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The Prospective Agenda for the
2006 G8 St. Petersburg Summit

Laura Sunderland
Senior Researcher, G8 Research Group
January 9, 2006

International Energy Security
Health
Education
Migration and Demography
Aid and Development
Trade
Environment
Terrorism
Other Probable Issues
Notes


This prospective G8 2006 Summit Agenda is compiled by the G8 Research Group from public sources as an aid to researchers and other stakeholders interested in the July 15-17th, 2006 St. Petersburg G8 Summit. It will be updated periodically as the St. Petersburg Summit planning evolves and as more information becomes available about its intended and actual agenda.


International Energy Security

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "At the same time, however, Russia proposes making world energy policy the key issue for the next summit. Even during our discussions on global finances, world trade and global economic development yesterday, more than two-thirds of our attention was spent on energy issues. It is only natural that Russia, the world leader on the energy market, should focus precisely on energy policy. If you put together Russia's energy potential in all areas, oil, gas, and nuclear, our country is unquestionably the world leader. We are most certainly ready to discuss all these issues and want to make this the main subject for our summit... We will increase our supply of energy resources to the world market and we will also continue to work on developing nuclear energy. Regarding nuclear energy, there are also many non-proliferation issues that we need to discuss, as this is a very sensitive subject." [1]

Russia aims to increase investment in energy infrastructure, particularly transporting liquefied natural gas and completing pipelines.[2] Energy security is a major issue on the Russian agenda.[3]

Non-proliferation is also an important issue on the Russian agenda, as it is linked to energy security.[4]

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Health

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "Another area of assistance to the poorest countries, including in Africa, is in helping them solve healthcare and education problems. By the way, I want to make the issues of fighting the most dangerous diseases and improving education part of the agenda for the G8 summit in 2006. We also have to deal with these problems in our own country. We need to work out a common approach and a common philosophy and put in place the mechanisms for resolving these issues."[5]

Fighting Disease: Fighting infectious disease is a major issue on the Russian agenda.[6] Addressing infectious diseases is related to the Gleneagles African agenda.[7]

HIV/AIDS: The Russian HIV/AIDS situation is worsening, and is an important issue for the Russians.[8]

Bird Flu: Controlling the spread of bird flu is of particular interest to Russia, given its proximity to infected Asian countries and the recent outbreak of H5N1 in Russian poultry.[9] G8 policymakers will discuss an early alert system for a potential (human-to-human transmitted) outbreak of bird flu.[10] The G8 will consider generating, and providing, the developing world with, new vaccines. They will also discuss the importance of transparency in reporting infections, working with and strengthening the World Health Organization, and stockpiling anti-flu drugs.[11]

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Education

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "Another area of assistance to the poorest countries, including in Africa, is in helping them solve healthcare and education problems. By the way, I want to make the issues of fighting the most dangerous diseases and improving education part of the agenda for the G8 summit in 2006. We also have to deal with these problems in our own country. We need to work out a common approach and a common philosophy and put in place the mechanisms for resolving these issues."[12]

In December 2005, Russian Minister of Education and Science, Andrei Fursenko announced that the G8 leaders will "discuss the integration of science and education , and an education component in development of the scientific-technological sphere just because this excites all."[13]

In December 2005, the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry proposed a new government program for training managers which is meant to run from 2007 to 2012 and would be launched at the G8 Summit.[14] Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Russian cabinet office, is reviewing a draft of the concept. [15]

Education is a focus of the Russian agenda.[16] G8 leaders will discuss increasing aid to improve education in developing countries.[17] G8 officials will likely call for vocational training and distance learning using the internet.[18]

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Migration and Demography

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "You know, we tend to shy away from addressing certain problems we face in our own countries. One of these is the demographic problem – a matter of great importance for all of us. The fatter and richer we all become, the greater our demographic problems become. All my colleagues agreed with me that we should think about this over the coming year and make some decisions in St Petersburg at our next summit that will have a positive impact on the situation in our countries. You are no doubt familiar with the United Nations' forecasts in this area. All the European countries are in a situation of demographic decline. The only G8 country with positive demographic growth is the United States, and this is thanks to immigrants and the Latin American population. It is good that they have found at least some way of resolving the problem, but I think that even there it is still not enough. Today, therefore, when I consulted with my partners during the first part of our meeting on whether they think we could also discuss this matter, they all agreed. What's more, [EU Commission President] Mr Barroso said that a study would soon be made of the demographic situation in the European Union, and this could serve as the basis for the materials we will use to prepare this subject ... Russia is constantly increasing its supplies to the world markets, and not just to the G8 countries but to all players on the market. It would be a bad thing if we started just dealing amongst ourselves in our own little club. It would be a very negative signal for the rest of the world. The world, fortunately, does not consist of the G8 countries alone but is far broader, far more interesting and diverse. Our task is not just to resolve the problems we face, such as the demographic problem, which is of particular importance above all for the G8 countries, but, working from an economic point of view, our task is to help make the world more harmonious and make the rules governing international economic interaction more democratic."[19]

