Regaining Credibility of the G8 Process

July 9, 2008 by

The G8 has taken a battering over the past few days. On Monday, the Africa agenda stalled with little in the way of creative initiatives. On Tuesday, the communiqué on the world economy on seemed divorced from the economic volatility so wide-spread in the G8 economies and beyond. No mention was made at all on such key issues as the subprime mortgage crisis. The image was that of an economy ticking along quite fine, with the only specter on the horizon being looming inflation. The separate meeting of the self-labeled G5 of emerging powers (China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa), held off-site at Sapporo, also accentuated the image of the G8 being on the defensive. In the G5 Political Declaration – released late in the day – little mention was made of the G8, with priority given to the older agenda based on solidarity of select countries from the South.

Today, the third and final day puts the summit in a better light. The G8 commitment on Africa was reinterpreted with a more positive shine. After the draft communiqué left out the promised figure from the Gleneagles 2005 summit – new aid to the tune of $50 billion with $25 billion of that figure going to Africa – the final text did contain the original amount. Although NGOs such as Oxfam and ONE remained highly critical of the summit for its laggardness on the health agenda, it did give credit to the G8 on several counts. One was the agreement to expand the number of health workers in developing countries to a World Health Organization recommend minimum level of 2.3 per 1000 people. The G8 agreed as well to progress reports at the 2009 Italian summit on education and on water.

After a frustrating first day of talks between the G8 and the group of ‘outreach’ African countries on Zimbabwe, the revisiting of this issue on Wednesday in closed session allowed the appearance of a more coherent if more narrowly constituted approach. Russia was persuaded (largely it seems to show that it was a good club member amidst all the talk of Russian regression to a managed democracy) to go along with the decision to move towards targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime.

An even bigger advance came on the highly controversial issue of climate change with regard to the serious consideration of halving CO2 emissions by 2050. The details of the deal of course are still fraught with all sorts of difficulties including no start date, compliance mechanisms nor mid-term targets. Yet, amidst the skepticism, a number of positives jump out. Whereas U.S. President Bush and Russian President Medvedev resisted setting the “50/50” target at the 2007 Heiligendamm summit, in 2008 they were pushed onside with the G8 consensus.

However the negotiations on emissions play out, the die has been cast, encompassing both the G8 and the G5, or alternatively another variation of the Major Economies (or emitters) stretching the partners up to an evenly matched 8 and 8. China and India in particular have stuck to the argument that they release far lower emissions than the G8 countries on a per capita basis, and that in any case they have been victims of industrial emissions over a longer time span.

Nonetheless, for all the technical and political obstacles a tentative new compact is beginning to look a likely option. This will mean a trade off between the big emerging countries – and especially the G5 countries – taking on greater modes of responsibility for CO2 emissions along with the G8. But in return they will be given accentuated forms of representation at the apex of power. Already the Italian government has indicated that both climate change and the G5 will be given a larger role at the 2009 summit. Not only will the G5 be invited to the second day but they will also be invited as part of the morning of the third day. These representational questions remain a work in progress. However, with the other forms of progress made in the functional arena, this move signals that the G8 still remains the barometer for the reorientation of global governance architecture.


G8’s Outreach Activities

July 9, 2008 by

Outreach was the theme of the third and final day here in Toyako. The day began with a working breakfast with the leaders of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico – the members of the Heiligendamm Process. It proceeded with the “Major Economies Meeting”, including the G8, the O5 plus Australia, South Korea and Indonesia to discuss energy security and climate change. The last formal session included the MEM-16 in a working lunch, chaired again by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

Three important documents, related to G8 outreach, were released among these important meetings. Below are links and short commentary on these documents: 

G5 Political Declaration
Released July 8th, 2008

On Tuesday, leaders of the dubbed “Outreach 5” countries held a closed-door meeting in the city of Sapporo, about two hours drive from the G8 Summit venue in Toyako. This group had held a similar meeting one year ago, in advance of the Heiligendamm Summit to discuss issues of mutual concern. However, twelve months on, the importance of this group has grown notably. Through the HP these countries have been courted by the G8 to develop expanded roles in the institutions of global governance particularly in the areas of innovation, investment, climate change and energy policy. For the first time together, this group held a press conference and issued a joint political declaration – now calling themselves the “G5”. Only select media were invited and the declaration was not included in the G8 summit documents. Most information about this meeting came from the press officers of the G5 delegations.

