Bush’s plans for the G8 Summit

Yesterday (July 2), George Bush described his agenda for the upcoming 2008 G8 Summit in Japan.  Here’s a White House press release containing the text of his speech.

Bush’s speech focuses on initiatives aimed at supporting developing nations.  He said he will urge the other G8 leaders to fulfill aid committments made at previous meetings, and discussed antiretroviral treatment (calling once again for Congress to re-authorize PEPFAR), the need for more health workers, and strategies for fighting hunger.  He also mentioned climate change and (suprise!) “the struggle against violent extremists.”

It’s good to see that Bush wants global health, poverty, and development to rank high on the G8 agenda.  Groups like the ONE Campaign have worked very hard in recent years to make these issues a major part of the G8 discussions.  Hopefully the leaders at the Summit will take these problems seriously, and not get sidetracked by contentious debates or pet foreign policy arguments.  (This has been known to happen in the past.)

Here’s an article from the Kaiser Network that discusses what Bush said, stressing his PEPFAR mention.  You can read Bush’s whole speech here, or click below for excerpts.

Excerpts from Bush’s speech:

          At recent summits, G8 countries have made pledges to help developing nations address challenges, from health care to education, to corruption. Now we need to show the world that the G8 can be accountable for its promises and deliver results. As I said the other day, we need people who not only make promises, but write checks, for the sake of human rights and human dignity, and for the sake of peace.
          Accountability is really important when it comes to our work on the continent of Africa. In 2005, G8 leaders promised to double development assistance to Africa by 2010. America is on track to meet our commitments. And in Japan, I’ll urge other leaders to fulfill their commitments, as well.
          We must also fulfill our commitments in the battle against HIV/AIDS and malaria. I’ve asked Congress to reauthorize and expand the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, doubling our funding for this vital effort. It’s very important that Congress reauthorize this plan. […]

          It’s important that over the next five years that we support antiretroviral treatment for approximately 2.5 million people, that we prevent 12 million new AIDS infections, and that we care for 12 million people also affected by HIV/AIDS — including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children. Last year, the G8 agreed to meet those commitments; they agreed to match. They also agreed to help us reduce malaria in affected countries by half. And I just — I hope that these countries understand the great promise and hope that comes when we help alleviate this suffering. And so one of my really important agenda items is going to — is going to rally our partners to make commitments and meet commitments.
          We’ll also discuss additional steps to confront some other challenges, such as the need to train health care workers in G8 partner countries in Africa. It’s one thing to say we’re going to help people with their — deal with disease, but a lot of these countries need workers that are capable of helping, of reaching out to people in need. We should set a goal to treat at least 75 percent of the people with neglected tropical diseases in the most affected countries. We’ve got to work to confront higher food prices. […]

          On the food issue, I’ve announced that the United States would make available nearly $1 billion in new resources to bolster global food security. Once again I’ll be going to the G8 and talking about the great compassion and concern of the American people in addressing problems.
          At Toyako I’ll also ask leaders of the G8 to make other important strategic moves to alleviate hunger, such as increasing the shipments of food, fertilizers and seeds to countries in need. It’s one thing to talk about the problem; this is a practical way to help countries deal with the lack of food.

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~ by h.e.g. on July 3, 2008.

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