Friday, June 25, 2010

A round-up of items on today's G-8 meeting

Despite the claims that it is now an meaningless organization, here is a round up of items about the G-8 meetings that begin today.

From the CBC, here is an overview of the Canadian hosts greeting their guests.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has formally welcomed G8 leaders at the organization's annual summit in Huntsville, Ont., where they are expected to discuss global security, and Canada's key initiative on maternal and child health.

The leaders of the seven other Group of Eight leading economic powers — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States and Russia — are gathering in the exclusive Deerhurst Resort near Huntsville before they join other G20 delegates in Toronto on Saturday.

Ahead of the formal talks, Harper praised Britain's new government for its recent spending cuts, saying British Prime Minister David Cameron's budget "highlighted the very fiscal consolidation" Canada was trying to steer the G20 toward at this weekend's summit in Toronto.

"I appreciate your responsible and difficult decisions in that regard," Harper told Cameron during the leaders' brief remarks to reporters at the G8 site.

Cameron replied he believed the spending cuts were what "needs to be done" and said he looked forward to working with other leaders at the dual summits to "address the imbalances that we have."

While some leaders are calling for continued stimulus spending in the wake of last year's financial crisis, Harper is expected to call on G20 leaders to cut their budget deficits in half within three years.

Read more:

Reuters reporter Lesley Wroughton focuses on the broken aid commitments of the past and the calls for accountability int today's meeting.

Although the G8 cannot avoid talking about its own economic troubles -- namely the strength of the global recovery and the state of public finances -- the smaller group wanted to carve out some time to discuss problems facing poor countries, G8 officials said.

Canada, host of the G8 and G20 meetings, wants to ensure that donor countries follow through on their commitments.

The hosts also want mother-and-child health and the rebuilding of Haiti from a devastating earthquake to be the focus, officials said. Haiti was invited to attend the G8 meeting along with Jamaica and some African countries.

The United States is pushing for more agricultural investment in Africa and has created a fund to boost food production in poorer countries.

The G8 will discuss progress toward meeting the eight U.N. Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, on poverty by 2015. The group will also review the $18 billion shortfall in reaching the $50 billion total pledged in 2005 at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

The Gleneagles meeting also promised to provide an extra $25 billion a year for Africa as part of the overall $50 billion increase in financial assistance by 2010. Citing figures from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank said the G8 had provided just $11 billion of the $25 billion for Africa.

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