DELEGATION REPORT: 2017 YOUTH 20 SUMMIT

Photo credits: Bundesregierung / Steffi Loos

Photo credits: Bundesregierung / Steffi Loos

1. Summary of Clauses

Over the course of the Youth 20 Summit, Canada’s delegates were integral parts of the
Working Groups for Climate and the 2030 Agenda. Both spoke on behalf of their Working
Groups at the Federal Chancellery, delivering policy recommendations to Chancellor
Merkel.


Under the 2017 German G20 Presidency, a total of fifteen topics were identified as
priorities to be discussed. Over the course of the 2017 Youth 20 Summit 73 delegates from
31 countries convened in Berlin to discuss eleven themes under the broad topics of
Assuming Responsibility, Building Resilience, and Improving Sustainability. Each of the eleven
themes were negotiated and presented in the final Communiqué, as well as to Chancellor
Merkel, and the Canadian delegation finds the following six areas to be priority for the
youth population in Canada.


Climate & Environment
 We stress an absolute commitment by all countries to the Paris Accord and firm
condemnation of the American withdrawal from the agreement. We recognize that
climate is an urgent priority that requires action.
 We recognize the need to empower and employ market-based solutions to
environmental problems when appropriate. States must be aware that the right to
pollute has a cost. The fight against climate change should be compatible with the
development of efficient solutions, including carbon emission trading, the removal
of subsidies for oil and gas industries, and punitive taxes.


2030 Agenda
 We believe that states must incorporate the Agenda’s framework through formal
and non-formal education systems. This includes embedding the SDGs in curricula
for children, civil society programming, and through youth trainings.
 We acknowledge that the core function of the HLPF is to openly monitor and review
progress and that states should be open and transparent during their National
Voluntary Reviews. Further, countries should include official UN Youth Delegates
and co-authors at all stages of the process.
 We urge states to create SDG monitoring system by establishing national indicator
frameworks that clearly and publicly communicate a country’s progress toward the
Agenda 2030.


Empowering Women
 We see a great need for young women and men to better reconcile work-family
responsibilities through integrated policies that range from childcare facilities and childcare subsidies, to parental leave schemes that enable and encourage men to
increasingly contribute to care and family work.
 We want to ensure that educational curricula for both girls and boys include human
rights and gender sensitive education, along with essential skills for economic
empowerment including leadership, problem-solving, financial literacy, self-esteem,
digital literacy, and entrepreneurial skills.


Digitalization
 We consider the absence of an international, universal legal framework on the
internet including management and rules regulating the conduct of states and non-
state actors in cyberspace to be concerning.
 We urge states to commit to universal digital access for all, especially among the
population in developing states. Governments and the private sectors should
cooperate to narrow the digital divide by increasing connectivity, investing in
infrastructure, and fostering growth.
 We recognize that it is vital for states to strongly commit to refraining from
censorship and placing restriction on internet freedoms.


Global Trade
 We reiterate that the basis for inclusive trade is rules-based trading systems.
Member states should refrain from unilateralism and act within the framework of
the WTO, which ensures an equal, level playing field for all countries.
 We acknowledge that trade must benefit all, so states must empower communities
in international trade, especially youth and women, through funding for
infrastructure, human capacity building through education, and vocational trainings.
 We urge countries to take a more citizen-oriented approach by conducting inclusive
outreach programs and training to greater integrate civil society, businesses and
MSMEs in international trading systems.


Displacement
 We the delegates voice concern for anti-migrant and anti-refugee sentiment around
the world, and reinforce the need for proactive policies that not only counter
extremist views but position countries to be far more ambitious in their
commitment to taking in displaced populations.
 We consider a holistic, cross-cutting approach to be vital for successful policies that
support the long-term autonomy of young asylum-seekers and refugees.
 We believe in the right to inclusive and quality education for all refugees during the
asylum process, in addition to access to services for well-being. This includes access
to both mental and physical health treatment.

