Next week, G8 leaders meet in L'Aquila,
Italy, with a full agenda, including the global economic crisis, Iran, North
Korea, piracy, and aid to the developing world.
humanitarian groups have called on the G8 to fulfill promises made to Africa at
the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Kirton, director of the Toronto-based G8 Research Group, spoke from Rome, and
gave VOA a preview of what to expect at the summit.
think there's going to be substantial advances across a very broad array of
fronts, but really with no one central focus or big breakthrough in sight," he
Economic crisis on the agenda
the Italians are going to try and advance their desire for a new global code to
install a rule of law for moral finance, as they call it. But very few of their partners really share
the passion for that," he says.
growing concern the crisis might trigger widespread trade protectionism.
could be done usefully is…fighting the protectionism that's now broken out with
China following the United States into 'buy national' programs that really do
threaten to unleash a protectionist spiral that we all remember so badly from
the 1930s," he says.
includes both the traditional trade protectionism and new forms of financial
and investment protectionism.
was really the United States with the Buy America Act that moved into
comprehensive protectionism. And very
recently, we've now seen the People's Republic of China adopt a similar measure
of buy Chinese across their entire economy," he says.
European Union, the world's largest economy, could follow suit.
Some movement in climate change
think the summit will importantly advance the fundamental new principle, that
as the world moves to create a climate control regime beyond the Kyoto Protocol,
that all of the major carbon producing powers must commit to controlling their
carbon," he says.
says China, not the United States, is now the "world's number one greenhouse
Will Gleneagles promises be fulfilled?
Kirton sees a chance of that happening,
"saying, "The Italians have from the start given development an important place
at their summit. Understandably, as they really are the G8's frontline state
with Africa right next door," he says.
Gleneagles, G8 leaders promised to double overall aid to the developing world
by 2010, Africa in particular.
also to focus on the particular problem of food security, which is
something…which the Italians feel they have great expertise at home. So I think we'll see some moves toward…a
global grains reserve to…dampen the food crisis we saw at this time last year
and which may be coming back," he says.
says there may be an effort to boost aid levels to agriculture and "also to
ignite a new green revolution" in Africa using new farming technologies.
says Iran and North Korea will be high on the agenda, especially since both are
vying to become full-fledged nuclear powers.
He says to also look for G8 action on a unified policy on how to deal
with piracy, which has been a major problem off the Somali and Kenyan coasts.
The G8 Research group has issued a new
publication featuring articles by a number of world leaders. It can be found at www.g8.utoronto.ca.