financial Times as well as Caroline Anstey the former managing Director of the World Bank focused on the loss of trust in government, the sense of a rising menace and the concentration of wealth that feed today’s populism movement while lowering the citizens’ expectations. As they explained how globalization 3.0 is the movement of people, the panelist also explore the issues underlying in this new globalization and the lack of preparedness to the rising inequalities and disparities. Simultaneously, they explained clearly that the rising expectations of living conditions by showing that everyone can witness a neighbor with a “better life” and hope to achieve it one day. This rise of expectations about life paired with the inability of governments to actually fulfil it cause the drive in populism witnessed around the globe.

The experts also exchanged ideas about the state of the social contract nowadays and how working hard does not mean being better off anymore. They raised the question of how countries will be able to deal with the changes to come and how they can face the politics of envy and need currently experienced. To answer those questions, the panelist put a strong emphasis on starting a conversation now about the globalization 3.0 issues at the risk of putting breaks to the movement itself if it is not done. Basically, the way we approach inclusion needs to be updated to face the rising threat of populist governments.

 

 

DELEGATION REPORT : 2016 WB-IMF Annual Meetings

World Bank - International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings 2016 | Washington, DC (October 7-9 2016)

Written by Head Delegate: Cerina Lee

Executive Summary

From October 3-9, 2016, five Canadian Youth delegates attended the IMF/WB Annual Meetings in Washington, DC - led by Head Delegate, Cerina Lee. Delegates Cerina Lee, Isabelle Duchaine (Communications Coordinator) and Nicholas Schiavo attended the meetings from October 2, 2016, then were joined by Daniel Sorek on October 5, 2016 and finally, Andrej Litvinjenko on October 6, 2016. As only three delegates were present for the first few days of the meetings, our team strived to cover as much ground as possible in the numerous sessions that were provided by the Civil Society Forum, IMF and the World Bank.

Delegates were asked to choose their own sessions of interest, depending on their academic and work experience background. Since all of our delegates came from different backgrounds, this was great for covering different panels and sessions that could draw out the academic/work experience strengths of each delegate. The panels attended were also dependent on which advocacy briefs had been assigned prior to the Meetings - each delegate were assigned minimum 2 advocacy/meeting briefs to prepare in advance. Although the Civil Society Forum panel sessions were helpful in delving into specific issues, the Flagship panels were decided to be the most informative for the delegates (and were also attended by large numbers of participants and high-level stakeholders).

Concurrently, our team had a series of external scheduled meetings with influential leaders and high-level stakeholders throughout the week. Our team had to be flexible and adaptable with our schedule as some of these meetings overlapped with the panel sessions that we had originally intended on attending. This made it challenging to connect our prepared advocacy briefs to the actual session as we could not attend the panel. However, the stakeholder meetings were extremely informative, helpful and engaging as it was an opportunity for our delegates to ask questions, connect with influential government leaders and learn about international advocacy.

Key successes of the Meetings included meeting new delegates (Australia), connecting with high-level stakeholders, successfully discussing key issues in policy, and building rapport with them. Some challenges included miscommunication of Meeting dates, challenges in getting the team delegation altogether, and also some clarity in the expectations of delegates (which sessions must be mandatory to attend versus optional). 

Key Forum Session Attended
 

Meeting with Canadian advisors working in the Executive Director’s office
Q&A session

Tina Gaddy - Associate Director of Employer Relations and Programming at George Washington University

      Opportunities at GWU on higher education for International Affairs
      What employers look for in applicants
      Job hunting & recruiters

The Trillion Dollar Challenge: A New Business Model to Finance the SDGs (New America)

            ●      Exploring the role of private finance in boosting growth and development

Innovation and Livelihood Opportunities for Refugees

      Delegate asked if Canada’s “private sponsorship model” for refugees is viable at a global level.

Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Nutrition: How Civil Society Can Take Action and Keep Governments Accountable

      Make severe acute malnutrition a political and public health priority
      Develop effective ways to prevent acute malnutrition
      Mobilize more funding towards prevention

Meeting with Ambassador Jennifer Loten Permanent Mission
Q&A session

Meeting with Economic Counsellor Hussein Hirji Canadian Embassy
Q&A session

From Billions to Trillions: Combining Commercial Capital with Development Needs

Making Infrastructure Rewarding

      Use of productivity enhancing infrastructure within Canada / Liberal government investments hailed as important model for other states

Fiscal Policy in the New Normal

      Other governments urged to follow Canada’s model of increased spending, given existing levels of ‘fiscal space’

The Governance Gap: Why Does Half the World Distrust Government and What Can We Do About It?

