We need each other

Fri, 08.06.2007
German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 group photo with Africa Outreach representatives
Vergrößerung (en)
Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Bergmann
Group photo with the Africa Outreach representatives
The annual summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations (G8) ended on Friday in Heiligendamm. "It was a successful summit," German Chancellor Angela Merkel was pleased to say. Earlier, the Heads of State and Government had reached wide-ranging agreements on all key issues on the agenda: from climate protection to Africa policy to the newly launched "Heiligendamm Process". The industrialised countries want to continue their co-operation with the five biggest emerging economies in the form of a continuous dialogue.
Germany's Presidency of the G8 does not end now that the summit is over. Until the end of this year, the German Government, as acting President, will be moderating and actively supporting the processes launched.
Before the meeting begins, German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, and the Chinese Prime Minister Wen JiabaoPhoto: REGIERUNGonline / Bergmann Vergrößerung (en) Deep in conversationAt Heiligendamm it again became clear, in particular in the dialogue with developing countries and emerging economies, how closely interrelated the main topics on the G8 agenda are. As well as having an economic dimension, climate protection also has a bearing on development policy. Just like global trade and the numerous foreign policy conflicts which the G8 countries are faced with.
G8 and outreach partners: Ongoing co-operation
Today the leading industrialised nations can no longer meet many of the challenges they face on their own. The big emerging economies - China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa - have an increasingly important role to play. Merkel hit the nail on the head: "We can't get along without each other."
At Heiligendamm both groups therefore agreed to co-operate more closely and on a more continuous basis in what has become known as the Heiligendamm Process. Nevertheless, Merkel explained, the G8 will not be expanding to incorporate any other countries.
European Commission President Barroso and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in conversation with the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan SinghPhoto: REGIERUNGonline/Maro Vergrößerung (en) Barroso, Blair and Singh in conversationHowever, the German Chancellor also said that meeting up once a year during a summit was not enough. That was why a dialogue forum beyond the Heiligendamm summit would be being set up on the institutional platform of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The partners intend to achieve tangible results by 2009, for example to protect innovations, to establish fair investment conditions and as regards technologies for energy efficiency.
A good climate for the climate
The previous day the G8 had for the first time agreed on the need to establish common goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases. The German Chancellor was very pleased that the G8 leaders were, over and above that, also in agreement that these joint efforts on climate protection should lead into a UN process.
More countries were thus joining in. In the end, though, legally binding international commitments can only be established within the framework of the United Nations. The developing countries and emerging economies had also made it clear that "they would feel obligated to this process if it was part of the United Nations," the Chancellor said.
"Africa - a continent of the future"
Africa Outreach representatives (from left to right): Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Umaru Yar´Adua (Nigeria), Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria), Alpha Konaré (AU Commission) and John Kufuor (Ghana)Photo: REGIERUNGonline / Bergmann Vergrößerung (en) Welcome to the assembly roomsThe G8 stand by their commitment to considerably increase their official development assistance (ODA) for Africa by 2010: by US$25 billion each year. The members' total ODA is thus to increase to US$50 billion a year by 2010.
The leading industrialised nations also agreed to provide an additional US$60 billion a year over the coming years to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, especially for prevention programmes and to strengthen health systems in the least developed countries (LDCs). Germany has pledged €4 billion by 2015.
Global trade: Creating opportunities for all
Not least, the meetings of the G8 serve to co-ordinate the leading industrialised countries' common positions in international bodies and organisations.
For example, during the forthcoming Doha Round the G8 want to ensure that trade between industrialised and developing countries is made easier. In a joint declaration (G8 Declaration on Trade), they call on all the member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to work constructively and flexibly towards that goal.
Working session of the G8 with the Africa Outreach representatives in the pavilionPhoto: REGIERUNGonline / Bergmann Vergrößerung (en) Working sessionStep-by-step liberalisation of global trade aims to help developing countries integrate into the system. In the coming weeks the trade ministers of the industrialised countries and emerging economies will be meeting to jointly lay the groundwork for successful negotiations in Doha.
Working on things together: The spirit of Heiligendamm
As the first helicopters were taking off from the beach at Heiligendamm to take some of the G8 leaders to the airport, the Chancellor still had various meetings to attend.
Talking to each other, working together - that has been the spirit of the G8 summits since 1975. Back then the issues were the oil crisis and exchange rates; today they are how to shape globalisation so that everyone stands a chance.