2. Discussion on Domesticating Clauses


Climate & Environment

Summary:
The plan of action developed by the Y20 is threefold. First, an absolute commitment
to the Paris Accord and the involvement of sub-state actors to avoid a domino effect after
the United-States withdrawal. Second, the empowerment of market-based solutions to
environmental problems. Third, make education and youth involvement a pillar of the fight
against climate change.


Context and Importance:
 Because of the international character of climate change, the solution can only be
developed through international cooperation. Keeping in mind the withdrawal of
the United-States of the Paris Accord, Canada needs to avoid a domino effect at the
international level.
 While the Canadian government is already providing technical, legislative and
financial resources to public and private stakeholders in the fight against climate
change, the private sector is still poorly involved and opposed to most government
interference. We believe market based solutions are the best way forward to
reconcile a strong market economy and a protected environment.
 Climate change is now a daily reality for the youth. Current and future education,
formal and informal, should reflect that reality and educate furthermore the youth
in the fight against climate change. But because they will deal with its long-term
consequences, the youth should also be involved in the development and
implementation of those solutions.


Critique of Policy Options:
 Climate agreements cannot be legally binding. Yet Canada can do more when
involving sub-state actors, and especially indigenous populations. They are
generally left behind in the discussion for new pipe-line, for example.
 Canada has already a great expertise in market-based solutions. The current carbon
market between Quebec, British-Columbia and California has proven its efficiency,
both economical and environmental. But it is still very much the matter of regional
government, and we note a lack of involvement from the federal government.
 The youth is generally considered as a population to educate, but not to learn from.
At most they are involved in the consultation and development of policies. While
raising awareness and educating the youth to climate change should continue, they
are to become relevant stakeholders in the implementation of future climate-related
policies.       
                           

Policy Recommendations:
 In future climate negotiations, we need to increase the number of relevant
stakeholders by involving sub-state actors, such as cities, regional governments,
youth organizations and religious institutions. As a result, any attenuation of a
national government support, like the recent US withdrawal from the Paris Accord,
will not indicate the complete withdrawal of the state. A more integrated system of
implementation will also strengthen the long-term feasibility of such agreements.
We also have a responsibility of involving a lot more national and foreign
indigenous populations in climate negotiations, as they are often the first victims of
its effects.  
 Carbon emission trading should be extended to other Canadian regions and
territories, with the help and support of the federal government. It could also be
extended to interested American states still committed to the Paris Accord. Canada
could in the future also push for the implementation of an international price for
carbon emission, just like an internationally accepted price for petroleum, to go
beyond regional trading systems.
 We need to create and support formal and informal education programs that
develop environmental awareness from a young and impressionable age, by
incorporating information regarding climate change and the environment into
curricula. Youth engagement and awareness about climate change and its
consequences can be increased also by organizing various competitions and
activities, eventually sport-related, nationally and internationally. Also, a youth
component should become the norm in climate policies.
 

Agenda 2030

Summary:
Canada, along with 192 other countries, has recognized the importance of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development as an overarching and universal framework for all.
However, with only 13 years left to reach the Sustainable Development Goals we must do
more. To address this, the Y20 delegates urge the government to commit to reporting on
Canada’s progress through a Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the High-Level Political
Forum (HLPF), create a permanent Youth Delegate program for the HLPF, institute ‘SDG’
checks for all new legislation, collect and publicly display disaggregated data on SDG
progress, and increase Overseas Development Assistance to no less than 0.7% of GNI.

Context and Importance:
 In order to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 sub-targets
Canada must recognize that they are universal and require uptake within all levels
of society, including on a national, provincial, and local level. This requires a shifted
focus and bottom-up approach. Without engaging all of society and stakeholders,
Canada will not be able to reach its targets. Youth are a particularly important group
to empower toward the Agenda, as they have direct access to the local levels and are
the next (and current) generation of policy makers and leaders.
 There is a limited amount of time left to reach the Agenda, and there is a very real
possibility of not fully reaching the targets if the necessary political will is not
mobilized to finance the Goals, take action both domestically and internationally,
and educate civil society on their role in implementation. Without the necessary
data and indicators to track our progress, we as a country will not have the
necessary information to evaluate if we are on track or falling behind.