      Making public policy and decision making processes more transparent by engaging civil society.

CNN Debate on the Global Economy

      Delegate asked: What previous time in history are you basing your forecasts off when supporting increased infrastructure investment and what are the risks to such a plan? Furthermore, what are tangible steps that can be taken to increase innovation?

Equity, Inclusion and Education: Examining Evidence on Low-Fee Private Schools

      Develop national plans to finance provide universal access to free, quality, public education
      Strengthen governance and equity
      Further pursuit of privatisation will undermine credible alternative of public funding

Adaptive Learning in Practice: What Are we Learning?

      CSO effectively reform how education is reformed and financed
      Ensure quality education for all citizens.
      Education is one of strongest tools for reducing inequality

Borrow without Sorrow: Managing Debt in a Volatile Global Economy

      Emerging market economies highlighted the importance of maintaining high credit ratings to support fiscal and development goals
      Managing debt denominated in USD is made easier by having deep capital markets and a strong investor base
      Economies should be aware that China’s role as a trading partner has historically made fiscal policy sustainable and countries should diversify their exposure

Asia in the Evolving International Monetary System

      China and Asia are no longer just “actors” in the international monetary system - they are leaders.
      States and institutions need to become more flexible to working within the Asian context.

Great Expectations: The Test of Multilateralism

      Can multilateralism (and free trade) work within the Trump-Brexit climate of isolationism? Yes - but there must be more inclusive policies and institutions must keep pace with modernization.

Inequality: Managing the Impact of Globalization and Technology

      Overall globalization has had tremendous benefits for the world’s poorest but has also had an impact on middle class wages and quality of life within developed states.
      It's about redistribution of wealth, not protectionism.

Overcoming Fragility: Why Jobs Are Key

      Without job creation, developing states cannot hope to pursue economic growth.
      Agriculture sector proving to be a strong source of sustainable job creation.

Government bonds and responsible finance

      Are sovereign bonds a prudent liquidity tool for Sub-Saharan economies (particularly commodity exporters)
      How can sovereign bonds be better regulated?

New Methods for a New Century: Planning for Energy Security and Energy Access in the Modern Era

      Misleading panel description - dealt exclusively with energy security/access issues on micro-scale
      Discussion of various projects around the world to help local communities develop practical energy security/access strategies and infrastructure

Toward A More Integrated East Asia - Economic Corridors and Infrastructure Connectivity

      Building infrastructure insufficient to ensure growth, must also ensure the infrastructure is efficient, ex: you could build more customs toll booths at the border to reduce wait times on goods but you can also streamline and improve regulations to make the existing process quicker

The Shifting Global Economic and Political Landscape: Intersection or Fragmentation?

      Delegate asked question on definition of “elites”

Financial Inclusion Not Exclusion: Managing De-Risking (WBG)

      Private sector success and progress toward Universal Financial Access
      Inclusivity continues to be a financial challenge

Accelerating Action on Universal Health Coverage: How to Increase Public Financing and End Out of Pocket Spending

      All developing countries can afford to increase their spending on health by making different policy decisions
      Decisions on tax and spending are vital

Trade: An Engine of Growth for All

      Featured Canadian Minister of of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland

Meeting with Minister Bibeau

      International advocacy experiences
      Importance of being engaged domestically and internationally
      The meaning of being a young diplomat

One on One with Christine Lagarde: Michael Lewis

      Frank discussion on whether the 2008 financial crisis had changed culture in financial institutions (public and private)


 

DELEGATION REPORT: 2016 Youth 20 Summit

Y20 2016 | Beijing & Shanghai, China (24 – 30 July, 2016)

After crafting a G20-relevant policy platform representative of the interests of Canadian youth…

Once the Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) nominated us to represent Canada at the Youth 20 (Y20) Summit, we:

  • Leveraged our collective experience in the wide-variety of sectors to create an initial policy platform.
  • Engaged with over two dozen NGOs, representatives, think tanks and policy experts to develop a youth-orientated policy document.

