So I have arrived in Germany’s gloriously warm capital Berlin for a conference called Europe’ s Voice. This is a platform run by youth for youth to help formulate common positions and principles on key policy challenges ahead of the G8 and G20 Summits in the USA and Mexico next month.
I am here as the Prime Minister of the Youth Diplomatic Service and despite the heat and being detained at border control by the polizei, it’s been a flying start! The UK Youth Cabinet that are here with me are fantastic! Duncan, Alwyn, Ross, Jane, Beth and Sam have all hit the ground running with a strong portfolio of ideas and knowledge for the UK. Ciaran and Andy from the organising group are also here and providing great support. The idea is we all work in topic areas (Foreign Affairs, Defence, environment, Justice, Economics etc) to develop a common European stance alongside our three fellow euro G20 members – France, Germany and Italy. Representatives from the EU and EC are also here. In total around 50 youth. What strikes me is the exceptional level of professionalism, knowledge and cognitive prowess that is present. It clearly takes a diplomatic and professional approach as opposed to a more relaxed, free spirit, civil society model that I have often engaged with.
In the Heads Of State group we pushed two main issues, Global Governance and Improved political involvement and also Global Security for a Prosperous Society. It is clear we are holding to account the failure of the MDGs ahead of 2015, we are building concepts based on Obama’s Open Government Initiative. I majored on the importance of youth as drivers of policy change, and not merely passengers. I raised the model of the direct Youth Dialogue the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit adopted a number of years back and hopefully we can call for a DIRECT and EQUAL space during the G20 Summit to listen and be accountable to youth on the issues we choose to raise.
One of Ban Ki Moon’s three “e’s” on youth is empowerment. That doesn’t come through simply giving youth Peripheral space to debate ideas for tomorrow, but we need to be a central and engaged force for today. Look at Tunisia, Egypt, the England riots, Africa reform and even the Occupy movement, youth are at it’s heart. We must do the same within the decision making processes.
Will keep you posted as our discussions develop. At present we are hearing from Professor Ken Caldieria from Stanford University in the USA talk about the emissions crisis. Tomorrow we head off to hold our deliberations in the German Bundestag Parliamet building.
Any ideas or views you want me to raise directly then do comment and let me know. (sorry if this blog sucks, had two hours sleep and on my phone!)