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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Youngsters stage 'C8' gathering
Ewan McGregor and C8 delegates
Ewan McGregor with some of the C8 delegates
Young people from the world's poorest and richest nations have gathered in Scotland to host their own version of the G8 summit.

The "C8" summit in Dunblane saw the 11 to 18-year-olds discuss issues like poverty, HIV/Aids and education.

The delegates will produce a manifesto which will be presented to G8 leaders at Gleneagles.

The Unicef event was opened by the actor Ewan McGregor and young Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Mr McGregor is a Unicef ambassador and was joined by the 17-year-old BBC Young Musician of the Year at the start of the three-day event at the Dunblane Hilton Hydro.

He said: "At stake, there is one preventable death every three seconds. Nearly 11 million children die every year from preventable diseases.

"More than 100 million children are unable to go to school, there are 15 million children orphaned by AIDS throughout the world and there are one billion children living in poverty around the globe.

"Next week at the G-8 summit these eight leaders are going to have at their finger tips the power to make extraordinary changes in the world, truly to make poverty history for these people."

'Stop children's suffering'

The eight representatives from the poorer nations have travelled to Scotland from Bhutan, Moldova, Yemen, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lesotho and Bolivia.

They were joined by eight counterparts from the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

Together they made up the C8 forum for what was the first event of its kind to be staged by Unicef.

C8 delegate Aminata Palmer from Sierra Leone
Aminata Palmer from Sierra Leone is one of the C8 delegates

Eleven-year-old Aminata Palmer, from Sierra Leone, was among the Third World delegates and has high hopes for the G8 summit.

She said: "I want the G8 leaders to help stop suffering among children in the world. People are suffering - especially in my country.

"They have the power and money to change things - they have everything. I don't know how they change things, but they will."

A similar event comprising school groups from across the UK and the rest of the G8 countries is being run in Edinburgh called the J8, or Junior 8.

'Real contribution'

The 13 to 16-year-old delegates will also draw up a J8 communiqué which will be presented to the G8 leaders during the full summit this week.

Pupils from Waid Academy in Anstruther and Wallace High School in Stirling are among those taking part.

Commenting on the importance of the event, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "Young people can make a real contribution to the debates that must take place on climate change and poverty in Africa.

"J8 is a great chance for schoolchildren from different countries to form friendships and learn from each other."

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