The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
The G8 Summit is only empty promises, enormous power and influence.
Moreover, this forum comprises governments from eight of the world’s most powerful economies relative to nominal gross domestic product (GDP) with higher human development index: Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, France, Russia and the United States, and include a participant from the European Union (EU).
According to statistics, in 2012, the G8 nations comprised 50.1 per cent global nominal GDP and 49.9 per cent of global purchasing power parity (PPP); together they account for almost 50 per cent of the votes at the World Bank and IMF. In this capacity, the responsibility of hosting the summit rotates through member states. The holder of the presidency, however, sets the agenda and hosts the summit for that particular year. This suggests that the G8 lacks an administrative structure and has no permanent secretariat or a head office where summit planning takes place. Indeed, this does not allow for equal opportunity to discuss issues affecting the entire group, but focused more on issues affecting the host country.
For many years these meetings have been futile!
Additionally, the G8, like other organisations, has its own shortcomings — bearing actions and inactions that create friction and confrontation amongst leaders. A year ago, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, EU trade spokesman John Clancy publicly reverted to a surprising step to criticize Ottawa for holding up free trade talks. Ideally, the EU believes that they were too close to an agreement and considering that the EU has demonstrated pragmatism and flexibility and is prepared to seize the final pace to notch political breakthrough in the negotiations.
Similarly, during bilateral talks, Putin informed Obama that their positions on Syria do not coincide. The fact remained that each leader promoted his country’s interests. Meanwhile, Obama concedes that they have different perspective on Syria; however, the two have agreed to the relevance of pushing negotiations in Syria — designed to stop the violence and securing chemical weapons.
Despite these setbacks, what impresses me about the summit in 1994 is that former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was first invited to the forum as an observer and later Russia was made a full participant, an effort by then British Prime Minister (PM) and US President Bill Clinton to encourage Yeltsin capitalist reforms. In so doing, Russia became a formal member of the G8 four years later.
Another impressive feature of the G8 Summit is the fact that the group makes food security a major focus, ensuring a global supply of food. At the 1998 G8 L’Aquila Summit, the members announced their commitment to $20 billion to food security over a three-year period, since then, only 22 per cent of the promised funds were delivered.
Similarly, the G8 promotes global energy sustainability. At the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 summit, the members acknowledged a proposal from the EU for a global initiative relative to efficient energy use and who agreed to explore this initiative with the International Energy Agency, an effort to employ the best means of promoting energy efficiency globally.
A question I asked myself, is the G8 aware of the enormous potential renewable energy sources in small, remote and vulnerable economies?
However, the member has discussed other issues of global concern: law enforcement, labour, economic and social development, foreign affairs, terrorism, heath, trade and the like. To effectively address these issues the G8 added 5 other wealthy economies to the discussion: Brazil, China, South Africa, India and Mexico.
Hitherto, the G20 was formed — a Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from 20 major economies, which includes the EU. This brilliant idea warranted by former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to address effective cooperation and consultation on matters regarding the international financial system, inaugurated in September 1999.
Still, success was minimal as other developing economies affected by these challenges were absent.
Since the G8 transition into the G20 has not significantly improved world issues, henceforth, I am proposing a World Summit that includes other developing countries like those in Africa, Middle East, West Asia, Central America and the Caribbean to have opportunities to discuss the issues affecting them and to aid in the world’s decision-making process.
The reason for such initiative is that developing countries are facing the pressures of economic and trade turmoil, and other international phenomena. Decisions made at the G8 and G20 are solely geared toward improving the economic, political and social development of its members. Hence, non-participatory economies suffer from the lack of opportunities to disclose their challenges, find collective solutions or even the opportunity set their own agenda.
While the G8 Summit has identified the need to develop Africa and other developing economies and the fact these economies are important there is also the need to invest heavily in these nations. In doing so, this strategy can lessen the level of dependence from developing economies on developed economies.
In a developing economy like St Vincent and the Grenadines that has enormous potential for renewable energy, through the IMF or World Bank, the G8 can invest in the country’s thermal energy initiative — preventing the exploitation of large energy companies like Emera from major shareholdings. Instead, through funding the G8 would allow developing economies to self-explore their natural resources and transforming them into economic sustainability.
In my judgment, G8 leaders cannot sustain the global food security and energy phenomena or any other social, political and economic issues without the participation of developing economies and those affected, especially the poor economies.
Involved developing economies today!
D. Markie Spring
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].