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General Analysis on the G7/G8/G20


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More Than Just a Talk Show (June 17, 2011)

The G20 faces a significant number of challenges that threaten its role in stabilizing a fragile international political economy. G20 decision making processes lack structure, transparency and are not inclusive. While many critics argue that the G20 must establish a more typically institutionalized structure, similar to the IMF or WTO, this author claims that a more formal organization is “not desirable”. Instead, the G20 should adopt principles and rules for its proceedings, but stay flexible. This will allow the group to be effective as an avenue for fostering consensus. Furthermore, transparency and representation could be increased by including civil society actors and representatives from states not included in the G20. (China Daily)


G8 – Who Should Be a Member? (July 16, 2008)

Many G8 leaders, like French President Nicolas Sarkozy, support expanding G8 membership to China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa. Others argue that the G8 should be limited to "industrialized democracies" and they oppose extending membership to China and advocate removing Russia from the group. But, this Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article says that the G8 membership must reflect shifts in global power to maintain its influence over global affairs. For example, an international agreement on climate change should include China and India whose booming economies contribute greatly to greenhouse gas emissions.

G5 Statement (July 8, 2008)

The leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, known as the G5, issued a statement at the July 2008 Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit. The G5 called on leaders of richer countries to reduce trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2020. The G5 also advocated reform within international institutions, especially of the UN Security Council. (Press Information Bureau, Government of India)

G8 Fails to Set Climate World Alright (July 8, 2008)

G8 leaders agreed to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2050 at their July 2008 meeting in Japan. But, over 200 countries already agreed to this target when they signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth Summit in 1992. The BBC says, G8 leaders should take concrete steps to reduce emissions rather than restate targets and quarrel over setting a baseline year to calculate emissions. G8 countries are responsible for 62% of global carbon emissions but its leaders are "crawling forward on emissions cuts at a time when giant leaps and bounds are needed."

One Practical Way to Improve The State of The World: Turn G8 Into G14 (January 24, 2008)

From the backdrop of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Timothy Garton Ash from the Guardian proposes that the G8 should become the G14, with China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia as new members. The author feels that with this composition, the Group could become a representative ‘concert of world powers' and an essential complement to a reformed UN.


UN Official Calls for No More G8 Summits (June 8, 2007)

This OneWorld article reports on the "Alternative Summit," organized by a group of social justice and environmental NGOs to oppose the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm. Speaking at the Alternative Summit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Jean Ziegler called for an end to G8 summits, arguing that the world's wealthiest countries have promoted a globalization that has increased poverty among the poor. The UN representative also called for the elimination of farm subsidies by the G8 countries.

The Dilemma of G8 Protest (June 6, 2007)

Although the mobilization of activists at the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 summit gave "unprecedented" media exposure to the social justice movement, it had the unfortunate side effect of lending attention and legitimacy to the group of eight major industrial nations. Jens Martens of Global Policy Forum argues that, in making such broad demands as "save the climate" and "solve the problems of Africa," civil society groups reinforce the idea of G8 members as "omnipotent saviors of the universe." Martens proposes the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a more equitable and democratic policy making body. But the G8 leaders, who are a minority among ECOSOC's 54 members, have prevented the council from gaining the necessary authority.

Don't Listen to What the Rich World's Leaders Say – Look at What They Do (June 5, 2007)

This Guardian commentary criticizes the G8's presentation of itself "as a force for unmitigated good." Arguing that G8 leaders have not only failed to fulfill pledges to end poverty, but have in some cases actively exacerbated it, the author calls for an end to "the undemocratic power the G8 nations exert over the rest of the world."

G8: The Aid Gap (June 5, 2007)

This openDemocracy article reports that far too little attention is given to the use and impact of international aid in Africa. The author highlights three key trends which directly affect the quality and distribution of aid and argues that these trends always benefit the most powerful while ignoring women's needs and rights. The first trend for example relates to the fact that aid is usually given to multilateral aid organizations such as the EU, UN and World Bank and not directly to the people which would ensure greater equality.

G8 Makes Room at Table for Emerging Five (June 1, 2007)

Reflecting their growing economic and political power, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa will attend the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Among the issues high on the summit agenda is climate change and an international agreement on environmental protection.China and India are two of the world's worst polluters, but as developing nations, they do not have to abide by the Kyoto Protocol. This Inter Press Service article points out that the European Union is pressuring them to begin using cleaner energy resources.

The World Is Still Waiting (May 11, 2007)

This Oxfam report calls on the G8 countries to fulfill their promise of increasing international aid to US$50 billion per year by 2010. Based on current aid trends, the G8 risk missing this target by "a staggering US$30 billion" – an amount which Oxfam estimates has the potential to "save at least five million lives." Despite their pledges to significantly increase international donations – especially to Africa – aid from G8 countries actually decreased in 2006 for the first time in almost a decade.

