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> G8, success or failure?
post Jul 8 2005, 09:06 PM
Post #1

suspending disbelief

February 2004

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The G8 summit has ended with an agreement to boost aid for developing countries by $50bn (£28.8bn).
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was also a commitment to find an end date for farm subsidies and a will to find agreement on trade liberalisation.

On climate change, he said an agreement had always been unlikely, but crucially the US had accepted that global warming was an issue.

NGOs are critical of the deal, calling it a "vastly disappointing result".

"The people have roared but the G8 has whispered," said Kumi Naidoo, chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty.

Mr Blair said trade discussions in Hong Kong later this year should yield an end date to agricultural subsidies.

Britain is to host a 1 November meeting on climate change, to assess progress.

Mr Blair said "only people who can change Africa ultimately are the Africans".

$3bn agreed for Palestinian Authority for investment in infrastructure.

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo described the deal as a "success".

G8 commits to training 20,000 peacekeepers for Africa.

African leaders to commit to democracy and good governance as part of the deal.

Debts of the 18 poorest countries to be forgiven.


I thought maybe this event would spawn a thread or two here but apparently the worlds most important summit doesn't make many waves here at AD... sad.gif

But, in the off chance that some one might have a few words to offer on this topic, I'd like to propse the following questions:

Have the G8 governments been responsible or generous or have they failed Africa?

"I would say we have moved neither forwards nor backwards. There is at least one country that is not prepared to make emissions reductions. The Bush administration is just not prepared to go as far as others are."

Tony Juniper, of Friends of the Earth, agreed that the communiqué would have looked very different if it was not for the United States.

"The Bush administration has again done its best to derail international action to tackle climate change, but this is by no means the end," he said.

Tony Blair has implied that the USA has agreed that global warming is a crucial issue and that a time table to tackle global warming has been agreed on. Will, or should America comply? Has there been any change in the US position at all?

Do you think the G8 governments even have the power to fulfill people's expectations?

This post has been edited by moif: Jul 8 2005, 09:07 PM
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post Jul 8 2005, 10:23 PM
Post #2

Tweedy Impertinence

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QUOTE(moif @ Jul 8 2005, 04:06 PM)
Have the G8 governments been responsible or generous or have they failed Africa? 
Do you think the G8 governments even have the power to fulfill people's expectations?  

I certainly believe the G8 leaders have the power to make a change even is most don't have the will.

As I understand it this G8 summit has accomplished more than almost any G8 before it. The G8 used to be a chat between already rich countries over how they could make more money. Thanks largely to Blair's leadership the focus has turned out to the rest of the world.

The G8 nations have not gone quite far enough on Africa but there has certainly been some improvement is forcing America to recognize the African issue which has been easily as ignored as Global Warming and is far more deadly.

Bush was already fertile soil for aid increases (it may seem counterintuitive but its true, support for aid is strong in evangelicals.) but we have seen him commit to doubling aid repeatedly this term.

...of course some of this is just hot air but aid numbers have risen even if they haven't really doubled.

I am certainly optimistic that with the strong leadership of the UK and the underlying work form the UN a breakthrough on African development is within reach.

Lastly I don't think the G8 is ignored in America more than other nations, rather its that the G8 didn't used to be too important in real policy and Americans are not yet wise to the unique nature of this year's summit.

The only thing I remember from past G8's are the anti-globalization protestors.
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post Jul 11 2005, 08:20 AM
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G8 summits usually end up going for the lowest common denominator - i.e. the weakest solution that suits everyone...I'm not suprised that this has happened - it is simply what happens when 8 powerful countries with their own agendas meet....

However a few things came out which were important:

George Bush signalled that the US would end agricultural subsidies if the EU did and Tony Blair suggesting that an end date to EU agricultural subsidies might be arranged. Now this all 'whatifs' and 'maybes' - but it is a few steps in the right direction and has significantly moved the focus of the G8 discussion on from last time (ending agricultural subsidies used to be a verboten subject, now its at least being discussed).

And I think that sums of aid are far less important than trying to minimise corruption and promote trade within African countries themselves.

Interestingly the level of violence seemed markedly lower than last time. There were a few clashes along Princes St in Edinburgh, but I think that protestors have started gained a great deal more respectability and acceptance nowadays (anarchists aside)...

I think the G8 could provde a breakthough on Africa, however I think that a worthwhile deal on global warming is going to be fairly pointless for a group that does not include China, India or Brazil - because if global warming is a result of fossil fuel combustion, then those 3 are going to be major users of fossil fuels over the next century or so.
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