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Objective: Poverty Reduction
Prior to Genoa, the Canadian government stated its intentions to focus on four key areas within the issue of poverty reduction: debt relief, action on infectious diseases; bridging the digital divide; and trade and development. Poverty reduction was the primary focus of the Genoa Summit, and as a result, Canada was successful in achieving progress in each of these four issue areas.
In terms of debt relief, the leaders were delighted in the advancement made over the past year with the HIPC initiative. Since Okinawa, the number of countries that have qualified for debt relief has increased from 9 to 23 bringing the total amount of relief to over $53 billion. In the G7 Statement, further progress was made in the agreement that, "as a minimum … 100% debt reduction of official development assistance (ODA) and eligible commercial claims for qualifying HIPC countries". Moreover, it was also agreed that relief to the least developed countries of the world be conditional on, "economic, structural, and 7social reforms, [as well as the] improved governance [strategies] to ensure the maximum benefit debt relief." These statements echo the position of the Canadian government that both the governments of the G8 and of the developing countries each have a role to play in devising viable development policies. It is important to note that Canada was recognized in Genoa for its significant efforts in debt reduction. U2 singer, Bono, a spokesperson for Drop the Debt and Jubilee praised Canada for its aggressive debt cancellation policies, hailing it as a leader in this area among the industrialized nations.
The action agreed to in Genoa on fighting infectious diseases was easily the most ambitious that the G8 has seen to date in this area. Again, Canada secured another key objective with the establishment of the new Global Health Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. At the Foreign Ministers meeting in Rome, Canada pledge $100US million to this fund, bringing its total to $1.3 billion. Based on Canada's population, this was a significant contribution relative to the other G8 members. This initiative also supports the current priorities and endeavours of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
With the endorsement of the DOT Force and the release of the Genoa Plan of Action, the G8 has positioned itself to move forward over the course of the next year in their efforts to bridge the digital divide. This is yet another success for the Canadian government who has continually expressed its great interests in increasing connectivity and establishing broad partnerships between the public and private sectors. The Canadian government has agreed to lead this initiative over the next year through their task force which will devise a plan for implementation to be discussed in Kananaskis, Alberta at the end of June 2002.
In regards to efforts in the area of trade and development, the G8 confirmed that open trade and investment drive global growth and poverty reduction. To this end, the G7 members agreed to support the launch of a new Round of global trade negotiations. This commitment again represents the completion of one of Canada's pre-summit objectives.
Objective: World Economy and International Trade
The Canadian government came to Genoa hoping to discuss both the slowdown in the international economy and the launch of a new trade round in Qatar in November 2001. The Canadian government stated clear objectives of increased openness, greater transparency, dialogue and concerns over the needs of LDCs. Pierre Pettigrew, Canada's Trade Minister, expressed that Canada seeks to promote greater transparency, increased openness, inclusion and dialogue, and to stimulate greater concern over the needs of Less Developed Countries (LDCs). Both the international monetary slowdown and preparations for the upcoming WTO Minister Conference were discussed in Genoa.
Several of Canada's objectives were included in the final G7/8 communiqué: "Open trade and investment drive global growth and poverty reduction. That is why we have agreed today to support the launch of an ambitious new round of global trade negotiations with a balanced agenda."
The Canadian government was pleased with the discussions in Genoa between the G7/8 leaders regarding the current economic slowdown. The Summit provided the G7/8 members an opportunity to share strategies and ideas for producing growth. The leaders agreed that an international recession would most likely be avoided and that growth could be expected in the final quarter of 2001. To this end, they pledged to "pursue policies that will contribute to global growth by enhancing strong productivity growth in a sound macroeconomic environment." In regards to international trade, the G7 members stated that "[I]ncreased private sector investment is essential to generate economic growth, increase productivity and raise living standards."
In addition to a commitment for a new round of talks on trade, Canada was able to secure many of its key objectives within the G7 Statement such as international fiscal transparency and an improved dispute mechanism for the upcoming WTO meeting in Qatar. While these commitments for trade are encouraging, it is important to recognise that the G7 has issued similar statements in the last few years but have failed to meet them. For example, the Okinawa Communiqué stated the G7/8 was " firmly committed to a new round of WTO trade negotiations with an ambitious, balanced and inclusive agenda."
While the outlook for climate change discussions in Genoa was grim, the results were very positive. The Canadian government went to Genoa intent on promoting the two main changes that it wanted to the Kyoto Protocol: greater credits for both carbon sinks and for the export non polluting sources of energy. Although the Canadian government was only able to obtain one of these changes, its compromise achieved a greater objective: salvaging the Kyoto Protocol.