Critique of Policy Options:
 Canada has participated in the HLPF, but has yet to present or announce when it
plans to undertake the VNR process at the United Nations in front of other member
states and stakeholders.
 For the first time ever, Canada included two Civil Society Organization(CSO)
Delegates and two Youth Delegates in its official delegation to the 2017 HLPF. This is
progress. However, there is no formal, annual program for including these
important stakeholders in the delegation. Currently, the process for selection is not
transparent, and any preparation for the stakeholders within the delegation is not
robust enough. There is also no consultation or structure for these delegates.
 The legislature hosts a number of Parliamentary Committees which fall within the
various areas of the SDGs. However, no one Committee can cover the SDGs and all
169 sub-targets. This can leave a space between legislation and government affairs
that is not in line with Canada’s obligations contained within the 2030 Agenda-
Canada could actively be passing legislation and deciding policy that contradicts the
Goals. Without a body or ‘check’ to ensure that Canada’s laws do in fact meet the
requirements of the SDGs, our progress could be severely limited.
 Presently, Canada has not published or indicated it has finalized an indicator
framework to measure our level of attainment of the SDGs. Without a plan to
measure each indicator, Canada will not be prepared to present its VNR in the next
two years. Further, NGO, CSO, and academic actors should be aware of what
indicators are being used to measure the SDGs in Canada in order to focus their
expertise on areas of work that will contribute to national targets related to the
Goals.
 In 2016 Canada’s ODA rested at 0.26% of GNI. This level of funding is not sufficient if
the Sustainable Development Goals are to be met by 2030. While this number does not take into account the amount of money slated for domestic development, it still
is not enough of a contribution and significantly hampers progress toward the Goals.


Policy Recommendations:
 Canada should reaffirm that the HLPF is the premier body for all progress reporting
related to the Sustainable Development Goals, and that the event is integral to
sharing knowledge and best-practices between states. In doing so, Canada must
commit to presenting its VNR in 2018 or 2019 in order to remain transparent in its
progression and to share best practices. Full participation at the United Nations
throughout the process is imperative.
 Formalize the integration of CSO and Youth Delegates on the official country
delegation to the HLPF, and carry out their selection through a transparent process
at least three months prior to the HLPF. Include these CSO and Youth Delegates as
co-authors during the writing process of the VNR report that will be presented at
the HLPF in the next two years. Include a Youth Delegate and CSO Delegate in the
presentation phase of the VNR during the HLPF, and ensure that their views are
taken into account at all stages of the process.
 Create a Parliamentary Committee which has the role of evaluating proposed and
existing legislation against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This body
should be able to determine if a piece of legislation would contradict or support
Canada’s advancement to the Goals. If a law does not complement the SDGs, the
Committee should refer to the ways in which it is deficient, and suggest possible
alterations to come into compliance with the Agenda. Parliament must take an
active role in ensuring that Canada’s laws are progressive and in line with the SDGs.
 Create transparent SDG monitoring systems by establishing national indicator
frameworks and action plans that clearly communicate Canada’s progress toward
the Agenda 2030. This information should be disseminated through an online
platform consisting of both national and global data sets on implementation. The
indicators and data should be published and regularly updated in cooperation with
Statistics Canada.
 Canada must ensure a more effective financing system for the Goals in accordance
with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, and
immediately commit to contributing no less than 0.7% of GNI for ODA. We have the
necessary funds in the world system to finance the Goals, but countries must
urgently step-up to meet the ambitious Agenda. There is significant potential for
Canada to take a leading role in implementing the SDGs, but it must be committed to
funding development assistance at a higher level.