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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>Group of 8 Summary

Group of 8

Article Summary   by:Ganges     Original Author: Anurag Gangal
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As of now, politically, economically and militarily the most
powerful nations of the world constitute Group of Eight or G8 nations. Current
members of G8 are Canada, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Russia,
United Kingdom and United States. These
countries, especially since the G8 Gleneagles Summit, 6-8 July 2005 at
Perthshire, Scotland, have become increasing concerned about global problem
number one, i.e., “poverty”(Gangal and Gangal, 1984).

Various types of , as it were, onslaughts on international entities
in general and developed countries in particular have led to two immediate
effects in this context. First, evolution and increasingly widening role of G8.
Secondly, Group of Eight countries’ rising concern for poverty in general and
in Africa in particular. This has led not only
to the formation but also to strengthening of G8 from time to time. The fabric
of G8 is engulfing in its fold ever more areas of security, trade, development
and other human concerns including environment and sustainable growth and
advancement perspectives.

Indeed, how it all started?

The ‘collapse’ of the Brettonwoods system in 1971, formation of
Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1967, Yom Kippur War of
1973 the 1973 Oil Crisis, economic recession and stagflation in 1970s are the major
factors leading to emergence of G8 (Tinbergen, 1977. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis ).

Their concern for poverty also has apparent reasons. Among
developing and underdeveloped nations, Africa alone
has about 170 million people living in subhuman circumstances with almost nothing
but garbage to eat daily. This is, indeed, a vast potential of human resource going
waste while living under severe conditions. Future of the world, to a great
extent, lies in proper prospective development of these widespread pockets of
poverty and squalor. G8, as such, has evolved from a ‘Library Group’ to G8
today.

G8 Research Group at the University
of Toronto provides a
very concise account of G8’s evolution. It says:

Since 1975, the heads of state or government
of the major industrial democracies have been meeting annually to deal with the
major economic and political issues facing their domestic societies and the
international community as a whole. The six countries at the first summit, held
at Rambouillet, France,
in November 1975, were France,
the United States, Britain, Germany,
Japan and Italy (sometimes
referred to as the G6). They were joined by Canada
at the San Juan Summit of 1976 in Puerto Rico,
and by the European Community at the London Summit of 1977. From then on,
membership in the Group of Seven, or G7, was fixed, although 15 developing
countries' leaders met with the G7 leaders on the eve of the 1989 Paris Summit,
and the USSR and then Russia
participated

in a post-summit dialogue with the G7 since 1991. Starting with the

1994 Naples Summit, the G7 met with Russia at each summit (referred to as the P8 or Political Eight).
The Denver Summit of the Eight was a milestone, marking full Russian
participation in all but financial and certain economic discussions; and the
1998 Birmingham Summit saw full Russian participation, giving birth to the
Group of Eight, or G8 (although the G7 continued to function along side the
formal summits). At the Kananaskis Summit in Canada
in 2002, it was announced that Russia
would host the G8 Summit in 2006, thus completing its process of becoming a
full member (http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/what_is_g8.html
see also http://www.g8online.org/ , http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/ ).

G8, at the latest Gleneagles Summit,
has covered several areas of contemporary challenges to international
community. One of the major concerns has been the question of poverty in Africa. It is for the first time that African continent received
special attention at Gleneagles Summit although Africa has appeared at the
agenda of G8 at its every Summit since the year 2000 (The Gleneagles Communiqué, section on Africa, 2005).

At Gleneagles Summit, The international
community committed itself to eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These
are to be achieved by 2015. Main targets among these include: ‘making poverty
history’, dealing with HIV and AIDS and malaria. Another resolution is that every
child must receive primary education. Progress towards meeting these goals will
have to be discussed at latter meetings. All these

challenges are having the most threatening dimensions in
Africa, especially in the sub Saharan Africa. Prime
Minister Tony Blair, therefore, made Africa a
priority region for the G8 Summiteers at Gleneagles. The comprehensive package
agreed at Gleneagles promises:

1.A doubling of aid by 2010 - an
extra $50 billion worldwide and $25 billion for Africa;

2.Writing-off immediately the
debts of 18 of the world's poorest countries, most of which are in Africa. This is worth $40 billion now, and as much as $55
billion as more countries qualify;

3.Writing off $17 billion of Nigeria's debt,
in the biggest single debt deal ever;

4.A commitment to end all export
subsidies. A date for this, probably 2010, should be agreed at the World Trade
Organisation's Ministerial in December. The G8 have also committed to reducing
domestic subsidies, which distort trade;

5.Developing countries will
"decide, plan and sequence their economic policies to fit with their own
development strategies, for which they should be accountable to their
people";

6.As close to universal access to
HIV/AIDS treatments as possible by 2010;

7.Funding for treatment and bed
nets to fight malaria, saving the lives of over 600,000 children every year;

8.Full funding to totally
eradicate Polio from the world;

9.By 2015 all children will have
access to good quality, free and compulsory education and to basic health care,
free where a country chooses to provide it;

10.Up to an extra 25,000 trained
peacekeeping troops, helping the Africa Union to better respond to security
challenges like Darfur (http://www.g8.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename =OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1094235520151).

G8 invited about several underdeveloped and developing nations also
at Gleneagles Summit. Heads of State and Government form these countries
delivered addresses to the Summit.
This is clearly a sign of extending partnership to poorer nations in the global
quest for development, peace and security.
Published: May 24, 2006   
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