The major progress in Genoa and Bonn was not evident in the Genoa Communiqué. Nevertheless, the success of these discussions became clear hours later with the agreement reached in Bonn to rescue the Protocol. This was largely the result of a compromise between Japan, Canada and the EU. Canada was able to obtain greater credits for carbon sinks, a position also supported by Japan, while they had to agree in exchange for tougher penalties for countries that do not meet their targets. Canada was unsuccessful in obtaining credits for the export of non-polluting sources of energy like nuclear power.
The Canadian government was very pleased with the outcome of the discussions in Bonn and Genoa and have stated their intentions to ratify Kyoto by 2002. Despite the lack of US participation, Canada and the remaining G8 members have agreed to continue working with the US within the UN framework. They intend to review the American action plan for climate change at COP7 in Marrakech this fall. They have also agreed to cooperate with the United States on climate-related science and research and technology transfer to developing countries.
In addition to the progress on climate change, Canada was successful in moving forward on the issues of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. In regards to the former, Canada secured a statement within the final Communiqué that the G8 members, "welcome the recent adoption of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and will strongly promote its early entry into force".
In terms of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Canada was also able to secure a commitment for discussions on the agenda of the Conference and creating a more inclusive preparatory process in order to involve developing countries and civil society.
Objective: Conflict Prevention
The issue of Conflict Prevention and, in particular, the areas of small arms, War-Affected Children, and conflict diamonds, were all identified as priorities for Canada at the Genoa Summit. These issues were addressed at the Foreign Minister's Meeting in Rome, and, as a result, were not largely dealt with at the G8 Summit in Genoa.
The conclusions reached at the G8 Foreign Minister's meeting identified "Global Challenges for Peace and Security" as a priority, and stated that conflict prevention was integral to international relations. The Ministers committed to working with the UN in particular to prevent conflict and reaffirmed their support of the Miyazaki initiatives.
In regard to the issue of small arms, Canada demonstrated its leadership role by engaging in the preparatory committee for the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (July 9-20, 2001) and, furthermore, by moving forward in the implementation of a detailed action plan, as well as a programme for compliance. These initiatives were made a priority at the Rome meeting and there was agreement among the Ministers to reach the goal of a comprehensive framework for a Programme of Action through the UN Conference.
The Ministers also acknowledged the progress made through the Kimberley Process in regard to the issue of the illicit trade in rough diamonds and armed conflict. Canada maintained its commitment to bring closure to the issue by supporting the international certification regime, which was established with the UN General Assembly Resolution 55/56 (December 2000). The Ministers reaffirmed their support of the certification regime and the full implementation of the provisions of the UN Resolution.
On issue of War-Affected Children, in which Canada has played a leading role internationally, the Ministers welcomed and reaffirmed the UN Security Council Resolution 1314 on measures to protect children in armed conflict, in addition to committing to the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Children in Armed Conflict. The Ministers also agreed that more focus should be placed on awareness raising projects.
In addition, the achievements of the UN in implementing the Brahimi recommendations on Civilian Policing were noted. However, the Ministers indicated that further efforts are needed to improve the UN's early warning capabilities as well as the potential financial consequences of the UNs initiatives. Finally, the Ministers recommitted to the issue area of conflict and development, noting the HIPC initiative as a top priority.
Two new issues areas brought up at the meeting include the contribution of women in the prevention of violent conflict and the role of the private sector. Canada's role in the development of these issues will be crucial considering Canada's role as host of the 2002 G8 Summit.
Outlook for 2002
The Genoa Communiqué has positioned Canada in an excellent position to host the G8 next year in Kananaskis, Alberta. The 2001 Summit signaled an important transition within the G8 towards a greater emphasis on addressing the issues facing developing nations. The Genoa Communiqué has provided Canada with a clear agenda for 2002. It can be expected that there will be a general focus on poverty reduction with particular emphasis placed on education, health, and bridging the digital divide. Although the next Summit will look to alleviating poverty in all developing countries, they have agreed to focus particularly on Africa.
In light of discussions among the leaders of the G8, we can expect that the format of the 2002 Summit will be significantly different from the Genoa Summit. Canada is committed to limiting the size of each delegation in order to return to the initial informal nature of the G7. To this end, the Canadian government may also seek to reduce the number of issues discussed in Kananaskis.
Throughout the Genoa 2001 Summit, the leaders expressed their frustration about the media focusing solely on the violence and destruction on the cobbled streets of Genoa rather than heralding the progress achieved within the heavily guarded red zone. It has already been predicted that the 2002 Summit in Kananaskis will be a meeting of historic progress. This is no doubt a result of the fact that the leaders have realized that the answer to their security concerns is not another barricade or young soldier but rather to focus their discussions on the issues that bring the people into the streets.
Prepared by: Bryn Gray, Melanie Martin, Michael Simpson and Jennifer Stanton, G8 Research Group, University of Toronto
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