Migration : Migration policies to stop Russia's declining population will be addressed.[20]

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Aid and Development

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "Regarding the main subjects on the agenda, under Russia's presidency, the work will follow on from previous summits, including this one. We cannot ignore the question of overcoming poverty, and we cannot ignore the fight against terrorism ... These questions aside, I also think that if we are talking about overcoming poverty and about global economic integration, we should not forget the interests of the post-Soviet area. We also want to make this a part of our work on these issues. Finally, I think that there are some issues that demand particular attention from the G8 today, and these are issues that concern not only the world's poorest countries, not only those who need our economic assistance and our political and moral support ... I think we already gained a great deal from the assistance we have provided in the past. I would like to note that first the Soviet Union and then Russia have always had a special relationship with the African continent. A large number of Africa's present leaders studied in the Russian Federation. It would be simply foolish to let slip this immense political capital that we so greatly need today. The previous generation of our citizens built up this special relationship at a substantial cost and it would be foolish indeed to simply throw it all away. What form does our assistance take today? Above all, it takes the form of writing off debts. We are one of the leaders in this respect. What we are talking about here is writing off the debts of countries whose level of economic development makes it impossible for them to ever be able to repay these debts. We are therefore taking steps to help them."[21]

Aid to Africa is a follow-up topic from last year for the Russians.[22] Russia will turn the focus to poverty in, and aid to, the former Soviet Republics of central Asia.[23]

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Trade

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "These questions aside, I also think that if we are talking about overcoming poverty and about global economic integration, we should not forget the interests of the post-Soviet area. We also want to make this a part of our work on these issues. Finally, I think that there are some issues that demand particular attention from the G8 today, and these are issues that concern not only the world's poorest countries, not only those who need our economic assistance and our political and moral support ... No, this summit did not discuss this issue [of expanding the G8]. If you are referring to a possible enlargement, I would say that, as far my personal point of view goes, discussing world trade and economic issues or world finances without, say, China and India, is quite difficult. But there are two circumstances I would like to draw to your attention in this respect... Our task is not just to resolve the problems we face, such as the demographic problem, which is of particular importance above all for the G8 countries, but, working from an economic point of view, our task is to help make the world more harmonious and make the rules governing international economic interaction more democratic. In this respect we remain committed to market mechanisms for the global economy."[24]

Trade-related development for the poor includes technical assistance and aid to improve basic infrastructure in poor countries. Kyodo News reports: "One G8 country is requesting that major emerging economies open their markets to poorer countries, while another urges the developed world to eliminate trade barriers on farm products."[25]

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Environment

Climate change is a follow-up topic from last year for the Russians.[26] G8 leaders will consider stopping illegal deforestation to slow climate change.[27] They will also call for the development of clean energy sources, including nuclear energy, to curb climate change.[28]

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Terrorism

Following the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Putin announced: "Regarding the main subjects on the agenda, under Russia's presidency, the work will follow on from previous summits, including this one. We cannot ignore the question of overcoming poverty, and we cannot ignore the fight against terrorism ..."[29]

Anti-terrorism may be an issue on the Russian G8 agenda.[30]

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Other Probable Issues

Peace-building in the Middle East[31]

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Notes

[1] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[2] Financial Times (January 4, 2006), "Elements of Moscow's Group of Eight Agenda."

[3] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[4] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[5] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[6] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[7] Financial Times (January 4, 2006), "Elements of Moscow's Group of Eight Agenda."

[8] Financial Times (January 4, 2006), "Elements of Moscow's Group of Eight Agenda."

[9] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[10] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[11] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[12] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html >.

[13] Kirsanov, Dmitry (December 6, 2005), "G8 Education Ministers to Meet in Russia Ahead of Summit," Itar-Tass.

[14] Interfax News Service (December 16, 2005), "Russia May Unveil New Manager Training Program at G8 Summit."

[15] Interfax News Service (December 16, 2005), "Russia May Unveil New Manager Training Program at G8 Summit."

[16] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[17] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[18] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[19] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[20] Financial Times (January 4, 2006), "Elements of Moscow's Group of Eight Agenda."

[21] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[22] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[23] Financial Times (January 4, 2006), "Elements of Moscow's Group of Eight Agenda."

[24] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[25] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[26] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[27] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[28] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[29] President Putin (July 8, 2005), "Meeting of Vladimir Putin with Russian and Foreign Media Following the G8 Summit." <www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2005gleneagles/putin-050708.html>.

[30] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.

[31] Hirando, Ko. (January 4, 2006), "G8 Tackles Bird Flu, Deforestation, Education Issues in 2006," Kyodo News.


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