Saturday, July 11, 2009

G-8 Summit - Italy

G8 summit features evolution of global governanceEditor: Fang Yang
BRUSSELS, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The Group of Eight (G8) summit has ended in the central Italian town of L'Aquila. Despite little progress on prominent issues such as climate change, the annual gathering of world leaders should be noted to have more profound implications.
The summit marked an expanding dialogue and cooperation between the G8 nations and developing countries. It reflected the increasing role of developing countries in dealing with global issues amid the call for a reform of the traditional G8 mode.
Faced with an economic crisis and other challenges threatening human survival and development, world governments are pushing for global governance which is multilateral and democratic.
Deepening Involvement of Developing Nations
Established in 1975, the G8, or previously the G7 before Russia joined, had been a major opportunity for developed countries to coordinate their policies in their early stages. Therefore, it was once dubbed the club of the rich.
Since the beginning of this century, the G8 started to invite developing countries to attend their annual summit for dialogue. This was later fixed between the G8 members and five emerging economies, namely Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, for a two-year term under the so-called Heiligendamm Process in 2007.
In its history of more than three decades, the G8 summit has never seen so many developing countries participate and so many topics on the agenda as this year.
At the summit, the G8 members had a series of talks with several developing countries on a variety of issues, such as climate change, food security and world trade. They not only secured 20 billion U.S. dollars to help African countries fight hunger, but also demonstrated a spirit of equal and inclusive multilateralism.
The North-South dialogue was further strengthened. For the first time, the G8 members and five emerging economies plus Egypt issued a joint declaration after their meeting, stating their joint position on global challenges. They also agreed to continue their dialogue as the Heiligendamm-L'Aquila Process for another two years.
Meanwhile, the five emerging economies continued to use the G8 summit as a platform to strengthen the South-South cooperation by holding a separate G5 meeting on the sidelines. The G5 meeting was intended to increase the collective say of the five emerging economies in international affairs.
G8 Forced to Adapt
Analysts said the expansion of both participants and topics at the G8 summit reveals that the world power balance is tilting towards the developing countries and that the financial crisis is having a dramatic impact on economic globalization and political multipolarization.
The world has undergone profound changes since the Cold War. Globalization is increasing, a multipolar structure is being created, and the relationship between developed and developing countries is getting closer. Now, not only several developed countries, but also some developing ones have a decisive say in international affairs.
With the rise of emerging economies, the balance of powers is shifting. Global dialogue and cooperation have become essential for a solution to global challenges such as economic development, food security and climate change.
Hard hit by the financial crisis, developed countries have plunged into a deep recession. Although there is no escape for major developing countries, they proved more resilient and showed huge potential for a sustainable growth.
Currently, the world economy remains uncertain and faces significant risks. Developed countries have to rely on emerging economies for a way out from the crisis. They have no alternative than to treat emerging economies as irreplaceable partners for the sake of economic recovery.
As a result, in the wake of the financial crisis, developed countries took the initiative to invite major developing countries to the G20 summit Their aim was to coordinate responses to a number of urgent issues. They are also adjusting the G8 framework to continue the dialogue with emerging economies on more systematic and strategic issues.
Global Governance Facing ReformAfter hosting the G8 summit, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared at the closing press conference that the G8 is out of date. In his view, a "Group of 14", which comprises the G8 members and five emerging economies plus Egypt or another major developing country, is better suited to take the lead in meeting global challenges.
"We saw that G8 is no longer a suitable format to show a global economic way of doing," Berlusconi said, "Instead, a consolidated G14 representing 80 percent of the world economy could help create a real dialogue."
Berlusconi's view on the future of the G8 was echoed by others, with an article in the Times of India titled "G8 is dead, long live G14".
Although it is premature to declare the end of the G8, necessary reform of the rich men's club has become imminent and imperative. The key lies in whether the G8 framework can adapt to the trend of the times so as to help enhance global cooperation and improve global governance.
Economically speaking, the fundamental goal of global governance is to push globalization in the direction of balanced development. It is necessary for world governments to resolve the various problems facing economic globalization together through consultation and cooperation on an equal footing.
Politically speaking, better global governance is to promote multilateralism and democratization of international relations.
On both fronts, global governance needs a suitable mechanism arrangement.
The L'Aquila summit has proved that with the changing situation, the G8 is evolving from an inward-looking forum for policy coordination among rich countries to an outward-looking platform for North-South dialogue. The G8 is thus becoming an opportunity for developing countries to express their own aspirations, display their own images, display their own strengths and fight for their own interests.
However, there are still differences among the G8 members concerning the future of the G8. Some members are worried that their influence in international affairs would be diluted if the G8 accepts more members.
One could say that while the developed countries want to strengthen their dialogue with developing countries, they are also trying to dominate the dialogue and advance their own interests.
The evolution of global governance is a long-term and complex process. It can not be achieved overnight.
Obama Checking Out Girl at the G8 Summit?
July 10th, 2009 by Adam Ostrow
Leave it to a slow Friday during the summer for one of the biggest news stories of the day to be a picture that purports to show President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy checking out the backside of a young lady at the G8 summit.
I actually first saw this picture yesterday when a friend told me, “dude, you need to check out the homepage of Drudge Report!” Sure enough, the site was featuring the picture atop its homepage, with the wildly mischievous headline “Second Stimulus Package!” The story is apparently of such significance that it’s still the headline on the site, nearly 24 hours later.
The problem with this intriguing image and caption is that it now appears to have been rather manipulative. By morning, video of the event had surfaced, and it becomes fairly clear after watching it that the still frame photo happens to catch Obama at a moment where the perception of ogling could certainly be created. But in reality, he was simply in the midst of gesturing to help someone down a step. As for Sarkozy, as the ABC News anchor jokes, it’s not quite as clear:
In any event, this rather amusing moment shows both the good and the bad of the Web. The bad: it’s rather easy to take something completely out of context for the benefit of creating a highly viral piece of content. The good: it’s usually equally easy to diffuse this type of thing in a world where everything seems to be captured on video, and findable and shareable on YouTube within minutes.
Medvedev Shows Off Sample Coin of New ‘World Currency’ at G-8
By Lyubov Pronina
July 10, 2009 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev illustrated his call for a supranational currency to replace the dollar by pulling from his pocket a sample coin of a “united future world currency.”
“Here it is,” Medvedev told reporters today in L’Aquila, Italy, after a summit of the Group of Eight nations. “You can see it and touch it.”
The coin, which bears the words “unity in diversity,” was minted in Belgium and presented to the heads of G-8 delegations, Medvedev said.
The question of a supranational currency “concerns everyone now, even the mints,” Medvedev said. The test coin “means they’re getting ready. I think it’s a good sign that we understand how interdependent we are.”
Medvedev has repeatedly called for creating a mix of regional reserve currencies as part of the drive to address the global financial crisis, while questioning the U.S. dollar’s future as a global reserve currency. Russia’s proposals for the G-20 meeting in London in April included the creation of a supranational currency.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in L’Aquila, Italy at