Earlier this month, our Team Support Officer Leah as part of the ‘Y7 Taskforce’ attended the Youth 7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall – just a day after world leaders gathered as part of the G7. A chance to bring together youth delegates from across the G7 countries, the aim of the Y7 Summit is to discuss issues that matter most to them, develop leadership training and showcase their communique to G7 leaders to influence international policy decisions.

Read Leah’s blog on her experiences preparing for the G7 Youth Summit and how their work is #MakingWaves for future generations below.

"I felt really happy and excited to be there... nothing mattered more than connecting with the people who were there, and being in the present moment."

What is the Y7?

Every year, the leaders of the world’s 7 largest democracies get together at a Summit known as the G7. They discuss international issues such as pandemics, climate change and global conflict. This year, the G7 was hosted by the UK, and took place in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

In order to represent their countries, these leaders must listen to the views of their people. So, the G7 leaders consult with 7 ‘Engagement Groups’: the Business 7, Civil Society 7, Women’s 7, Science 7, Labour 7… and the Youth 7 (Y7).

The Y7 brings together youth delegates from each of the G7 countries to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Over a period of 6 months, they negotiate with each other to write policy recommendations, which are later presented to the G7 leaders in a communique in an effort to influence their decisions regarding international policy.

This year, the theme of the Y7 is ‘Making Waves For Future Generations’ – inspired by the Well-being of Future Generations Act in Wales.

The Youth 7 Summit took place virtually on 14 – 15 May 2021, with thousands of young people from all over the world joining on a live virtual conference, packed with two days’ worth of keynote speakers, presentations, networking and workshops.

Read the full Y7 communique here.

Leah and other woman doing funny poses and standing in front of a sign saying 'Future Leaders Network'

What did it look like behind-the-scenes?

This year, I have been on the ‘Y7 Taskforce’ – a group of young people who are working behind-the-scenes to make the Y7 happen. This has involved:

  • Integrating the theme of ‘Future Generations’ into the Y7 by connecting Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner with the delegates,
  • Organising a ‘Futures Challenge’ panel with world-leading futures experts,
  • Organising and hosting ‘Ascent Camp’,
  • Securing high profile speakers for the Y7 Summit, such as the UN Youth Envoy, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake and Lord John Bird,
  • Supported the youth delegates during the negotiations process,
  • Attending the G7 International Media Centre in Falmouth, and…
  • Acted as second-in-command at the Y7 Side Event, a physical event that took place alongside the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

You can watch a summary of the entire Y7 process below.

What did we achieve?

G7 leaders listened to young people and included Mental Health in the final G7 Communique. We empowered young people across the world to make change and form a global networking of young future leaders. We brought together young people from across the UK and Cornwall to showcase the Y7 and provide them with leadership development training and keynote sessions. We gave back to the local community by hosting a beach clean and a Mock G7 for a local school in Carbis Bay, the venue of the G7 Summit, where young people discussed the issues they cared about, and created their own communique.

By far the best thing we achieved was providing young people with a platform to influence decision-making at an international level, and to show world leaders that young people deserve a seat at the table.

Screenshot of an online Y7 meeting

How did it feel to be involved in the Y7?

Empowering to work with and learn from so many amazing young people and see them create active change locally, nationally, and internationally.

Incredible to feel the energy of the room (virtually and eventually physical) of people connecting and developing, feeling part of something bigger than yourself.

Fulfilling to finally meet my team, who I’ve been working with for the last two months, the delegates and other inspiring young people in real-life after working with them for the last 6 months virtually and after so long in a pandemic.

I felt really happy and excited to be there, even with the anxieties and stress of organising virtually summits and in-person events (and there was a lot!). In those moments, nothing mattered more than connecting with the people who were there, and being in the present moment.

Right now, I feel so grateful for everyone that I have met during the Y7 process, and to see for myself the enormous opportunities that are available to these people.

Young woman holding a microphone and speech, with another young woman watching on.

How you can get involved:

Youth Voice is so powerful, and this process has shown me that we can make an impact at an international level.

Young people are awesome!