July 9, 2008
The 34th Group of Eight Summit was held in Toyako, Hokkaido from Monday, July 7, to Wednesday, July 9, 2008 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. It has been eight years since Japan last hosted a G8 summit (the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in 2000).
This year's summit began with an outreach session with leaders from African nations on July 7. From July 8 to 9, discussions were held according to the agenda outlined below. The summit came to a close on July 9 with Prime Minister Fukuda’s press conference as the G8 President.
On July 8, G8 leaders discussed the main topics: World Economy, Environment and Climate Change, Development and Africa, and Political Issues.
(1) World Economy
At the outset of discussions, Prime Minister Fukuda stated that while we remain positive about future global growth, given the current economic situation, the G8 should deliver the following message; (1) state concern over inflationary pressures, (2) with regard to rising oil prices, stress the need to take concrete measures to improve balance between supply and demand as well as increase market transparency, and (3) resist protectionism including encouragement of a successful ministerial meeting toward the agreement on the World Trade Organization Doha Round.
In response, the leaders were generally positive about the current economic situation and the outlook. We all agreed on the need to address rising oil and food prices, further stabilize financial markets, and prevent protectionism. On addressing rising oil prices in particular, the leaders proposed holding an energy forum focusing on energy efficiency and new technologies, which could also contribute to dialogue between producing and consuming countries. (Subsequently Prime Minister Fukuda offered to host the first meeting to be held as early as this fall. The other leaders welcomed this proposal.) G8 leaders also agreed on the importance of the successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations.
(2) Environment and Climate Change
(a) Prime Minister Fukuda stated at the beginning that this was a very important summit, one that should determine whether humanity can move toward a low-carbon society, severing its dependence on fossil fuels and addressing challenges including global warming and resource depletion countries.
(b) Long-term Goal
With respect to the goal of achieving at least 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050, the G8 leaders agreed to seek to share and adopt it with all Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
(c) Mid-term Goals
In order to achieve absolute emission reductions in all developed nations, G8 leaders agreed to implement ambitious economy-wide mid-term goals.
(d) Sectoral Approach
It was recognized that sectoral approaches are useful tools for achieving national emission objectives and for reducing GHG emissions.
(e) Climate Investment Funds
G8 leaders welcomed and supported the establishment of the Climate Investment Funds administered by the World Bank to support the efforts of developing countries, and welcomed commitments from other donors.
(3) Development and Africa
(a) Prime Minister Fukuda stated the importance of new cooperation in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, with a particular emphasis on the field of health. He also stressed the importance of the international community’s addressing the issue of rising food prices.
(b) Development Overview
2008 is the midpoint to the achievement of the MDGs. The G8 leaders expressed their commitment to achieving these goals, and also referred to the necessity of increasing official development assistance to Africa beyond 2010.
The G8 leaders welcomed the Report of the G8 Health Experts Group, presented along with its attached matrices showing G8 implementation of past commitments, and set forth the Toyako Framework for Action, which includes the principles for action on health. Furthermore, regarding the G8 commitment to provide $60 billion for health agreed at last year’s G8 Heiligendamm Summit, the G8 leaders agreed to provide the said amount over five years. In addition, with regard to malaria prevention, leaders agreed to provide 100 million mosquito nets by the end of 2010.
The leaders welcomed the important contributions of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). They also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and shared the importance of good governance in furthering Africa’s development.
(e) Rising Food Prices
Prime Minister Fukuda stated at the outset that: both immediate response and mid- to long- term policies were indispensable to address the issue of rising food prices; the G8 should set out a vision for the international community to further respond to this crisis, as the G8 was providing the majority of assistance in this field and accounting for a large share of the world’s food supply-demand; to this end, the G8 would take actions including the establishment of the G8 Experts Group. Responding to this remark, the leaders discussed various factors contributing to rising food prices and measures to tackle the problem.
(4) Political Issues
(a) North Korea
Prime Minister Fukuda stated that it is necessary to (1) thoroughly verify the contents of the declaration provided by North Korea, (2) tenaciously pursue the realization of North Korea’s abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and (3) advance Japan–North Korean relations, including the abduction issue. The Prime Minister gained the other leaders’ understanding of and support on these issues.
The leaders expressed their serious concern over Iran’s nuclear development, and agreed on the importance of using dialogue and pressure at the same time to resolve this issue.
(c) Afghanistan and the Middle East Peace Process
The leaders agreed to strengthen the G8's commitments in these areas.
The leaders shared concern over the current situation in Sudan. They agreed on the need to step up pressure on the Sudanese government and other parties concerned and to support such UN activities as peace operations.
With regard to cyclone recovery efforts, the leaders agreed on the need for calling on Myanmar to improve its admission of humanitarian personnel. They also agreed on the need for calling for advancing dialogue and a political process involving all relevant parties.
The leaders expressed grave concern over the current situation in Zimbabwe and issued the G8 Leaders' Statement on Zimbabwe.
Based on discussions, the leaders issued the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit Leaders Declaration, covering the abovementioned major themes. Three independent statements were also issued on Global Food Security, Counter-Terrorism, and Zimbabwe. In addition, the Chair's Summary was issued, summarizing the leaders' discussions.
