article: A unique opportunity to influence the G20 Leaders

Once a year, the leaders of the 20 economies that account for 80 per cent of global trade, gather for a high-level discussion of policy issues that promote international financial stability – issues that require action beyond that of any one country or organisation. Since its inception in 2008, the G20 has proven its ability to act within this remit, particularly with its response to the Global Financial Crisis, and has risen to global prominence as a result.

Running parallel to the G20 is the Y20 forum. While far less prominent at present, it is no less important. As an official engagement group, Y20 takes the form of a week-long, international summit, where future leaders from the G20 nations meet to debate the challenges that face the next generation. During the debate, they seek to influence G20 Leaders through the proposal of practical actions that will ultimately lead to sustained global growth. The Y20 forum, therefore, offers a unique opportunity to access a direct route to influencing the G20 Leaders.

This year I was appointed as Leader of the United Kingdom’s Delegation, and invited to attend the Y20. Travelling out to Istanbul, along with three colleagues, I had the honour of representing the UK in the negotiations. The agenda for Y20 2015 covered three key areas, namely:

  • Impact of technology and innovation on youth unemployment
  • Youth’s contribution to peace
  • Youth and education in the 21st century
    • a. Investing in youth education (investment)
    • b. Providing education for everyone (inclusiveness)
    • c. Implementing and monitoring innovative reforms in youth education for sustaining quality and equality (implementation)

In truth, while the Summit didn’t formally commence until Sunday evening, pre-negotiations had been taking place for a number of weeks via social media – with huge volumes of ideas, proposals and opinions being exchanged between the 20 delegations.

The UK delegation, however, attempted to ensure that the real experiences that underpin the issues being discussed, along with practical actions to address these issues, were articulated in the final Y20 Communiqué and put in front of the world leaders.

We talked about entrepreneurship as a key driver for: social mobility; improving employability; and making young people more competitive in the jobs market through the development of skills desired by employers – such as ICT and foreign languages and through better training in interview technique and job selection. 

We discussed of the issue of financial literacy, in the context of helping the next generation to make prudent financial decisions amidst the noise created by a deluge of products and services, and price comparison websites.

We pushed for greater rights for young people online, including the right to be forgotten and the right to support to help facilitate informed decisions. We also made supply-side reform proposals to encourage the private sector to employ more young people.

The Y20 Summit took place in Istanbul, under the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and ran from August 16th–21st 2015.

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