Overall Grade: B
ENVIRONMENT GRADE: C
Germany's main objective heading into the 2001 Genoa summit was to deal effectively with the environment, specifically the issue of climate change and the subsequent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. In light of the opposition of the Bush administration to certain provisions of the protocol, and the firm commitment by European leaders to ratify the present convention, this was an ambitious objective. However the issue of Kyoto ratification proved to be too contentious an issue for a common solution to be found, for substantial G8 action to be achieved, and more importantly for a consensus to be built that would have facilitated a ratification of the protocol. Despite becoming a major issue of the Genoa summit, and the subject of numerous bilateral and multilateral talks, Germany was not able to change American skepticism about the current provisions of the Kyoto protocol, nor were the Europeans able to gain a firm Canadian or Japanese commitment to ratification.
The final communique recognizes explicitly that "there is currently disagreement on the Kyoto Protocol and its ratification." Overall Genoa achieved very little on the subject. While the communique does mention that the G8 recognizes "the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" the Genoa discussions failed to tackle far more pressing issues, namely bridging the gap between the United States and Europe or finding common solutions that would have secured the future of the Kyoto process. In light of this failure to achieve substantial progress on Kyoto, and despite making the environment a top priority of bilateral talks with the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Canada, Germany was only able to merely express satisfaction with the fact that the leaders had extensively discussed the issues, and that some common ground had been found.
However the Genoa summit generally failed to produce substantial results on determining the future of the Kyoto Protocol and thus scores poorly. With the future of the agreement in danger, and a general consensus that the European Union and the United States are moving farther apart on the main points of contention in the Protocol, the small steps that Germany was able to achieve far fall short of the expectations that preceeded the summit.
DEBT GRADE: A
On the issue of debt relief Germany was able to achieve its major objectives at Genoa. Before the summit the German position clearly hoped to adopt a two-tier approach to debt relief combining both long-term and short-term solutions to heavily endebted countries. Moreover in the weeks leading up to Genoa, Germany clearly stated that it applauded the Italian desire to make debt relief, through the ‘Beyond Debt Relief' initiative, a priority at Genoa, and pledged full support for Italian efforts to achieve substantial progress through this initiative. Finally Germany expressed a strong desire to build upon the HIPC initiative initally launched at the Cologne summit in 1999. The final communique responds to all these goals.
Provisions within the final communique include forgiving 53 billion dollars of debt to HIPC countries as a short-term solution aimed at stimulating faster economic growth. However long-term solutions are also mentioned in the final communique. Among these commitments is the encouragement of "strong domestic policies (…) designed to lead to a lasting exit from unsustainable debt" and the Beyond Debt Relief initiative, which includes three major goals: greater participation by developing countries in the global trading system, increased private investment, and initiatives to promote health, education, and food security.
Overall the issue of debt relief was made a top priority at Genoa by the Italian presidency and given substantial attention by the leaders. As a result, Germany's objective of creating a comprehensive strategy for debt relief including long-term and short-term solutions, as well as public and private sector involvement, was achieved with great success.
HEALTHGRADE: A –
In the weeks leading up to the Genoa summit Germany expressed a desire to help developing nations not only through debt relief, but also by concentrating efforts on health issues, most importantly the issue of AIDS. The German government has made the developing world, and most importantly Africa, a major priority of its foreign policy. Accordingly Germany came to Genoa with high hopes of not only solving the issue of debt relief, but also on achieving substantial progress on development issues such as health.
This objective was achieved on the first day of the summit, as the leaders of the G8 established a 1.3 billion dollar Global Health Fund to fight the most lethal infectious diseases, most importantly AIDS but also Malaria and Tuberculosis. Germany's efforts to fulfill this objective commenced even before the Genoa summit, starting in the weeks leading up to the summit. On July 13th chancellor Schroeder already promised UN General Secretary Kofi Annan 300 million marks (150 million dollars) for a health fund to be set up at the summit, which became the Global Health Fund established at Genoa.
Overall Germany demonstrated its commitment to health issues and Africa before the summit even began, and followed these efforts at Genoa with a firm commitment to seeing health figure prominently on the agenda. It contributed substantially to one of the world's most serious efforts to date to deal with the AIDS epidemic, and it showed support for the inclusion of the private sector and civil society in such efforts (as well as African leaders in the ‘Outreach' session on the summit's first day). Therefore Germany must be applauded for its efforts to help the developing world, and thus scores well on this objective.
WORLD ECONOMYGRADE: B +
In light of the current worldwide economic slowdown, and more importantly because of Germany's current domestic economic prospects for growth, which according to a study published just before the summit are to be no larger than 1% in 2002, Germany was keen to make the world economy a top priority at Genoa. Among Germany's most pressing concerns was the launch of a new Round of WTO talks by the end of the year, encouraging higher levels of private investment and trade in the world, and building consensus on measures aimed at stimulating the international economy, most notably between Japan, the United States, and the European Union. Overall the Genoa summit responded to Germany's objectives.
Despite the failed negotiations at Seattle in 1999, the leaders pledged at Genoa to launch a new Round of WTO talks at Doha, Qatar in November 2001. Discussions at Genoa, both bilateral and multilateral, also called for greater levels of trade and strenghening the WTO as key goals for reviving a world economy increasingly threatened by a sharp economic downturn. Germany was especially pleased with point 11 of the communique, which reaffirmed the importance of trade and investment in fuelling economic growth. As a trade dependent nation, and a country with considerable influence in the international economic system, Germany stands to benefit from such measures.
While not extensively mentioned in the final communique, discussions on the world economy produced by the Finance Ministers and in bilateral discussions between the leaders themselves resulted in optimism as to the prospects for growth in the upcoming year, and produced substantial agreement on what measures were necessary to avoid a worldwide economic slowdown. Therefore Germany scores well on this objective.
CONFLICT PREVENTION GRADE: B
Germany's final objective for the Genoa summit was to deal with the issue of conflict prevention, notably the current situations in the Middle East and Macedonia. Germany hoped not only to find ways to diffuse these conflicts, but also hoped to explore methods through which the European Union and the United States could actively engage themselves in such situations in a constructive relationship. While remaining a firm supporter of European involvement in conflict prevention exercises, Germany was also seeking to engage the United States in future crisis
While these issues were not top priorities of the summit or part of the final communique, Germany scores a B because its commitment to finding a solution to the situation in Macedonia and the Middle East was reflected by the conclusions of the Foreign Ministers Conference in Rome, as well as Germany's insistence to discuss such issues at bilateral meetings. In Rome the foreign ministers recognized that the Balkans ‘continues to warrant our close attention,' which Schroeder demonstrated by discussing the issue in a bilateral meeting with president Bush, where the two leaders agreed on many conflict prevention issues such as renewed cooperation in the Balkans, the need for ‘third party monitoring' in the Middle East, as well as the need for future NATO enlargement in Eastern Europe.
Overall conflict prevention has remained a main theme of the current Red-Green coalition's foreign policy. At the foreign ministers meeting in Rome, and at the summit itself, Germany once again showed a firm commitment to conflict prevention, and therefore it scores a B.
Prepared by: Andre Belelieu
||This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.|
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated February 09, 2007.
All contents copyright © 1995-2004. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.