G8 Development Ministers Seek Ways to Meet African Aid Goals (March 26, 2007)

Despite renewed promises to double aid to Africa and to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015, a meeting of the G8 development ministers is unlikely to produce any concrete policy changes, reports this Deutsche Welle article. Although some of the ministers claim that the G8 members have made substantial progress toward "democratization, social reforms and economic growth" in developing countries, experts argue that more aid money and increased cooperation between North and South are necessary to reach those goals.

Chairman's Summary: Shadow G-8 (February 9, 2007)

Joseph Stiglitz summarizes a discussion on "global growth with responsibility" by "a diverse group of concerned citizens from around the world," including leading economists and former government officials. The resulting consensus calls for a reformed G8 process which would enable participation from all countries "to discuss informally the major issues facing the world," with a focus on the four immediate problems of climate change, global imbalances, global governance, and poverty, especially in Africa. (Initiative for Policy Dialogue)

Skeletons in the Cupboard: Illegitimate Debt Claims of the G7 (February 9, 2007)

A study on debt relief by eight NGOs reveals that G7 governments knowingly lent money to corrupt and repressive regimes. The report argues that many of the loans were intended to promote business abroad for G7 companies in "unviable projects," and calls for the complete cancellation of billions of dollars of this "odious debt." (Eurodad)

Controlling the Locusts: Baby Steps Against Hedge Funds (February 8, 2007)

This Der Spiegel article reports that, without greater international regulation, the collapse of any one hedge fund could devastate the world's financial markets, hinder economic growth, and cause mass international unemployment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the world's leading industrial countries to discuss increased oversight on the US$1.3 trillion hedge fund industry at the February 10 G8 meeting in Essen, Germany.


Russian Civil Society: The G8 and After (July 19, 2006)

According to this openDemocracy article, the Russian government attempted to use the Civil G8 Forum and other NGO events to demonstrate the country's commitment to democracy and human rights. On the other hand, local NGOs took this opportunity to express their recommendations and concerns about laws that limit their autonomy. Despite the flurry of activity during the 2006 G8 summit, the author concludes that the relationship between Russian NGOs and the government will not improve.

Alternative Reality at the G8 (July 19, 2006)

This New York Times editorial suggests that the 2006 G8 conference could have served as an opportunity for the G8 to "prove its worth." The gathering gave leaders a chance to issue proposals to a world struggling with high oil prices, escalating conflict in the Middle East, the debate over Iran's nuclear position and stalled trade talks. Instead, the leaders' lack of action demonstrated the "pointless and embarrassing" reality of these meetings.

For G8, Geopolitics Likely to Trump Economics (July 14, 2006)

The author of this Christian Science Monitor article highlights the political and economic debates that precede the July 2006 G8 summit. Firstly, the G8 countries disagree on economic issues such as reduced subsidies in the Doha Round, the US current account deficit and Iran's role in the energy supply. Secondly, oil experts expect the US and Russia to clash on energy security proposals. Still, officials from both countries speak eagerly about negotiating Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization and increased US-Russian cooperation on civilian nuclear arrangements. The author suggests that the increasingly geopolitical focus at the G8 reflects Russia's renegotiated role as a world power in the post Cold-War era and the US apprehension about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Global Vaccine Initiative Hits Snag (July 7, 2006)

Drug companies tend not to develop or produce vaccines for infectious diseases that poor nations need because these countries cannot afford the drugs. Despite an agreement to fund vaccines in February 2006, the G8 actively dispute the method for funding such vaccines. The US opposes an airline tax like the one adopted by France, while Germany and Japan resist making substantial financial commitments, further delaying this vaccine initiative. (Wall Street Journal)

What 'Energy Security' Really Means (July 3, 2006)

The 2006 G8 summit in Russia will focus on energy security, although the different nations may not agree on the best means to reach their goals. This Washington Post article suggests that "real" energy security will not come from nationalistic measures since an individual country cannot prevent natural disasters or terrorist attacks that affect global oil supplies. The author sees the energy dilemma as a topic for international cooperation because the relationship between consumers, producers, and the oil market directly affects the entire energy-dependent international community.

Blair Promises New Africa Focus (June 26, 2006)

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has convened the Africa Progress Panel, an organization that monitors whether G8 governments fulfill their pledges of international aid. The panel will produce an annual report for the G8, UN, and Africa Partnership Forum to maintain international awareness of development progress. Still, some organizations doubt the capacity of yet another monitoring organization to affect G8 policies. (BBC)

The View from the Summit- Gleneagles G8 One Year on (June 9, 2006)

Oxfam International reports that although the G8 aid and debt relief initiative allows poor countries to spend more money on healthcare and education, the G8 countries are falling short on their promises. The G8 countries count debt relief as aid, making aid statistics look higher than they really are. International donor countries must increase their aid in the years to come if they plan on meeting the pledge of US $50 billion made at the Gleneagles summit.

