Y20 Australia 2014 will focus on three key policy areas – growth and jobs creation; global citizenship; and sustainable development. These themes align with the broader agenda of Australian presidency of the G20 and are perhaps some of the most salient issues to young people in G20 member states.

Growth and jobs creation

One of the key concerns that emerged from the 2013 G20 Leaders’ Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, was unemployment and underemployment. Recent World Bank figures suggest that as many as 600 million young people across the world aren’t working or studying. The lack of opportunities for young people to work and/or study is depriving G20 member states of using much needed human capital and preventing individuals from developing to their full potential.

The challenge for G20 is how to respond to these challenges in a much more subdued economic growth outlook. Part of the solution largely lies in G20 member states enabling the private sector to drive economic activity and to utilize the human capital available in the form of young people. Whatever the solution, the economic and social costs of having underutilized young people in the community are large, not just for governments but for the community at large. The window in which to respond to the challenge of better utilizing young people in the workplace and in education is closing and the cost of losing a large segment of the working population will continue to grow.

Global Citizenship

An observation made in the joint leaders’ declaration following the 2013 G20 Leaders’ Summit was that far too many citizens of G20 member states are yet to participate in the recovery following the Global Financial Crisis. While this manifests itself in problems such as under-utilizing young people in the employment market and the education sector, it also presents opportunities to respond to the problem in novel ways, beyond the realms of national governments. G20 member states can provide an environment for individuals to develop to their full potential- focusing on labour mobility and educational transfer between countries are priorities in this area.

As well as providing an opportunity for young people who may be underutilized in the economy to rise above challenging economic conditions, it also presents a crucial opportunity to strengthen the future of the global economy through enabling young people and entrepreneurs to access new markets, capital and resourcing outside their home state and to improve their global literacy.

Sustainable development

The headline stats on the G20 often focus on the fact it comprises 85% of GDP and more than 60% of the world’s population- what that fails to account for is that 60% of the world’s poor reside within the G20 too. Emerging markets present an opportunity to contribute approximately three-quarters of global economic growth. The Australian Presidency of the G20 has recognised the importance of development as ‘central’ to the 2014 G20 and it is imperative that young people also have regard to this in their deliberations at the Y20.

Sustainable development is about creating sustainable economic growth, in order to build a resilient and prosperous global economy. Important considerations under this topic include empowering development through building better investment environments and enhancing access to financial services as well as working to create a sustainable energy market.