Organizations included:

  • Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
  • Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
  • Generation Squeeze
  • Startup Canada
  • The Asia-Pacific Foundation
  • Centre for International Governance Innovation

…we negotiated with youth delegations from other G20 members to create a joint, Y20 communiqué.

Prior to engaging in nearly 3 months of online negotiations, all Y20 delegates collectively selected 5 themes for the Y20 Summit:

  1. Poverty Elimination & Joint Development
  2. Entrepreneurship & Creative Thinking
  3. Social Justice & Equal Opportunities
  4. Green Life & Sustainability
  5. Partnership & Global Governance

For a week in Beijing and Shanghai, over 102 delegates from 26 countries and organizations met and negotiated a 5-page communiqué on a consensus basis.

We also met with the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China (Mr. Li Yuanchao) and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

POLICY PRIORITIES

Our Policy Priorities: Four key policies for the Canadian Government to advocate for in the inclusion of the G20 communiqué.

1. Ensure equitable access to quality education (primary, secondary and tertiary) taking into account demands of an ever-changing job market

a. PRINCIPLE:
I. Regardless of gender, income levels, socioeconomic status and jurisdiction, children and youth should all have equitable access to a free, quality education and decent jobs.

b. CONCERNS:
I. Reducing inequality and ensuring equal opportunity is a preeminent issue facing youth in the G20 countries.
II. Underprivileged children and youth are often the victim of gaps in government services and funding.
III. Within Canada, this is a particular issue for aboriginal children and youth within the Aboriginal and First Nations communities as well as minority groups.

c. RECOMMENDATIONS:
I. Increase the accessibility of tertiary education for vulnerable and underrepresented groups by providing further amounts of non-repayable grants and having targeted recruitment campaigns to these communities.
II. Regulate the creation of decent work and sustainable jobs aligned with international labour standards, ensuring that these jobs are accessible to all youth, free of discrimination.


2. Remove barriers for entrepreneurs to finance their start-ups by permitting equity crowdfunding

a. PRINCIPLE:
I. Governments should increase access to financing and support for young entrepreneurs.

b. CONCERNS:
I. Financing a start-up continues to be one of the biggest challenges young entrepreneurs face. While governments of the G20 states have worked to ease the barriers for young entrepreneurs, many policy issues continue to present significant barriers.
II. For instance, stringent investor requirements, such as accredited investor regulations, result in a small percentage of the population – that are high-income individuals with an investment experience – being legally capable of investing in most startups.
III. This makes it difficult for start-ups to take advantage of increasingly high-in-demand and accessible crowdfunding platforms to fundraise and issue securities.

c. RECOMMENDATION:
I. Make it easier for young entrepreneurs to access financial support for their start-ups by reforming securities regulations to permit equity crowdfunding and eliminating stringent investor restrictions (e.g. annual income and investment asset requirements).

3. Boost capacity building in sustainable agricultural education and research

a. PRINCIPLE:
I. Governments should prioritize the field of agricultural science at every level of education.

b. CONCERNS:
I. Agricultural productivity needs to sharply increase to keep up with food demand. Without adaptation, yields of the main cereals in developing countries are expected to be 10% lower by 2050 than they would have been without climate change, all while the global population will grow to reach 9 billion people.
II. The Green Revolution boosted grain yields through widely applicable technological improvements, but many of the measures needed today are location-specific, addressing issues such as drought, pests, and salt resistance, while the average farming age reaches 70 years old.
III. Youth with more global mobility and education potential offer the solution to poor global knowledge transfer of best practices and dissemination of low input agricultural advancements.

c. RECOMMENDATIONS:
I. Make agriculture a more accessible and innovative profession for youth by incorporating agricultural science and innovation into public education curriculum to raise the profile of the farming profession and better equip the next generation of modern farmers.
II. Target scholarship funds towards agricultural science research on high-yield, stress-resistant crop variants.

