The commonly-held fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights, market economy, free trade and the rule of law form a framework for making joint decisions. At the same time they inform the actions of Heads of State and Government.
Economic power places responsibility on states
The G8 produce about two thirds of global social product. They account for nearly half of world trade and provide three quarters of global development aid. And they are the biggest contributors to international organisations.
On the one hand, these facts demonstrate the significance of joint decisions in the G8.
On the other hand, economic assertiveness also entails responsibility for global issues. The members are very aware of this: They are united by the desire to improve the prosperity and security of people worldwide.
Concrete results in international cooperation
Actions speak louder than words. Here are some of the main achievements in recent years:
- Solidarity with the neighbouring continent of Africa has long been a central issue. The G8 Africa Action plan fully supports the forward-looking African reform plan, 'The New Partnership for Africa's Development' (NEPAD).
- The G8 has declared the combating of infectious diseases to be a global target and has provided significant material support to the campaign. The Global Health Fund can be traced back to an initiative taken by the G8 in Okinawa in 2000. To date, the G8 has made over 1.4 billion US dollars available for combating disease.
- The 'Global G8 Partnership' (Kananaskis 2002) is aimed at preventing the spread of weapons and material of mass destruction. It supports concrete cooperative projects, starting in Russia. Priorities include the destruction of chemical weapons, the disposal of decommissioned nuclear submarines and fissile material. It was agreed to make funds of 20 billion US dollars available over a ten year time span.
>> Global G8 Partnership
- A G8 experts group has been dealing with combating organised crime since 1995. At the Lyon Summit in 1996 the "G8-Senior Experts Group on Transnational Organised Crime" was instructed to implement the proposed recommendations.
The Lyon Group has developed into a permanent multidisciplinary forum with several subsidiary working parties.
From October 2001 the Lyon Group meetings have been held together with the Rome Group which was set up to combat terrorism. During Canada's Presidency in 2002 it was decided to take stronger action against the link between organised crime and terrorism.
- At the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles an action plan was signed to increase energy efficiency. Furthermore, it was agreed to work for the increased use of renewable energy in the G8 states, as well as in the large newly industrialising and developing nations.
In the summit declaration the G8 committed itself to the climate convention and the continuation of multilateral policies to deal with the problem of climate change.
This plan envisages the International Energy Authority (IEA) investigating and developing strategies and scenarios for the sustainable use of energy.
>> Climate change: action plan
>> Gleneagles summit declaration
At St. Petersburg in 2006 it was agreed to develop an effective approach to the three interrelated challenges of energy security, economic growth and environmental protection.
The St Petersburg Plan of Action on Global Energy Security was agreed at the same time. The G8 hereby recognised the necessity of making sufficient energy resources available at reasonable prices on the world market.
>> Global energy security