Two items of particular interest were included in the declaration. First, the G5 firmly placed the onus of climate change on the leading industrialized nations, calling the G8 to take agressive actions to reduce CO2 emissions. Pushing beyond the G8’s 50% by 2050 pledge, the G5 urged that the G8 make 80-95% reductions by 2050, based on 1990 levels. They also identified a mid-term target of 25-40% reductions by 2020, an option that the G8 could not find agreement on. The shifting of responsibility here between the G8 and G5 has been a constant issue in the climate debates – where the G5 places emphasis on the role of rich nations in polluting the air over a longer period of time and at more intense levels. How this fissure between the G8 and outreach counties would play out at the following day’s MEM-16 meeting was quite unclear at the time. Would the newly dubbed-G5 stall climate discussions and oppose joint declarations? Would this cause an end to the Heiligendamm Process?

And second, the G5 firmly iterated its commitment to South-South cooperation and that its participation in the G8 process did not signal its abandonment of a Southern agenda. As major developing countries, the G5 affirmed its “shared responsibility” to broaden the reach and impact of these efforts based on principles of “equality and mutual benefit.” The G5 commited itself to strengthening multilateralism, chiefly through the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. The language here was quite clear, the G5 do not want to be talked down to – they consider themselves powerful nations who still happen to be in the processes of economic development and poverty alleviation – they can collaborate at the same level as the G8.

Interim Report on the Heiligendamm Process at the G8 Summit in Hokkaido Toyako
Released July 9th, 2008

As commited to at its incepted last year, an interim progress report on the Heiligendamm Process was tabled and passed during the working breakfast on Wednesday morning. The five-page report refines the purpose and scope of the dialogue, detailing issues of common concern and the need for ongoing discussions. To observers of the HP dialogue, there certainly were no surprises in the document. The important working groups have only been in operation for 2-3 months and have yet to yield great results. However, it is recognized that the pure fact of having officials of G8 meet on a level playing field with Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, South African and Mexican officials is a positive step. This document even recognized this group as the “G5”, whereas before this group was referred to as the Outreach 5 (or O5). The word “outreach” had been derided as demeaning. It has been difficult to get information on the inner workings of the HP, and while this document does not give much away, it is encouraging that the process continues and a final report will be tabled at next year’s summit in Italy.

Declaration of Leaders Meeting of the Major Economies on Energy Security and Climate Change
Released July 9th, 2008

The 2050 target did not reach consensus among the MEM-16. In light of the G5 Political Declaration, this was not surprising. In the media briefing following the MEM, the Japanese officials would not entertain reporters’ questions wondering which countries blocked full agreement. The officials did announce however, that the leaders of Australia, South Korea and Indonesia gave their support to the 50% reductions by 2050 leaving it to interpretation that the G5 did not concur. Japan, the host, was not able to attain the full support it desired for its initiative.

The declaration can be read as fairly soft, as it reaffirms a mutual commitment to the work of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the Bali Process. Emphasis was placed on research and technology development and sharing of best practices. Agreement did not materialize for post-Kyoto commitments, instead giving the group’s support to the success of the Copenhagen climate meetings in 2009. Disappointing perhaps was the overbalance of climate discussions, leaving energy policy and security out of the declaration. Support was given to energy efficiency measures, however this has been a staple for energy agreements for years and is a policy that makes sound financial sense. Left off the table was questions of ensuring secure access to energy resources through trade, pipelines and security of transit-ways. There was no commitment to renewable energy sources nor was there a statement on the escalating energy prices.

The MEM-16, although a worthile endeavour, has only reinforced the divide among Western, industrialized nations and the new set of emerging powers. The conversations remain conflictual, as we see the solidification of the G5 grouping who may disengage from the G8 process if no results materialize.  However, there will be plenty of outreach days to come. Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, and 2009 summit host, announced that at La Maddalena a full day and one half would be devoted to the outreach agenda.