4. Strengthen the voice of youth at the G20 via Y20 “Sherpas”

a. PRINCIPLE:
I. Youth participation in the G20 is crucial to economic growth and the implementation of development oriented policies.

b. CONCERNS:
I. As leaders from across the G20 meet annually, the policies they seek to implement often – and primarily – impact the future of youth in their respective countries.
II. As such, the voice of youth (i.e., the Y20) at these forums needs to be strengthened to reflect the importance of youth engagement and to mainstream youth issues within the G20 engagement bodies.
III. Furthermore, since not all youth delegations are supported financially to attend the Y20 summit, it limits the accessibility of these forums for low- and middle-income youth.

c. RECOMMENDATIONS:
I. Introduce the position of the Y20 “Sherpas” with a Sherpa-like role among the selected national delegations to coordinate activities between annual Y20 Summits, to promote youth cooperation and Y20 decisions at all levels.
II. Foster the participation of Y20 “Sherpas” in all relevant G20 groups.
Promote the access of the Y20 to all youth by encouraging institutionalized funding by G20 participating countries for Y20 delegates.

DELEGATION REPORT: 2016 Youth 7 Summit

Youth 7 2016 | Tokyo, Japan (30 April – 4 May 2016)

The Youth 7 Summit (Y7) 2016 was held in Tokyo, Japan, from April 30-May 3, 2016. In order to promote the inclusion of the youth voice in the G7 process, the organizers had to ensure there was a successful recruitment and negotiation process with young leaders. The conference was extremely successful overall, with productive international exchange from a diverse group of youth under 30 years of age, from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union and observers from Cameroon, Norway and Turkey.

We are extremely proud of the final communiqué, as it truly embraces the vision of youth in G7 countries. The Canadian delegation considers the following policies to be the priorities for implementation in Canada:

  • Address the substantial deficiency in empirical and evaluative research of counter-terrorism initiatives to design more effective policy while empowering community and grass-roots level actors with the resources needed to address radicalization. 
  • Facilitate and promote the integration of refugees in host communities while respecting their cultural identities by galvanising positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. In Canada, this should include transparent public service campaigns and curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; adjusting certification processes for foreign skilled workers in order to afford refugees the economic opportunities to live on their own means; and providing refugees with social services at the local level, including access to psychological support and cultural mediators. This should include the establishment of a buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians.
  • Policy 23 concerns violence against women and girls, and has policy recommendations that addresses harnessing community response, education, and promoting holistic responses and pathways forward in violence, prevention, and culture change. This policy is particularly vital to Canadian youth due to the vulnerability of young people in society to violence, and their ability to foster change for the future. 
  • Policy 25 concerns education inequality, particularly in post secondary education. Addressing the inequality of postsecondary education in Canada is vital to creating a more equal future and access to opportunity for all young Canadians. 
  • Policy 21 concerns addressing gender equality, and ensuring that unpaid labour, the brunt of which is born by girls and women, is both accounted for, and repaired through progressive policy. These policies are vital for Canadian youth because young women, particularly those who are young parents, are disadvantaged in society, and can be better supported to achieve success and have access to opportunities. Furthermore, through measuring the unpaid labour which occurs in Canadian society, there can be a more accurate valuation of the Canadian economy, particularly that to which youth contribute. 
  • Rethink school curricula to include social entrepreneurship as a tangible career path for youth by including social entrepreneurship related subjects in all school programs while offering youth practical engagement during their secondary and postsecondary. This could be achieved in collaboration with the provincial ministries of education.
  • Connect youth and elderly through job creation by promoting succession planning and access to capital to facilitate the transfer of existing businesses to youth and encouraging transitional job shadowing.
  • Our delegation is extremely satisfied with the results of the Y7 negotiations. Through collaborative and successful negotiation processes, most initial Canadian policy proposals were included in part or whole in the final communiqué, with additions and improvements from other voices. Our progressive values, our reputation in the world, and our innovative insights made a difference at the negotiation table. We are now willing to take this communiqué one step further and help the federal government implement what we believe are its core recommendations.

POLICY PRIORITIES

Counter-terrorism
We believe that more in depth research is needed and that cross sector collaboration is lacking. We recommend to:

Address the substantial deficiency in empirical and evaluative research of counter-terrorism initiatives to design more effective policy while empowering community and grass-roots level actors with the resources needed to address radicalization while empowering grassroots and community level actors to engage in innovative methods of preventive and early-intervention counter-radicalization tailored to their own communities.

