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From Okinawa 2000 to Genoa 2001

Country Performance Assessment
Italy

Overall Grade: B+

POVERTY REDUCTION: A-

Prior to the Summit, Italy outlined the following areas that needed to be addressed in a strategy to reduce poverty in the developing world: debt cancellation/HIPC Initiative, education, access to global markets, trade liberalization, foreign direct investment, the use of information and communications technologies (ICT). Poverty reduction identified by the Italian government as the key theme for this year's summit, and this was indeed the case. In fact, this is the first time that the G8 Summit has been characterized by a prevailing theme. Based on this, Italy merits the above grading.

Today, the G8 leaders agreed to support the launch of an ambitious new Round of global trade negotiations with a balanced agenda, with a special emphasis on developing countries. They further endorsed measures to already taken to improve market access for the least developed countries (LDCs), such as Everything But Arms, Generalised Preferences and all other initiatives that address the same objectives. Moreover, it was agreed that in order to help developing countries benefit from open markets, trade related assistance requires better coordination to provide bilateral assistance on technical standards, customs systems, legislation needed for World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, the protection of intellectual property rights, and human resource development, to support the work of the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance, to encourage the international financial institutions to help remove obstacles to trade and investment, and establish the institutions and policies essential for trade to flourish, and finally to urge countries to mainstream trade expansion by including it in their poverty reduction strategies.

Education was outlined as the central building block for growth and employment. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to help countries meet the Dakar Framework for Action goal of universal primary education by 2015. Areas that must be given high priority in the G8 domestic development programmes are universal primary education and equal access to education. In addition, the G8 Digital Opportunities Task Force (dot.force) provides a framework in which to expand the use of ICT to train teachers in best practices and strengthen education strategies. To this end, a task force of senior G8 officials to advise on the Dakar goals.

DISEASE: A

Along with the UN Secretary-General, the leaders launched a new Global Fund to fight infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, agreeing to make the Fund operational before the end of the year. As such, they have committed $1.3 billion. This proposal corresponds to Italy's position going into the summit.

NORTH-SOUTH DIGITAL DIVIDE: A

A critical component of the Italian strategy entering into this Summit, was to reduce poverty throughout the international community by bridging the digital divde that currently exists between industiralized and developing nations. The Italian government has been highly successful in introducing nine action priorities for transforming the "digital divide" into "digital opportunities". On Saturday July 21, 2001, the Italian Minister for Innovation and Technology, Lucio Stanca, presented the "Genoa Action Plan" ("Dot Force Report"). Largely due to the initiatives and commitment of Italy's Minister for Innovation and Technology and Prime Minster Berlusconi's support, Italy intends to contribute greatly to the practical implementation of the proposals contained in the Action Plan. The Italian Presidency in leading the establishment of The "Genoa Action Plan" is responsible for establishing an ad hoc team of public and private experts, that will be the first branch of an international pool that is to provide assistance and consultation to the interested Countries. The small but hightly qualfied team will be fully funded by the Italian government and on call in Tanzania and South Africa within a two week span.

THE ENVIRONMENT: C+

Although the environment appeared in the final communique, it did not reflect Italy's initial standpoint, largely begun by the Amato government. In a word, they agreed to disagree. President Bush stood by the Congress decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol; the EU firmly stated its support for ratification; Italy softened its initial hardline position to accommodate scientific cooperation with the United States. However, the following commitments did emerge: the determination to find global solutions to threats endangering the planet, recognition that climate change is a pressing issue requiring a global solution, provision of strong leadership, the need for sustainable action consistent with the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, the issue of Kyoto was not neglected altogether, Italy did not receive a lower grade.

NEW FINANCIAL ARCHITECTURE: C-

While the former president Amato placed this issue on the Summit agenda, the Berlusconi government preferred to focus on other themes. The fact that the leaders pledged to maintain a strong, dynamic, open and growing global economy in order to ensure an effective poverty reduction strategy is more a reflection of the previous government's commitment. In the end, Italy's position on the subject was ambiguous and vague thus warranting a mediocre grade.

CONFLICT PREVENTION/ THE BALKANS: A*

In the pre-Summit statements released by the Italian government, conflict prevention and particularly the questions of the Middle East and the Balkans were given a high priority, thereby maintaining a relative continuity with the policies of the Amato administration. Conflict prevention (with a focus on the resolution of regional crises) characterized the Foreign Ministers' meeting and the accompanying bilateral rounds in Rome: a number of concrete actions were set out very much in line with the earlier Italian proposals. As well, this was the principal topic of discussion on foreign policy on the second day of the Summit. In fact, separate declarations were released on the Middle East, Macedonia, and the Korean Peninsula, in addition to a plan for Africa (which also relates directly to the previously stated goal of poverty reduction). However, although there was agreement among the Eight on how to address these crises, political questions and foreign policy were generally overshadowed by other areas, hence, neither the G7 nor the G8 Communique picked up the conclusions of the Foreign Minsters' meeting.

*NB: In order to ensure consistency with the grading, a mark of B would be more appropriate as it resembles Germany's innatives. However, as France was given an A for a lesser contribution, it is our feeling that Italy should not be short-changed.

Prepared by: Maria Banda, Marilena Liguori, Lara Mancini, Ana Milkovic

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