Russia's Challenges as Chair of the G-8 (March 2006)

This policy brief from the Institute for International Economics critically analyzes Russia's qualifications to chair the G8. The article argues that the G8 members must insist on certain democratic standards as criteria for involvement. To achieve a better world representation, the author suggests expanding the membership of the group to include China, India and Brazil.


Leaks Reveal G8 Debt Deal Faces Funding Shortfall (August 2, 2005)

Leaked World Bank documents suggest that the G8 countries have pledged to finance only the first three years of the poor country debt relief package they agreed on in July 2005. To fulfill the G8's promises, the Bank may have to shift funds from other programs. The documents also call into question the G8's promise to immediately cancel the full value of the debt, and suggest that the G8 will only service poor countries' debt until they pay off their loans. (World Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign)

The Downside of the G8 Debt Deal (July 8, 2005)

The Group of Eight (G8) decision to relieve the debts of the eighteen most indebted countries has been welcomed as a step forward in debt relief. In order to qualify for debt relief, however, the eighteen countries had to "jump through hoops," such as privatizing their public services and resources and liberalizing their economies. Forced privatization and liberalization can be even more crippling for a vulnerable economy than the burden of debt. Debt relief must be unconditional to be effective. (BBC)

Africa's New Best Friends (July 5, 2005)

Debt and poverty are only symptoms of Africa's true problem: a global power deficit. This deficit allows Group of Eight nations and their corporations "to run other people's lives." Without global constraints on these corporations, they will continue to impoverish millions of Africans. While they hype the "make poverty history" rhetoric, the G8 leaders deny that there is a "conflict between ending poverty and business as usual" for the corporations that have plundered and pillaged Africa's resources for profit. (Guardian)

We Must Put More on the Plate to Fight Poverty (July 5, 2005)

Under international pressure, the Group of Eight (G8) leaders committed to increase aid to Africa, but far more support is needed to fight global poverty than what the leaders pledged in Gleneagles. The Bush administration "should rethink its modest commitments," according to this Washington Post article, for humanitarian reasons as well as for security concerns. Poverty contributes not only to the spread of terrorism, but also increases the risk of epidemics, "crime, narcotics trafficking, environmental degradation and weapons proliferation."

Among Ordinary Africans, G-8 Seems Out of Touch (July 3, 2005)

While African people express gratitude for the "outpouring of sentiment" and concern over their livelihoods, they feel that "there is a dangerous disconnect" between what rich countries see as solutions and what Africans believe they need. Trade barriers, agricultural subsidies, and tied aid remain as external obstacles. Within Africa, corruption and lack of infrastructure impede any progress on poverty reduction. Without addressing the needs of the people and the root causes of poverty, no amount of debt relief or aid will help Africa out of poverty. (Washington Post)

"Greenwashing" Does Not Make the World Cleaner (July 3, 2005)

Despite scientific evidence that carbon emissions accelerate global warming, governments have done little to regulate corporations, the major offenders in greenhouse emissions. Global corporations, meanwhile, spend millions on public relations campaigns that depict them as environmentally friendly. Group of Eight governments operate similarly, hyping up their commitments to the environment while they remain the same: powerful governments "backed by industry." This Inter Press Service article asks civil society to hold governments accountable and ensure that "people's voices are louder than the voices of corporations.">

Africa Needs Food Security, Not Experimental Crops (July 1, 2005)

Although biotechnology corporations—and some governments—are promoting genetically modified (GM) crops as a "miracle solution" to world hunger, the use of GM crops could "do more damage than good." Rather than investing millions of dollars in a "grandiose biological experiment" without a clear idea of how it will help African farmers and consumers, governments and corporations should investigate alternative, region-specific solutions to poverty and hunger. (Inter Press Service)

G8 Countries Defying Arms Embargoes, Says Report (June 22, 2005)

Countries in the Group of Eight (G8) are providing arms to regimes that violate human rights, despite embargoes. A report published by Amnesty, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms states that the global arms trade threatens and undermines the G8's efforts at humanitarian aid, including their commitment to debt relief. Although providing arms to abusive regimes poses a clear threat to human rights and stability, rich countries have not "made it a genuine priority" to stop the arms trade.