Action 1: Mandate researchers of Public Safety Canada in collaboration with their provincial counterparts to investigate counter-terrorism methods and develop a database.

Action 2: Develop an evaluation mechanism for all new counter-terrorism policies.

Action 3: Provide funding to independent non-profit community centres to provide psychological and rehabilitation services to radicalizing/radicalized individuals, their families and peers. The department of Justice could dispatch such funding as part of its crime prevention programs.

Action 4: Develop training programs for school staff, spiritual and community leaders in radicalization identification.

Action 5: Wisely circulate counter-narratives to terrorism on social media in collaboration with former radicals and spiritual leaders.

Integration of refugees
We believe that the Government must take action to better utilize the human capital of refugees. We recommend to:

Facilitate and promote the integration of refugees in host communities while respecting their cultural identities by galvanising positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. In Canada, this should include transparent public service campaigns and curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; adjusting certification processes for foreign skilled workers in order to afford refugees the economic opportunities to live on their own means; and providing refugees with social services at the local level, including access to psychological support and cultural mediators. This should include the establishment of a buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians. 

Action 1: In Canada, provincial governments receiving a considerable number of refugees must roll out public service campaigns to galvanize positive political rhetoric such that refugees may be perceived as enhancing social capital rather than undermining national security. This involves proactively sharing successful refugee integration stories in their communities on governmental websites and social media.

Action 2: Provincial Ministries of Education must develop curricula about the proven economic and social value of refugees; Ministries of Education are also responsible for qualification recognition and must adjust certification processes for foreign skilled workers in regulated occupations in order to afford refugees the economic opportunity to live off their own means.

Action 3: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) must enhance its social services offered at the local level to ensure that refugees have access not only to language classes, but also psychological support and cultural mediators. In this vein, CIC should develop a free buddy program matching young refugees with young Canadians.

Gender Equality
We urge Canada to reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights. Understanding that whilst men are also victims, the most frequent victims of gender based violence in G7 countries are young women; such violence is especially prevalent on postsecondary campuses and in the home. We recommend:

Promoting curricula containing elements on sexual health, mutual respect, youth mental health, and healthy and consent-based relationships, e.g., mandatory standardised testing of this knowledge before postsecondary graduation.                  

Action 1: Current education curriculum varies widely across the country, particularly that regarding sexual and mental health, some of which has not seen updates in the last 15-25 years, incorporating up-to-date values, science, and medicine. The federal government should convening with the provinces on the importance of this type of curriculum being delivered equally across the country, and encouraging and incentivizing its successful implementation in a culturally and regionally relevant way.

Action 2: The federal government should require provinces to review all curriculum across elementary and secondary education, and integrate age-appropriate and scientifically sound curriculum that addresses youth mental health; sexual diversity; sexual health, respect, and consent; and implement standardized levels of knowledge for graduation.

We believe that issues of gender equality must be addressed, including ensuring that unpaid labour, the brunt of which is born by girls and women, is accounted for and repaired through progressive policy. These policies are vital for Canadian youth because young women, particularly those who are young parents, are disadvantaged in society, and can be better supported to achieve success and have access to opportunities by:

Introducing policies to strongly incentivise all parents to take an equal share of parental leave, and ensure access to universal low-cost or free child-care;  
Incentivising gender-based policy and analysis, (e.g., recognition of the disproportionate adverse effects of climate change on women; significant rate of male suicide);  
Exploring and developing new metrics to evaluate unpaid labour in society in order to assign value to work undertaken by women and girls.  
Action 1: The federal Government currently contributes to childcare costs for families through the Universal Child Care Benefit, amongst other methods, which is a transfer of funds intended for childcare costs. However, this sum creates a false choice in childcare costs, as it is not a sufficient amount for creating flexibility in childcare options. The federal government should require the sub-federal governments to develop universal low cost or free childcare options across the provinces and territories.

Action 2: The federal Government should research and develop measures for accounting for unpaid labour in Canadian society, and utilize this metric when undertaking gender based analysis on federal policy, and incorporate it into measures of the economy.

Action 3: The federal Government should also ensure Gender Based Analysis (GBA) takes place mandatorily on all policy before approval, through more stringent requirements, and mandatory GBA+ training for all public servants, and encouraging further discussion and exchange in civil society on the implementation of GBA, and the expansion of the gender lens in policy.

