Leaders favour conversion of G-8 and G-5 into G-14

Leaders favour conversion of G-8 and G-5 into G-14

G8 and G5 heads of state get ready for a group photo with members of the youth summit during the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy on Thursday. AP

Hosts of the summit and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, in his opening remarks at the summit of the two groupings yesterday, suggested some sort of a G-14 saying the G-8 and G-5 represented about 80 per cent of the world and "we may consider this as a stable format of the future".

The idea caught on when Brazilian President Lula Da Silva also spoke of G-14 and the need to review entire global governance.

Invited by the then French President Mitterand for the first time in Avian, the 5 "outreach" countries of India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, representing vast populations and considering as major emerging economies, have been regularly attending summits with the exclusive club of industrialised and advanced countries on the sidelines of the G-8 summits.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said the leaders at the summit discussed global economic recovery and to fund resources to deal with the challenge of climate change and global warming.

The common feature of discussions was the effect of the current economic crisis especially on the poor countries and how to take a coordinated approach to deal with it, especially the implementation of the decisions taken at the London summit of G-20 in April and to be further discussed at the G-20 summit in Pittsburg later this year.

On the crisis, there has been some discussions on the need for G-8 to resist the temptation of resorting to protectionist measures and for a common agreement between G-8 and G-5. There was a feeling that the "standstill" on the actionable measures of London summit noticed on the part of the developed countries and that should be reversed.

The end result of the discussions, Menon said, was that they need to work on international financial restructuring and on broader global governance and political issues.

It should be done in various other fora but there was no no finality that it should be in G-14.

There was a discussions on how to deal with the global situation and current reality and the need to talk of reforms of the UN Security Council, World Trading Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) and the international financial structure against the background of decisions to be taken by 2012 on voting rights in WB and IMF.

There was considerable feeling that global governance cannot go on like this, an opinion shared by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is heading the Indian delegation to these talks, spoke of how to get the global started from its present downturn.

US President Barack Obama said the world cannot go back to the days before the crisis broke out and consumption patterns in his country should also be revived to get the world economy revive.

He said his assessment was that the US recovery process was better now than in April. He mentioned about a nuclear security summit he was planning to convene next.
The Prime Minister made the point that countries like India, which still has good savings and investment rates, are basically driven by domestic consumption and there was need to empower the young people with good skills and employment for increased economic activity.

"We should think of putting the poor first," he said. Singh also spoke of the dangers of protectionism.

During the discussions it was felt that the IMF surveillance system to pick up early warning signals were not not good and it needs to be improved.

At the meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), it was felt that there was need to protectionism and to take forward the Doha Round of Trade Talks to an early conclusion by 2010. Already it has been delayed having started 8 to 10 years ago.

India, Singh said, was convening a meeting of the Trade Ministers in September this year to discuss Doha related issues.

On climate change, the Prime Minister praised Obama for linking climate with energy and said it was two sides of the same coin. It was necessary to recognise the links and to establish them.

He said the notion that the developing countries were not not bothered or were complacent about the climate change problem was wrong. In fact, he pointed out, that the developing countries were affected equally, if not not more, by the problem and said there was need to recognise that solutions cannot be built on perpetuating poverty.

There was need for an international regime to be in place based on equity. It was felt that the outcome for the Copenhagen summit on climate change should be ambitious.
The Prime Minister talked of emission reduction targets would have to be ambitious for 2050. The credible targets could be 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gases emissions by 2020 for developing countries.

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