G8 Summit Overview

As it so often does, the BBC comes to the rescue with concise and accessible coverage of a big event and its attending issues.  It has some really helpful articles on the G8 Summit.  I’ll highlight two of them:

G8 summit: How did leaders fare?

This article from James Robbins, BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, is both informative and kind of fun.  It evaluates the performance of each G8 leader.  From Robbins’s comments, Britain’s Gordon Brown emerges as my G8 hero:

Mr Brown wore down fellow leaders by bombarding them with fact and detailed argument to win support for a strong statement on Zimbabwe, to advance collective commitments on climate change, and to stop what threatened to be wholesale G8 retreat on aid for Africa.

It’s nice to see Brown following in the footsteps of former PM Tony Blair, who worked hard to keep African issues at the top of the agenda at the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland.

G8 summit: The key issues

Titled “Summit round-up” elsewhere on the BBC site, this page has overviews of four, well, key issues discussed at the Summit (oil, aid, climate, and Zimbabwe).  This is helpful stuff, so I’m going to include the full text of international development correspondent David Loyn‘s section, “Recycled promises on aid?”.  Loyn doesn’t mention AIDS directly, but that was a big part of the discussions on aid for Africa – and besides, AIDS is intimately connected to other development issues, including food and hunger.

The G8 did not promise fresh funding from rich nations to tackle the food crisis, but pointed out that those present had committed $10bn (£5bn) since the start of the year, to help to feed the hungry and provide seeds for farmers to plant this year.

The closing statement appealed to all countries to assist in meeting the demands of the World Food Programme and other bodies coping with the crisis.

Agricultural investment, a very low international priority in recent years, will be given an added boost by the demand for a reform of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. The world economic slowdown has led to fears of increased protectionism, and the leaders appealed to food-producing countries not to hoard food, but rather to “make available a part of their surplus for countries in need”.

The summit also tried to give political leadership to attempts to conclude the Doha round of trade talks when ministers from around the world gather in Geneva on 21 July. The trade round, begun in Doha in 2001, was designed to provide better opportunities for the poorest countries in the world, but has become bogged down and will collapse unless a deal is agreed this month.

On Africa, speculation that the final statement would reverse earlier commitments was wide of the mark. But there were no new promises of aid, and the failure to fund the ambitious deal signed at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 has enabled non-governmental organisations like Action Aid to criticise the Japan summit for “recycling already broken promises”.

Oxfam said: “The G8 failed to rise to the challenge of a world in crisis.”

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~ by h.e.g. on July 10, 2008.

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