G8 Food Security Statement

July 8, 2008 by

This afternoon, the G8 leaders put out a statement on global food security in response to the troubling crisis which has dragging millions more of the world’s vulnerable into poverty (see previous post). Going into the summit, what can the G8 do, as a group of heavily industrialized and rich nations, to effectively to counter mounting energy and food prices was rather vague.

Speculation began on Friday that the G8 would announce a food and grain stockpile system to use in case of crises to stabilize prices. However, the language in today’s statement avoided any commitment to such an arrangement. In paragraph 6, the leaders stated, “We will explore options on a coordinated approach on stock management, including the pros and cons of building a ‘virtual’ internationally coordinated reserve system for humanitarian purposes.” Weak language, to say the least.

In the media centre, some are thinking that the stockpile idea came onto the leaders’ radar too late. As Japan and Germany are the only G8 countries to currently have food surplus in reserve, it is thought that they would push for the other six to adopt similar policy. The line in paragraph 6, calling on countries “with sufficient food stocks to make available a part of their surplus for countries in need, in times of significantly increasing prices and in a way not to distort trade” could be seen as a conciliation of this approach. A stockpile would be a considerable shift without clear measurable benchmarks for success. Additionally, the line in the final statement on “humanitarian purposes” raises the question of what sort of crisis would be needed to allow deployment of the stockpile.

Criticism on such a policy has come from a number of sources; first, from Africa advocates who decried this idea a systemic suppression of the poor, cutting them off from available food and grain sources. And second, from farmers who suggested a stockpile would serve as a disincentive to produce greater food harvests.

The Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) received a positive endorsement in the statement, urging a reversal of declining agro-aid and investment, in the hope of rebuilding a sustainable African agro-industry. The International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Bank and the IMF were also given kudos for their work in this area.

Among the medium and long-term goals in paragraph 7 is a commitment to oversee policy compatibility of sustainable production and the use of bio-fuels. Rising grain costs have largely been blamed on more expensive inputs like petroleum products (fertilizers and transportation) and the increase in use of grains as bio-fuels, forcing a supply-side increase in prices. Domestic political pressure in the U.S. has forced Congressional support of corn-based ethanol, which has now proven to be short-sided, having severe effects on the economy with arguably little savings in CO2 emissions.

Today’s statement will hopefully see a shift towards greater investment cellulosic ethanol which is produced from non-food sources. The endorsement of consumption of locally-grown food stuffs could go a long way towards reversing the debilitating effects of the globalization of the food supply chain.

Bob Geldof, the Successful Provocateur

July 8, 2008 by

Despite the one-day, lacklustre meeting between G8 and African leaders, there are a few people left in Toyako keeping the ‘buzz’ on African issues. NGOs like DATA, Oxfam, ActionAid and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty have a number of technical experts and campaigners, but standing out among this group is Sir Bob Geldof, the British rocker and celebrity advocate.

Since arriving at the international media centre Monday night, he has created a stir most leaders are unable to achieve. In the morning Japanese paper, the Asahi Shimbun, Geldof had the lead editorial provocatively posing, Japan Must Play a Pivotal Role in Africa Aid. In classic style, he did not sugar coat his views. On the summit documents, he said: “I am appalled that there are attempts in the draft communiqué to blur the commitment to fund universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010 … This kind of bureaucratic deception will fail. The promises have been made; they cannot be undone.”

He continued, arguing that “the vast differences in wealth and poverty on this planet are not only morally reprehensible; they are also potentially very dangerous. Investing in Africa is a clever, long-term strategy.” Pulling Africans out of poverty cannot depend exclusively on aid, it can be done strategically by investment and comprehensively by calming crises like those occurring in the food and energy sectors.

His tactics and firm language have results. It’s been leaked that he’s scored two key bilateral meetings, with U.S. President George W. Bush and with U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Earlier reports said if he couldn’t get access, he’d plan to lead a march of NGO leaders towards the heavily guarded Windsor Hotel where the leaders are meeting.