On July 7, the first day of the Summit, an outreach session with African leaders was held. On July 9, the third day of the Summit, meetings including the Leaders Meeting of Major Economies (MEM) and an outreach session with leaders from the MEM were held (For a list of participating countries and organizations, please refer to section 1 above.)
(a) Prime Minister Fukuda reported on the outcomes of the Fourth TokyoInternational Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in Yokohama in May 2008. The leaders from Africa praised the conference as a major success. In particular, they highly valued Japan's initiatives including doubling of its official development assistance to Africa and its initiative to provide infrastructure.
(b) Discussion went on to cover global challenges including rising food prices. With regard to food prices, African leaders asked for support for agricultural production including through technology transfers and provision of seed grain and fertilizer, with a view to enabling the continent to achieve self-sufficiency of food supply. The G8 leaders explained various measures they were taking to assist Africa and address the food crisis. African leaders reiterated their concerns over serious consequences from rising oil prices, and requested support for affected countries. Leaders also asked for support with regard to environmental issues, with particular emphasis on their adaptation to climate change. They also expressed their hopes for assistance through the Cool Earth Partnership in gaining access to new forms of energy. In connection with these concerns, Prime Minister Fukuda presented newly established Climate Investment Funds.
(c) On efforts to achieve MDGs, the African leaders pointed out that various commitments made in the past G8 summits have not been sufficiently implemented. From the side of the G8 leaders, views attaching importance to the follow-up of these commitments were expressed. Given the outcome of the discussion, the G8 will continue to consider the modalities for such a follow-up.
(d) In relation to the issue of governance in Africa, concern was expressed over the current situation in Zimbabwe. The African leaders explained the measures being taken by African nations to address this issue, such as the resolution by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union and mediation efforts by the Southern African Development Community.
(2) July 9 Outreach Working Session
Prime Minister Fukuda gave an introduction of the Heiligendamm Process, a framework for dialogue between the G8 and emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa) that was initiated last year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a report on the progress of this dialogue. Leaders from emerging economies emphasized the view that mutual understanding had been deepened and relations improved as a result of dialogue conducted through this process over the past year.
Additionally, concerns were expressed over rising oil prices, and overall, many leaders from emerging economies pointed out the speculative aspect of the increases. In-depth discussions took place with regard to rising food prices; G8 leaders stated the importance of successfully reaching an agreement on the World Trade Organization Doha Round, and on the topic of agricultural trade negotiations, leaders from emerging countries indicated the necessity of reducing and abolishing agricultural subsidies.
(3) Leaders Meeting of Major Economies
(a) Prime Minister Fukuda stated in the beginning that as this was the first time for leaders of the major economies to meet face to face since the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali where it was decided to launch a negotiation process towards a post-2012 framework, he would like to hold discussions on mid- and long-term targets, etc., in order to release a declaration representing unanimous consensus of the Leaders and to provide impetus to UN negotiations on establishing an effective post-2012 framework.
In order to resolve the issue of climate change, while recognizing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, all countries shared the necessity of taking further global actions, and indicated their willingness to make more serious efforts.
Many advanced the opinion that nations should take steps to address climate change in a way not to affect economic growth, and representatives from developing countries indicated the importance of assistance from the developed countries.
(b) Long-term Goals Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and Australia appreciated and approved of the G8's appeal on July 8 to share the vision of achieving at least 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050. All participating countries were unified in their belief that it would be desirable for all the Parties to the UNFCCC to adopt a long-term, global goal.
(c) Mid-term Goals The developed major economies promised to implement economy-wide mid-term goals to achieve absolute emission reductions. The developing major economies agreed to pursue nationally appropriate mitigation actions with a view to achieving a deviation from business as usual emissions.
(d) Continuation of the Meeting Responding to an offer from Italy, Prime Minister Fukuda proposed to continue this meeting, and it was agreed that it would be held during the next year's G8 Summit in Italy.
(4) July 9 Outreach Working Lunch
Discussion took place on such issues as World Economy, including rising oil prices, Rising food prices, and Development.
Regarding the world economy, the importance of enhanced policy cooperation between G8 and developing nations in order to achieve sustainable worldwide economic growth, taking steps to stabilize financial markets, achieving early conclusion of the World Trade Organization Doha Round, and strengthening measures to counter inflation in developing countries were noted. Among others, with regard to rising oil prices, participants emphasized the importance of increased production and investment on the supply side, as well as of promoting alternative energies, improving energy efficiency, and encouraging analysis of factors behind the price increases.
With regard to rising food prices, the leaders shared the view that they should come out with a coordinated and coherent action to address this issue, which was severely damaging the poor. They agreed that aid and investment in the agricultural sector, as well as domestic measures to boost output, should be promoted. In the context of development, it was emphasized that support for smallholders should be prioritized. Furthermore, the leaders discussed the removal of export restrictions, the sustainable production and use of biofuels, and the need to address the influence of speculative capital.
Finally, US President George W. Bush praised Prime Minister Fukuda for his chairing of the Summit, and the attending leaders expressed their gratitude with applause.
The offer of the Prime Minister of Italy to host the next G8 Summit in Italy in 2009 was welcomed in the Chair's Summary.