Education
We recommend that Canada take immediate action to reach the goal of SDG 4 - inclusive and equitable quality education - and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. G7 countries should recognise that high levels of student and youth debt stifles innovation, influencing and limiting the career path of young people by:

Aiming to adopt income-based sliding scale tuition fees at all post-secondary institutions to improve access to and equality in higher education. Implement loan payment schemes, which are scaled to each person’s income level;  
Exploring tools for innovation in managing finance and debt issues related to postsecondary education, such as research experiments into basic income/living wage;

Action 1: Currently, post-secondary education tuition varies across the country and between institutions. On average, full-time postsecondary students pay $16,000 a year for their education, making formal postsecondary education an unattainable goal for many Canadians, which could put them into unsustainable debt. The federal Government should require the provinces to implement a uniform sliding-scale, income-based tuition system, which is based on family or personal income of the student. Furthermore, loan repayment schemes that are scaled to the individual’s income should be implemented as relevant to each province’s financial aid system.

Social Entrepreneurship
We believe that social entrepreneurship could play a larger role in job creation for youth and around business succession planning. We recommend to:

Rethink school curricula to include social entrepreneurship as a tangible career path for youth by including social entrepreneurship related subjects in all school programs while offering youth practical engagement during their secondary and postsecondary. This could be achieved in collaboration with the provincial ministries of education.
Connect youth and elderly through job creation by promoting succession planning and access to capital to facilitate the transfer of existing businesses to youth and encouraging transitional job shadowing.

Action 1: In collaboration with the Provinces, include subjects related to entrepreneurship in all secondary education curricula (e.g., economics, basic accounting, business planning, types of businesses, etc.). Social entrepreneurship should be seen as an alternative to working for a private employer.

Action 2: Better define social entrepreneurship as nonprofit or cooperative entrepreneurship. Industry Canada should actively promote social entrepreneurship in its communications and develop new programs for these enterprises to thrive.

Action 3: Capitalize on business succession planning by ensuring that financing options are available to youth wishing to take over existing businesses. Financial institutions should be encouraged to promote and support business succession planning.

DELEGATION REPORT: 2016 OECD Public Forum

Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) Public Forum 2016 | Paris, France (May 31- June 1 2016)

The 2016 iteration of the Public Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) took place at OECD Headquarters in Paris, France from May 31 - June 1, 2016. The Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) sent a delegation of five exceptional young Canadians to represent Canada and its youth. The Delegation was comprised of Gautham Krishnaraj (Head Delegate), Gabrielle Bishop (Media Coordinator), Sabrina Ostrowski (Returning YDC Ambassador), Julia Peng, and Samuel Samson. Delegates drew upon experiences from five provinces and territories of Canada, and several international academic and professional engagements.

THE FORUM
The Forum functioned on a multiple concurrent session layout, with three major conference rooms (#oecdred, #oecdblue, #oecdgreen) where the main panel discussions and program launches occurred. Smaller sessions included “Talks with the Author”, “IdeaFactory”, “Panels with Lunch”, “Talk Together”, and more. The theme of the Forum “Productive Economies, Inclusive Societies” guided the discussions through a healthy diversity of topics. The YDC Delegation divided topics amongst interested delegates to achieve comprehensive coverage of the two days. Particularly notable speakers included President Michelle Bachelet, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi & OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

Successes: Smaller side sessions were very interactive. YDC was also heavily engaged on Twitter, providing >50% of the questions addressed in several sessions (ie Life, Time & Work in 21st cent.)

Challenges: Sessions pertaining to youth lacked youth panelists, low engagement in larger sessions.

MEETING DAY
The YDC Delegation was also able to arrange three external meetings, to enhance their understanding of Canadian engagement with the OECD and bilateral relations with the French Government. The Delegation thanks Deputy Head of Mission Graeme Clark (Canadian Embassy in France), Darren Rogers (Canadian Permanent Delegation to the OECD), and Dominique Levasseur (Canadian Mission to UNESCO) for their time and valuable insights.

Successes: Discussions with UNESCO proved particularly fruitful, possible future collaboration on education/advocacy related projects.