Doha Declaration Adopted: Accord to Revitalize S-S Cooperation (June 16, 2005)

In preparation for the Group of Eight summit in Scotland, countries from the Group of 77 met to adopt their Doha Declaration and the Doha Plan of Action. The Group of 132 poor countries called for increased South-South cooperation and trade, more focus on sustainable development, and a more open and fair global trading system. (Bernama)

Devilish Details: Implications of the G7 Debt Deal (June 14, 2005)

The debt deal struck by the G7 ministers is not the "historic breakthrough" that the ministers claim. Rather than cancelling 100 percent of debt, NGOs calculate that the deal only cancels 10 percent of the needed debt relief, in only 18 of the 62 indebted countries. This deal also only includes debts to three multilateral institutions, while there are currently 19 multilateral creditors lending money to poor countries. The G7 must make a larger effort if it is serious about debt relief and poverty reduction. (European Network on Debt and Development)

G8 Cancellation of World Bank, IMF Debt: "Step Forward" (June 13, 2005)

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven have agreed to write off debts owed to the World Bank, IMF, and African Development Bank for the 18 countries that have completed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Although many NGOs have criticized the HIPC initiative for requiring privatization and liberalization of markets, they recognize the agreement on debt relief as a step in the right direction. (Bretton Woods Project)

G8 Finance Ministers' Conclusions on Development (June 11, 2005)

After years of discussion, the Group of Eight has finally agreed to cancel the debt of the world's poorest nations. This document presents the conclusions of the G8 finance ministers. Integral to their decision is the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda and the removal of trade barriers in poor countries, although agricultural subsidies in rich countries are mysterously absent from the debate. (HM Treasury)

Bush Maintains Opposition to Doubling Aid for Africa (June 2, 2005)

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, as host of the next Group of Eight meeting in Scotland, has set an agenda where debt relief and international aid play heavily into the program. Although European countries have committed themselves to an overall increase in aid, the US will not follow suit, citing the complex "budgetary process." While African countries struggle with crises of food and security, US President Bush is staunchly opposed to any increase in aid. (New York Times)

In the Balance: Why Debts Must Be Canceled Now to Meet the Millennium Development Goals (June 2005)

This NGO briefing paper by Jubilee Debt Campaign, ActionAid UK, and Christian Aid argues that if the world is going to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the G8 must extend debt relief to all poor countries, not just those that fulfill the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) criteria. The current debt crisis has trapped these poor countries in "a cycle of poverty and powerlessness," that the richest and most powerful nations have created and perpetuated.

Debt Cancellation: Historic Victories, New Challenges (May 2005)

Ten years ago, mainstream politicians scoffed at debt cancellation as absurd. Today, 100% multilateral debt relief is on the top of the agenda for the meeting of the Group of Seven/Group of Eight in Scotland. How did a once "radical" idea become a major global issue? The ensuing debate illustrates that, ultimately, debt is only one element of "the system of economic neoliberalism" that has deepend the divide between rich and poor. Even if 100% debt relief is achieved, poor countries "still face steep barriers to exercising true self-determination." (Foreign Policy In Focus)

World Leaders Agree Poor Countries Need Debt Relief, But Can't Agree on Plan (April 18, 2005)

The G7 countries continue to disagree on how to provide debt relief for world's poorest nations. Rich countries have discussed at least four different debt cancellation plans, of which Britain's initiative would involve selling some the International Monetary Fund's gold reserves, a move the United States opposes. African countries and anti-debt activists say the slow progress costs lives because poor countries have to use their scarce financial resources for debt service instead of providing basic health services for their people. (OneWorld)

Debt Cancellation Should Be Considered (April 15, 2005)

The multilateral debt that African nations owe to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund inflicts a "crippling burden" on economic and social progress in the region, says this Seattle Post-Intelligencer opinion piece. After years of activist pressure, rich countries are finally beginning to recognize the necessity of canceling the debt, but cannot agree on a practical plan on how to reach this goal. Pointing out that "time is of the essence," the authors call on the G7 countries to make quick decisions and to cancel 100 percent of poor countries' debt. "Anything less [...] will fail to resolve the debt crisis," argue the authors.

All Talk and No Action (February 25, 2005)

In 1999, G7 leaders announced they would cancel 90 percent of the debt for 42 highly indebted poor countries. But six years later, the debt has only increased. This Focus on the Global South article asks why poor countries should believe the G7 states are any more serious about the vague promises they made in February 2005.

People Power Gets to G7 (February 3, 2005)

British demonstrators effectively set poverty reduction as the main agenda for the G7 finance ministers' meeting by using the political muscle of Nelson Mandela, who called for increased international aid, debt relief and trade justice at a London rally. The British "Make Poverty History" campaign joins the Global Campaign for Action Against Poverty as "one of the most powerful movements ever to gather against world poverty," reports Inter Press Service.

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