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.