Evidently, celebrities have reached a level of prominence within international affairs few occupy. And yet, their activities are easily dismissed by their critics. Not without its flaws, celebrity diplomacy is an emergent, albeit contested, pathway to bolster the legitimacy of international public policy. Geldof is the lead provocateur, with a long record of urging accountability of G8 leaders.

He does this will a balance of buzz (inflammatory tongue) and bite (technical, professional support). Here in Toyako, he is surrounded by a small but skilled team led by DATA campaigner Oliver Buston. No stranger to media himself, Buston has complemented Geldof’s approach by speaking to the facts compiled in the DATA Report 2008. His message to media has been one about numbers, measuring G8 aid delivery at $3 billion against the pledged $25 billion at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit. By putting Geldof at the front of the campaign, DATA can gain a level of name recognition, media access and exposure that most NGOs crave.

In a sense, celebrities provide a conduit between citizens, advocates and sites of power, in a fashion that no one would have imagined a decade ago. Serious activists like Geldof – and his regular compatriot U2 frontman Bono – are changing the diplomatic discourse. Their ability to gain extended face-time with prominent national leaders, while their message is heard at both the mass and elite level means that they are engaging in the kind of widespread communication that underpins successful diplomacy.

Posted by Andrew F. Cooper and Andrew Schrumm

G8 Stalls African Agenda

July 8, 2008 by

Donor fatigue has set in at the G8. Support for Africa is getting short shrift as G8 leaders turn their focus to the growing economic crisis afflicting their domestic economies. There has been a return to essences – surging oil prices, jobs at home and inflation. While the shift from G8 leaders is not surprising, what is puzzling has been the silence from African leaders at the Summit. NGO lobbyists for Africa and celebrity diplomats have been much more vocal than government leaders from the continent.

Yes, the summit in Toyako kicked off with a meeting with seven African leaders. Tomorrow (July 9), South African President Thabo Mbeki will sit down with the leaders again as a member of the so-called “Outreach 5” countries. But even with this high degree of participation, the African agenda built up from Gleneagles in 2005 to Heiligendamm in 2007, is receding with the economic slowdown.

Follow-through on the G8’s commitment to African development has stalled. The promise on increasing ODA to Africa beyond 2010 has been dropped. Moreover, the G8 is facing sharp criticism among NGO groups about the delivery of aid with DATA (Bono’s organization) saying that G8 countries have only come up with $3 billion out of the $25 billion pledged at Gleneagles. What generosity remains among the G8 countries is increasingly applied in a bilateral fashion. This is particularly evident in the behaviour of the host country, as Japan has made the recommendations of its recent Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) the pivot of its G8 approach. Indeed the discussion of Africa yesterday was guided by a debriefing of the TICAD outcomes.

Just as significant, the G8 push on global health issues has slowed down. The goals of working towards universal access on health care and the full achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2010 have been watered. The G8 is now saying that it will work towards the goal of universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care – but even on this more limited commitment, no implementation dates are mentioned. Basic health care provisions have been firmly moved onto the shoulders of African leaders, with the caveat that this care would only be free where the African countries chose to provide it.

If we are not surprised by the degree of fatigue on behalf of the G8, what is surprising has been the muted response by African leaders. In their meetings with the G8, the invited African leaders did not call for more money, while health seemed to be neglected in the discussion entirely. Even more jarring has been their acceptance of transferred responsibility on the oil and food crises. Despite the urgency, the G8 has failed to deliver any constructive measures to calm energy and grain prices. Rather, it has passed the burden onto Africa to build its own food production and onto Algeria and Nigeria to increase oil production.

There are a lot of arguments about why African leaders have acted in this restrained fashion. A dominant one relates to the pressure applied by the G8 to do more on Zimbabwe. While the G8 leaders are frustrated that Africa has not done more to criticise the Mugabe regime, African leaders are frustrated that they (and the African Union) have not been able to work out a negotiated settlement.

