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In the global campaign to counter-terrorism, the G8 proposes to act as a forum through which eight of the world's wealthiest nations may establish initiatives designed to enhance global security measures, impede terrorist financing and further motivate patterns of intelligence sharing.
At the 2002 Kananaskis summit, a critical statement entitled Cooperative G8 Action on Transport Security was released and marks the most concentrated and detailed trans-national anti-terror security effort in G8 history. Citing that the events of 9/11 illustrated the fragile nature of the international transport system, the G8 agreed on a set of actions to "promote greater security of land, sea and air." In addition this initiative calls for the efficient flow of people's, cargo, and vehicles for legitimate economic and social purposes.
Key points in the G8 action plan for land, sea and air transport were:
The G8's call to action in the arena of international transport security must also be viewed in its role as safe-guard for economic security. Critical to our highly integrated "global" economy is the ability to move throughout the world with ease, efficiency and safety. Any forces which threaten to impede such movement of peoples also threaten to impede the movement and flow of monetary funds. Therefore the Cooperative Action plan will provide a significant framework around which issues of safety and the economy can be addressed in the context of the anti-terror campaign.
In dealing with Conflict Resolution particularly in the troubled Mid-East the Kananaskis meetings, which came on the heels of President Bush's Mideast Peace Plan, did little to provide a comparable G8 action plan. The eight leaders did however, re-stress their commitment to work for peace in the region, based on a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side. Further, the G8 agreed on the urgency of reform to Palestinian institutions and its economy, of fair and free elections. Therefore whilst the Middle East was discussed in the vein of conflict resolution and free elections, there were no concrete commitments or structures issued at this year's meetings.
Due to the recent and dramatic ease of tensions in the India/Pakistan conflict, the G8's focus on the region was somewhat diluted. However, the G8 did agree that Pakistan must put a permanent stop to terrorist activity originating from within its borders and that both countries must commit to continued and sustained dialogue.
Despite the G8's lack of commitment on issues surrounding the Middle East, significant and historic steps were taken to ensure the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With Sept.11 reaffirming the trans-national dimension of terrorism, the new G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, issued at Kananaskis, will significantly enhance the G8's ability to maintain international peace and security. The G8 committed to raise up to $20 billion over the next 10 years to support projects designed to destruct chemical weapons, dismantle decommissioned nuclear submarines, dispose of fissile materials and employ former weapons scientists. The initiative will see its first projects in Russia.
Overall, taking into consideration that the theme for this year's summit was Africa and not Terrorism, the G8 did make significant strides in a variety of anti-terror measures. The financial commitments made during the summit for this purpose are themselves far reaching and consequential and thus the report card for Terrorism in this historic G8 year will read an A-.
Prepared by Salimah Ebrahim
University of Toronto G8 Research Group 2002.
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