by Silvia Marchetti
ROME, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Sabino Costanza, leader of the organizers of the G8 Youth Summit 2009, said young people must speak with one voice and call for greater cooperation among G8 and G20 leaders in dealing with global issues.
"China plays a global economic role that G8 members must consider more. Solutions to the financial crisis can be found only at a G8 enlarged level or G20 level," the former student of Bocconi University told Xinhua in an interview.
From Monday to Friday this week, Bocconi University in Milan hosted the G8 Youth Summit.
The annual gathering began in 2006 and usually takes place in the country where the G8 is organized. This year Italy holds the G8 presidency and is responsible for arranging all meetings including a summit in July.
Looking for a common ground, participants to the forum discussed the reform of international financial institutions, climate change, economic crisis, energy, environment and poverty.
Valerio Di Vicenzo, from the organizing committee, said: "China represents a powerful resource. G8 members must take China into greater consideration."
"There should be a common international regulation between developed and developing countries in many fields, such as on environmental issues," he told Xinhua.
Costanza and Vicenzo, both of whom are 25 years old and graduated from Bocconi University, are working for an international consultancy.
"The financial turmoil cannot be tackled at a national level, but globally. This is why Europe must speak with one voice," Vicenzo said.
Tao Weng, a 20-years-old exchange student at Bocconi University, is representing China at the Milan summit. "For me the G8 Youth Summit is a great opportunity to discuss important issues, to communicate and share knowledge," he told Xinhua.
"Today we are youths, but tomorrow we might be leaders in our countries," he said.
In Milan, the G8 youth summit demanded it be integrated into the greater "adult" G8 meeting. "We want to have our delegation of youths starting from the next summit. It's important we contribute our vision and ideas to the key decisions affecting our future," Costanza said.
"The Italian government must work hard to reach a coordinated global solution to the financial crisis," he said.
"Starting from London's G20 summit in April, Italy can play a mediating role among member states," he told Xinhua.
"The Italian government has set a good example by avoiding bail-outs and proposing the idea of European bonds. The solution to the economic crisis must be found at a global or at least European level," he said.
This year the Italian organizing committee succeeded in inviting more than 21 national delegations. Other than the students coming from the G8 countries, there were representatives from China, India, Mexico and Turkey, among others.
Problems in developed countries have a spill-over impact throughout the world, and Italy cannot avoid them alone.
Regarding the Italian economy, Costanza said: "Italy suffers from structural problems, rather than the global credit crunch. The high deficit and debt levels prevent the government from implementing short-term rescue strategies."
The unemployment rate in Italy is expected to increase in coming months. It will mostly hit young people, who are very demanding of the government, Costanza said.
"First, the Italian government must restore confidence without giving in to protectionism by developing long-term measures," he said.
"Second, the government should invest in young people. We ask incentives for youth entrepreneurship projects and youth training to increase job mobility. It's important to focus on the development of specific competence, the world is changing fast. Protective work policies hamper youths from developing the right skills to become players," he said.
"The Italian government must favor international student exchange programs in business. Studying and working abroad gives you a different mind-set," Costanza said.
According to Vicenzo, the Italian government can play a central role at London's G20 summit thanks to "its savoir-faire and art of diplomacy. In good and bad, Italy always finds the best possible solution."
Organized by young volunteers from the host country with the help of national student teams in the other G8 countries, the youth summit is aimed at being recognized as a panel representing the voice of youths to the G8 leaders.
Previous youth summits have been held in Russia, Germany and Japan.