Overview of the Deauville G8 Summit

June 6, 2011

1. Agenda and Schedule

This year’s G8 Summit was held on May 26 and 27 in Deauville, France, chaired by President Sarkozy of the French Republic. Prime Minister Naoto Kan represented Japan at the Summit.

2. Key Outcomes

The Summit issued three declarations: the G8 Declaration, which touched upon such issues as solidarity with Japan, nuclear safety, the Internet, development, and peace and security; the Declaration of the G8 on the Arab Spring; and the G8/Africa Joint Declaration, which was the first of its kind.

(1) Solidarity with Japan

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, chair of the Summit, began by extending his condolences to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and expressing the G8’s solidarity with Japan, which is overcoming great challenges. At his request, Prime Minister Kan made remarks at the beginning of the Summit (see attached). In response, the other leaders renewed their heartfelt sympathy to and solidarity with Japan, paying tribute to the courage and dignity shown by Japanese people amid the difficult situation.

(2) Global Economy and Trade

A number of leaders pointed out that downside risks remain in the global economy, including fiscal sustainability in some European countries, commodity price volatility, oil and food prices in particular, and the overheating of emerging economies, and expressed the need to address these issues at the G20 and other forums. Prime Minister Kan stated in his opening remarks that although the Japanese economy undergoes a temporary setback as a result of the disaster, more than 90 percent of Japan’s supply chain would recover by this summer, and economic activity would be back on track in the second half of this year. He also explained Japan’s resolve to steadily continue its policy of achieving both fiscal sustainability as well as economic growth in line with the Fiscal Management Strategy, the New Growth Strategy and the Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships.
The G8 leaders shared concern over the present situation of the Doha Development Agenda, which has proved difficult to conclude within this year. Some leaders pointed out that advanced countries should discuss themes that they can agree on in an effort to achieve some results by the end of this year.

(3) Nuclear Safety

Prime Minister Kan made a five-point proposal to promote the highest levels of nuclear safety worldwide: (a) strengthening of the Safety Standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and promotion of their utilization, (b) expansion of the IAEA’s Operational Safety Review Mission, (c) enhancement of an international support system in times of accidents, (d) strengthening of cooperation among national safety authorities, and (e) ratification of nuclear safety-related conventions. He also announced an initiative to host an international meeting in Japan in the latter half of 2012 in cooperation with the IAEA, taking into account the results of a review of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Leaders expressed support for the initiative. They acknowledged that countries may have different approaches regarding the use of nuclear energy, but they shared the need for joint efforts to promote the highest levels of nuclear safety.

(4) Climate Change

G8 leaders shared the view that it is important to operationalize the Cancun Agreements in particular at COP 17 in South Africa scheduled for the end of this year. Prime Minister Kan maintained that it is important from the perspective of protecting true global interests to establish a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies, instead of fixing the existing framework that imposes obligations only on some developed countries.

(5) Internet

With the Internet on the Summit agenda for the first time, the G8 leaders touched upon its critical role as a driver for improving administrative transparency and for promoting economic growth and employment, and affirmed that freedom and openness would continue to be key to the development of the Internet. They also shared perceptions on the need for further cooperation in protecting intellectual property, personal data and privacy, and in responding to cyber security. Also present at the Summit for participation in the discussions were six Internet company executives who attended the e-G8 Forum, which was held immediately before the G8 Summit.

(6) Middle East and North Africa

The G8 leaders welcomed the historic changes taking place in the Middle East and North Africa, affirming the G8’s collective support for the efforts. On the second day of the Summit, the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia, both in the process of political transition, were invited to the Summit. The G8 leaders expressed their intention to launch the Deauville Partnership to support the changes and to extend short-, medium- and long-term assistance together with the IMF, World Bank and regional development banks. The G8 leaders asked their foreign and finance ministers to advance the Partnership within the next few months together with countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Prime Minister Kan, referring to Japan’s contribution to democratization, stability and growth in Southeast Asia, expressed Japan’s intention to contribute to assistance for the region, focusing on (a) fair political process and government, (b) human resource development, and (c) job creation and fostering of industries.

(7) Political Issues

  1. i. North Korea: Prime Minister Kan emphasized that North Korea’s uranium enrichment activities constitute a clear violation of the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and that they pose a major challenge to the efforts of the international community to demand North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear programs. He stated the Security Council should issue a strong message about the problem. Other G8 leaders expressed views sharing Japan’s concern. Prime Minister Kan also raised Japan’s concern about the human rights situation in North Korea, including the abduction issue. The concern was included in the G8 Summit Declaration.
  2. ii. Middle East peace: In view of the historic changes taking place in the entire Middle East region, the G8 leaders confirmed the added importance of progress in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
  3. iii. Others: Some G8 leaders expressed views justifying the intervention in Libya as action necessary to protect civilians while others made remarks critical of the Syrian government’s use of military force against its people.

(8) Dialogue with Africa

The G8 leaders, convinced that it is important to further strengthen partnership between the G8 and Africa, invited the leaders of African countries and exchanged views on challenges facing the region. In particular, with the participation of the leaders of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger, they welcomed progress toward democratization and political stability in Africa. They also shared the recognition that it is important to encourage not only aid but also private-sector investment and trade to achieve self-sustained growth in Africa.

Prime Minister Kan expressed Japan’s resolve to continue to implement its comprehensive pledges made at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), and stated that in an effort to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Japan would host a follow-up meeting in Tokyo in June 2011. He also pointed out that, building on Japan’s experience with Southeast Asia, the key to economic growth lies in the enhancement of intra-regional trade and the improvement of connectivity through developing wide-area infrastructure.

3. Next G8 Summit

The G8 Summit in 2012 will be chaired by the United States.

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