The G8’s lackluster performance has been matched by an uninspired showing by Africa’s leaders. As they leave Toyako, development and health issues remain unresolved. The cause has been taken up, however, by a set of well-known NGOs who have provided much of the ‘bite’ behind criticism of the pull-back of the G8. At the head of the pack have been DATA, Oxfam, ActionAid, and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty who each have a depth of technical knowledge and are sustaining these intricate debates.

With bite must come ‘buzz’. To its credit, DATA provides both with a mix of technical acumen and media skill with celebrity champions such as Sir Bob Geldof. Here at the international media centre, his presence looms large – securing key bilaterals and network interviews between casual strolls through the halls.

Report on G8 Outreach Conference

July 8, 2008 by

Can the architecture of international governance be changed without world conflict? Has economic strength become a diplomatic tool of emerging powers? Would expanding the membership of the G8 address its double crisis of legitimacy and efficiency?

These were among the questions posed to a group of international experts assembled by CIGI to discuss how the current, peaceful and economic-led shift in global order has put a set of major emerging economies are commanding a greater presence in world affairs. There was consensus that the G8’s inadequecies were rooted in the self-selected nature of its membership that does not reflect current global realities and that deepter integration of the Outreach 5 countries in the processes of the G8 could work to address the body’s structural and functional limitations.

The report advances the idea that “Economic Diplomacy” can be conceived as the application of a nation’s favourable economic conditions, by conferring rewards or penalties, toward particular foreign policy objectives. As an area of study, it explores the multiplicity of tensions between politics and economics, between international and domestic pressures, and between governments, business and civil society. Existing literature largely focuses on how economic diplomacy is practiced in trade-related negotiations; however, emerging economies are increasingly employing it in wider policy arenas. In recent years, economic diplomacy has been used by both state officials and corporate leaders in rising powers to leverage foreign investment and integration in global supply chains into diplomatic power on political issues.

CIGI’s research in this area is an extension of the BRICSAM project on the rising economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, ASEAN, and Mexico and the pathways by which each country has integrated into the world economy. The economic diplomacy project is operated in tandem with CIGI’s project on Breaking Global Deadlocks (with the Centre for Global Studies), which over the last two years has assembled groups of former diplomats, practitioners, and G8 sherpas to discuss opportunities for G8 summit expansion and alternative ways to address major global issues.

The report examines progress in the Heiligendamm Process of dialogue between the G8 and the Outreach 5 countries and examines whether effort is “democratizing” global governance. The full report can be found at:

Reaching Out to BRICSAM: Economic Diplomacy and the Heiligendamm Process
Andrew Schrumm and Agata Antkiewicz
Waterloo: The Centre for International Governance Innovation, June 2008

G8 to Promote Food Stockpiles

July 7, 2008 by

In the last year, the average price of corn has increased by some 60 percent, soybeans by 76 percent, wheat by 54 percent, and rice by 104 percent. These raging prices have pushed common agricultural goods out of reach of many of the world’s poor – the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates an additional 50 million people have gone hungry over the last year. This week, the G8 will discuss how the elite club can contribute to alleviating the global food crisis.

Dr. Jennifer Clapp, the CIGI Chair in International Governance at the University of Waterloo, has been quite clear that the G8 must respond to the food crisis. In a recent Globe and Mail commentary, she said that “it is vital that rich-country governments recognize their part in creating the food vulnerability now faced by many developing countries. They must step up to the plate and provide the necessary assistance in both the short and the long term.”

Already, there are early indications of what the G8 leaders are planning to agree to. The Asahi Shimbun reports that summit sherpas agreed to a food stockpile system where each G8 country would amass specific amounts of food stuffs, particularly grains, and store them in climate controlled warehouses. At times of grain market destabilization, the G8 would then release its stockpiles into the market, in an effort to calm prices. This system would follow in a similar model to the oil stockpiles encouraged by the International Energy Agency.

This proposed action, can be seen as a response to pressure from the World Bank president Robert Zoellick who has urged the major industrialized nations to take responsibility for the ongoing food crisis. Some activity has been seen. In response to the UN food summit in June, many G8 countries have made significant pledges to increase food aid, while deployment of these funds have been criticized as slow. The idea of stockpile could likely spark a debate on the need for more effective food trade that could halt food crises before they start. If G8 countries have enough food to stockpile, why should the world’s poor go hungry now?