Challenges: Logistics. Would suggest earlier organization to allow for more meetings to be booked.

EXTERNAL
The YDC Delegation was also pleased to organize two unofficial social side events for other Youth Delegates to the OECD; the first being a welcome dinner (attended by New Zealand, Poland, Brazil, Australia Delegations) and the latter being at the local Canadian Pub, The Moose (attended by Poland, Brazil and various individuals). We believe these connections to be equally valuable to those made in the Forum, as they will foster future collaborations with youth and opportunities to promote youth diplomatic engagement world wide.

Successes: Canadian presence was felt and youth from other countries more aware of YDC engagement.

Challenges: Struggled to find way to carry conversation beyond OECD. Correspondence to continue.

KEY FORUM SESSION SUMMARIES

May 31st
OECD Forum Opening Session 
“That set the tone to the Forum. It was the occasion to outlook the priorities, most recent accomplishments and work in progress in OECD. Was also an occasion to meet and keep in touch with main actors.”

Gen Y, Inequality & the Future
“This session highlighted the main stakes and challenges for the new generations in a world in continual upheveal. It shows new opportunities as well as gaps for Gen Y and Millenials. It finally established a profile of the issues and responses to give.”

“While I found the topic to be interesting, I don’t think the session attained a sufficient level of representation. The youngest speaker was 35 years old, barely qualifying to be a “millennial”. Would have loved more discussion on potential solutions to rising inequality.”

Redesigning Mobility - Smart Arctic Transport
“The speakers were industry-focused, not policy- focused. Would have liked there to be a combination of both industry and policy professionals, as the Arctic is a very political issue.”

IdeaFactory – The Digital World and the Future of Work
“The IdeaFactory was definitely my favourite session of the Forum. With other participants, we defined a political, economical and ethical frame for the future of work and technologies in our societies. The statement I suggested - to implement the " Consciousness aspect " of the question in the frame – was adopted by over 80 % of the participants. That session was also the best opportunity for real networking. It was constructive, creative and concrete.”

“Definitely one of the most interesting group brainstorming scenarios I’ve been in. The idea factory split people up randomly and placed people of different ages, backgrounds, and experience together. The Chief Economist of the OECD was leading a group of 6 people beside me. Each group was responsible for analyzing a particular section of society, and projecting growth out to 2030. Very thought provoking exercise, especially when you combine sectors.”

2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
As I am working with United Nations ECOSOC for DDO, that session contributed to open my mind to new considerations. It also gave me tools to resolve barriers and spread a interesting portrait of different initiatives in the World.

21st Century Skills
Based on a book, that session gave an overview of skills to develop in the 21st Century and to develop and implement these skills for better societies.

Skills for the Future
That session was complementary to the previous one, but went further in the relection with a panel and a cross-sectoral approach.

June 1st
Children Advising Business and Government

As I am developing a project in a same vein, that session was more than interesting to me. It also gave me the opportunity to create a new partnership with the speaker for that projet.

Ministerial Council Meeting Chair Keynote Speech & Presentation of the Economic Outlook
That session enlightened us to the work lead by the Minister during the Conference in interaction with the Forum. The outlook session gave an overview of the new OECD datas, with a strong analysis and conclusions.

Mindfulness, Productivity and Better Working Life
In the context of new paradigms interested with the power of human mind, that session explored the possibilities offered by mindfulness for better efficiency and then, for better and even more productive societies.

Life, Time and Space in the 21st Century
The YDC delegation was definitely the most active in this panel. Many of the issues discussed here impact the younger generation. Would have loved more discussion on how these policy proposals will play out differently depending on a country’s specific culture.

A New Agenda for Growth : The next Production Revolution
This session was exploring the wide-ranging subject of new paradigms applied to growth, in the actual World’s context. We learned interresting ways of doing things and facts.

Child well-being
It is well known that children represent the Future of the World. That session was an exploration of this theme and the different aspects related to the right and opportunities of socialization related with children.

The Circular Economy
In a world dominated by a classical neo-liberal ideology, that session explored the opportunities related with a circular economy and the different aspects linked.

Finreg and Fintech
The most interesting panel discussion during the whole forum. Would have liked more diversity in the panel (many panelists were either ex-investment bankers or policy makers; there was only 1 person actually experienced in the industry).