At 6 - 8 July the G8 Summit will be held in the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, UK.
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There will be two key themes: Africa and climate change.
The Prime Minister has established an independent 'Commission for Africa'. Its report will be an important input to the Summit where the G8 will work on agreeing specific actions to:
-Help improve governance and build effective states
-Help build peace and create security across Africa
-Improve the opportunities for good health and education
-Create opportunities for growth
-Increase resources for Africa through more aid, debt relief and improved effectiveness
In a keynote speech on climate change the Prime Minister set out three ambitious targets for the UK's Presidency:
To secure an agreement as to the basic science on climate change and the threat it poses, to provide the foundation for further action
To reach agreement on a process to speed up the science, technology and other measures necessary to meet the threat
To engage countries outside the G8 who have growing energy needs, like China and India
Other Key G8 Issues
There will be continuing work on other key G8 issues, such as counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation and the Broader Middle East initiative, launched at the Sea Island Summit in 2004. The G8 will also work on ways to support the humanitarian and reconstruction efforts of the UN and World Bank in response to the tsunami catastrophe. Many of the ideas relating to Africa's development will be applicable to other continents too, where the G8 countries are already doing a lot of work.
What issues were discussed when the UK last held the Presidency?
The three main issues discussed were:
Achieving sustainable world economic growth and development,
Building lasting growth in our own economies in which all can participate,
Tackling drugs and trans-national crime, which threaten to sap this growth, undermine the rule of law and damage the lives of individuals in all countries of the world.
What has the G8 achieved?
The G8 has given impetus to finding solutions to global problems such as nuclear cleanup (The G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, Kananaskis, 2002), terrorism, poor country debt (the HIPC initiative) and global diseases (impetus to creation of Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria).
What happened at the 2004 Summit?
The Sea Island Summit launched a major initiative on reform in the Broader Middle East and North Africa, responding to expressions of desire for reform in the region. Leaders also agreed a significant package of development-related policies: action on famine, polio and HIV/Aids, and an initiative to use entrepreneurship to help development.
What other G8 events will there be apart from the Summit?
The highlight of the yearlong Presidency is the Summit. But there will be other Ministerial events.
Is the G8 out of touch?
No. The leaders may meet in private at the Summit, but this doesn't mean that the views of NGOs, businesses and other interested groups are not heard and taken into account. There will be a wide-ranging consultation exercise before the Summit. One example is the Prime Minister's Commission for Africa. Many leading Africans from different parts of society are involved. Bob Geldof, who set up the huge Live Aid concerts twenty years ago, is playing a leading role. The Commission's work will involve a huge amount of dialogue with all interested parties. Its report in spring 2005 will be an important contribution to the Summit.