As final pre-Summit planning closed on Friday, Japan’s Foreign Minister announced an additional $50- million of food aid funding. Speaking to the proposed action, he said that “there remain the issues such as whether to actually keep stockpiles in warehouses or to keep account on the books, and of course, we will also discuss how to ensure swift delivery in emergencies.’’ Also on the leaders’ agenda will be collective solutions to address the slowing global economy, trade restrictions on agriculture, and introduction of non-fuel biofuels.

For detailed examination of the sources and effects of the food crisis, view Dr Clapp’s CIGI lecture (13 May): The Global Food Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Solutions?

China and the G8: Problem or Solution?

July 6, 2008 by

Pressure is mounting on the G8 to address the question of China’s membership in the Club. The perfect storm of macroeconomic imbalances, soaring energy costs, rising food prices, climate change, global health and international security concerns has brought the issue of enlargement to the center of attention at this year’s G8 Summit. None of these challenges can be fundamentally resolved without China playing an enhanced role in the international system. However, as a guide to action, the debate splits into two camps. One school sees the need to “bring-in” China. The other sees China as part of the problem rather than the solution, either too large to be managed, or too disruptive of the established order.

In the run up to the July 7-9 G8 Summit in Toyako, Japan, the debate is intensifying. The functionalists and students of Great Power politics highlight the need for a new concert of powers. The benefit would be reinvigoration of the legitimacy and efficiency of the G8. China, India and arguably Brazil are the pivots for immediate enlargement.

The resisters are also ramping up their calls for exclusion. The most explicit argument comes from Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who clearly favors keeping the group as a tight league of democracies. The softer side, associated with Japan’s foreign ministry as well as analysts who see the real challenge as the G8 “reaching-in” and consolidating its ranks, talks about the origins and spirit of the Club as a bulwark for the protection of market-based democratic societies in the Cold War context.

We have found in our close investigation of the G8 process – particularly China’s engagements – that either/or interpretations are misleading. The most appropriate term for describing the interaction between the G8 and China is subtle forms of hedging.

The G8 is already pursuing the de facto enlargement question, but its approach at the yearly Summits has been largely incremental and ad hoc, engaging but not formally embracing China. The Club is engaging China along two tracks. The first is the Heiligendamm Process between the G8 and the so-called Outreach 5 (or G5, as they call themselves), initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007. The technical HP discussions aim to build trust and confidence through regularized dialogue on priority issues, ranging from cross border investment, research and innovation, climate change, energy cooperation, and international development. The exercise will be completed at the 2009 G8 summit in Italy. The second track of engagement is host Japan’s climate change discussion at the Toyako summit. While China is participating only as one actor in a group of major economic powers, its impact on climate change exceeds that of merely one among equals.

Less understood is why and how China has hedged its options toward the G8, and emphasized meeting rather than joining. China wants its rise to be peaceful, and to be accepted at the apex of the international order. Beijing wants to see China restored to its so-called ‘rightful place in the world’. But China also wants to enter on its terms. This would mean having a seat at the table and status equivalent to the original seven, which even Russia does not yet have, despite formally joining the Club in 1998. And China would likely join not by itself but with other emerging powers, and avoid being seen as abandoning the global South.

Beijing will likely maintain its hedging behaviour in the near future. However, as China’s international profile grows so does pressure on Beijing to demonstrate that it is willing to act not only as a force for world peace and stability but also a responsible international stakeholder. This makes a turn to G8 membership very possible for China in the medium-term.

The Toyako summit will be an important testing ground for Beijing’s intentions, as well as the G8’s actual capacity to solve problems. Tokyo has focused the Summit discussions on global climate change. Whether we will see a breakthrough on any of the fronts, depends on two things happening. First, that the G8 reaches consensus on how to secure China’s greater participation in the Grouping, including enrolling Beijing in concrete measures on global climate change. Second, that China recognizes that it needs the “G” grouping as much as the G8 needs China, and that its long-term interests lie in working in concert with the “G” members. In this way, China clearly becomes part of the solution.

