There was a historical moment when Indonesia was invited to participate in the G7 conference, attended by most advanced industrial countries. Angelo Wijaya had the opportunity to participate in the Y7 conference for youth in Japan as a delegate from Indonesia, to negotiate on Climate and Environment. Let’s read Angelo’s story, starting from how he was chosen as a delegate, the negotiation process, and the conference outcomes.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending the Youth7 (Y7) Summit 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. The Y7 is the official engagement group for youth at the G7, an informal grouping of the world’s most advanced industrialized countries. The G7 members include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union—the non-numerated member of the G7.
This year, Indonesia was invited to attend the Y7 and G7 summit, owing to its role as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2023. In addition to Indonesia, several other countries were invited to the Y7 Japan 2023 Summit. These include India, chair of the G20 this year; Italy, chair of the G7 in 2024; and South Africa, chair of the G20 in 2025.
The Youth7 (Y7) Summit is an annual meeting of young people from G7 countries to discuss ideas, exchange perspectives, and negotiate policy recommendations for the G7. These recommendations, referred to as a “communique,” are annually handed over to the G7 leaders. The event took place from April 9th to 13th, 2023, primarily in Tokyo’s National Diet Building, which houses Japan’s parliament. This year, delegates and observers of the Y7 Summit 2023 in Japan handed the communique to the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Fumio Kishida, on the final day of the summit.
The summit’s objective was to enable delegates and observers to negotiate policy recommendations under the overarching theme of “Voicing Out for a Vibrant World.” There were five main negotiation topics: Economic Resilience, Digital Transformation and Innovation, Climate and Environment, Global Health and Happiness, and Peace and Security.
The summit agenda also featured cultural immersion programs and visits to academic institutions, including Waseda University and the United Nations University in Tokyo. The event commenced on April 9th, 2023, with opening remarks from several speakers, including G7/G20 Sherpa of Japan, H.E. Keiichi Ono, who also serves as Senior Deputy Foreign Minister in the Japanese government. The Japanese Prime Minister provided an opening speech and later received the delegates on the summit’s final day for the formal handover of the Y7 Communique.
During the summit, we had the opportunity to hear proposals from Japanese high school students in a workshop addressing each of the key topics. As part of the summit, we visited the United Nations University in Tokyo, where we presented our final communique to the university’s rector, as well as to some ambassadors from G7 countries. This allowed us to obtain their feedback and comments on our policy recommendations.
How we were selected
Five young individuals represented Indonesia at the Y7 Summit 2023 in Japan, including myself, Angelo Wijaya, who participated in the Climate and Environment negotiations. The other representatives were Anthony Sunjaya (Global Health and Happiness), Anastasya Jesslyn (Peace and Security), Sherly Budiman (Digital Transformation and Innovation), and Angel Berlian (Economic Resilience).
We were selected through a selection process that was open to the public, done by an organization called Indonesian Youth Diplomacy or IYD. In recent years, IYD has sent youth delegations to the Y20 Summits, which is the official engagement group for youth at the G20. As a former Y20 delegate, I would say that the selection process for the Indonesian representatives at Y7 Summit this year is pretty similar with the selection process for Y20 delegates. The process includes CV screening, essay writing, and also an interview process. Annually, this process attracts 300-500 young Indonesians, be it they who live in Indonesia or abroad, aged 18-30.
Deep Dive on the Negotiations
Each topic was both intriguing and relevant. For instance, in the Climate and Environment discussions, we examined the importance of the G7 to fulfill their $100 billion commitment made during the COP15 meeting in 2009. This sum was intended to aid developing countries, particularly low- and middle-income nations, in advancing their climate initiatives and achieving their climate goals. We also deliberated on the crucial role young people play in the global governance of climate and environment, which includes the establishment of an official youth engagement group within the G7 Climate Club. The G7 Climate Club, founded under Germany’s presidency in 2022, assists developing countries in meeting their climate commitments. This year, Indonesia is poised to join the club.
In the realm of Global Health and Happiness, discussions centered on transformational tools for well-being, equity and access in healthcare, and preventative methods and interventions. Economic Resilience talks covered human capital development, entrepreneurship, equitable labor markets, and economic circularity and diversification. Digital Transformation and Innovation conversations explored digital rights and governance, digital ecosystems and innovation, and youth digital empowerment. Peace and Security discussions focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the promotion of youth, peace, and security agendas, as well as cybersecurity and combating misinformation. These conversations were effectively encapsulated in the final communique we collectively drafted.
It remains an indelible memory for me how the delegates worked late into the night nearly every day during our summit, often in the hotel lobby and occasionally over karaoke or at izakaya and ramen establishments, to ensure that we reached a consensus on the matters discussed within our limited time-frame.
Challenges Faced by the G7
The G7 meets this year in the context of a rapidly changing global landscape. Established in the 1970s, the G7 initially represented close to 70% of global GDP. However, by 2021, their share of GDP had declined to about 40%. Recent reports suggest that in 2023, the combined GDP of developing countries grouped in BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has just surpassed that of the G7. This shift is accompanied by a growing desire from developing countries for a greater say in global governance, prompting the G7 to reconsider its approach to this issue.
In May, G7 leaders will gather in Hiroshima for the G7 Summit 2023. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to attend, and they will discuss the direction of the global economy, the role of the G7 in an evolving world, and digital transformations such as ChatGPT. It is essential to recognize the significant role young people will play in shaping the G7’s future.
The Way Forward
The Y7 Summit 2023 in Japan concluded with a powerful message, providing a unique platform for young delegates from around the world, including those representing developing countries like Indonesia, to engage with their G7 counterparts. The summit addressed critical topics such as Climate and Environment, Global Health and Happiness, Economic Resilience, Digital Transformation and Innovation, and Peace and Security, highlighting the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives and experiences into policymaking. As the world confronts unprecedented challenges, youth involvement in shaping our collective future has never been more crucial.
The commitment, passion, and resilience demonstrated by the delegates at the Y7 Summit 2023 underscore the potential of young people to contribute significantly to global discourse. This event serves as a reminder that they are not just the leaders of tomorrow but are actively shaping the world today. Reflecting on my Y7 experience, I am left to ponder: what more can be achieved when we empower youth to take the reins in crafting a better, more inclusive future for all?