Koizumi Calls for Action on Climate Change

July 4, 2008 by

Former Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi delivered a passionate keynote address at the Center for International Public Policy Studies conference in Tokyo on July 3rd. Speaking to a packed room, and a bank of cameras, the spirited former leader welcomed the G8 summit to Japan and raised the stakes for agreement among the world’s major economies on climate change and food security.

Widely considered a booster of the G8 process, Mr Koizumi never had the opportunity to host a summit. If he had, however, we would have likely seen a similar meeting agenda, focusing on development assistance and environmental policy. His government was an avid supporter of the Kyoto Accord as well as the instigators of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, now having held its fourth session.

In his remarks, he placed an onus on individuals to make sustainable changes in their energy consumption. These practices should be supported by government with incentives, but he centered on corporations to be innovative in its approach to energy efficiency and improve their own production methods.

He drew a causal correlation between the developing energy crisis and the troubling food crisis, warning that a shortage of research had been done before the widespred endorsement of biofuels. He called on G8 leaders to increase cash food aid to struggling countries and to reinvest in local agriculture programs.

Choosing not to weigh in on the difficult political situation Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has found himself in, Mr Koizumi offered some advice to the prime minister – show some character. As the heated parliamentary session continues in Tokyo, the former leader suggested that his successor clearly demonstrate that he wants to remain prime minister and ensure that his party knows he is the leader.

Not surprisingly, Mr Koizumi’s comments were well covered in the Japanese press that day.

High Profile Discussion at CIPPS

July 3, 2008 by

On Thursday, July 3rd, the Center for International Public Policy Studies (CIPPS) held a high-level, Davos-style pre-G8 summit conference in Tokyo, Japan. Bringing together corporate and government leaders, the conference examined Japan’s summit agenda, G8 outreach, economic governance and nuclear energy cooperation. CIGI and the G8 Research Group were co-organizers.

The day was opened with an address by Japan’s G8 sherpa Masaharu Kohno who outlined the importance of the G8 process and Japan’s interest in running a smooth summit. Priority was put on climate change and African aid as issues of special interest to the Japanese who have shown leadership through the Kyoto Protocol and the four TICAD conferences. Access to someone this high-level, just days before the summit is in itself impressive, but Kohno delivered with a professional and comprehensive survey of his government’s plans for the summit.

The discussions of economic governance featured presentations from the Executive Director of the Bank of Japan Kenzo Yamamoto, former U.S. G7 finance sherpa Robert Fauver, CIPPS President Naoki Tanaka and others. The U.S.-originated sub-prime finance crisis and currency valuation variations among the G8 and the O5 (particularly China) were central to all presentations. Most passionate, Fauver called for a return of the economic-focused summits, particularly in the current environment, as only leaders have the ability to address these major issues.

The full afternoon programme examined the possibilities for nuclear energy opportunities within the G8, both political and technical. Here again, the cast of presenters was impressive. Among others included the chairman of Hitachi, the chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Fujitsu senior economic advisor. Each analysed the challenges to nuclear power in Japan, with particular reference to plant siting, waste management and earthquake resilient technology.

Tying these discussions back to the G8 agenda, G8 Research Group director John Kirton argued that within the G8 there are immense opportunities for technical cooperation in nuclear energy management. While the G8 countries search for solutions to their great emissions, nuclear as a non-carbon option has great promise, but technology deployment and training remains an obstacle. Canada – as a major supplier of uranium and technology in the upgraded CANDU – could play an important catalytic role here, in his view. However, he identified the hesitant German position on nuclear cooperation as a as an impediment to policy advancement. Kirton called for the Chancellor Angela Merkel to drop her rejection of and conditions on promotion of nuclear energy as a tool for G8 as well as developing countries to meet their emissions targets.

With its ability to attract talent and high-level knowledge, CIPPS promises to be an important think-tank in Japan, leading the way towards sustainable policy options within Japan and in its international relations.