Gordon Brown Updates UK MPs On Recent G8 Summit
[SEE ALSO: G8 LEADERS SUMMIT 2008 - SCOOP FULL COVERAGE]
PM welcomes "international coalition for change"
The world is working collaboratively on a range of international issues, Gordon Brown told Parliament today as he updated MPs on the recent G8 Summit.
The Prime Minister said that there is growing international agreement on the need for "detailed collaborative actions" on energy, climate change, trade and international development.
He also welcomed the "unprecedented" G8 statement on Zimbabwe that rejected the legitimacy of the Mugabe government, and called on the UN to appoint a special envoy to deal with the situation.
World leaders jointly called for an arms embargo and named 14 of Mugabe's inner circle that will be targeted with travel and financial sanctions.
The Summit also focussed on what Mr Brown called the "triple shocks" hurting the world economy: the doubling of oil prices, rising food prices and the rising cost of money.
He told Parliament that the shocks cannot be solved by traditional monetary means but require "direct action" on oil and food inflation and make commodity, agricultural and financial markets more stable.
On climate change, the G8 agreed, "not just to consider but to adopt" a long-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 50 percent by 2050, he said. The G8 also agreed to 25 energy efficiency recommendations from the International Energy Agency.
Gordon Brown has updated MPs on the G8 Summit held in Japan earlier this week.
Prime Minister's G8 statement to Parliament, 10 July 2008
With your permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the G8 Summit, which took place under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Fukuda, between 7 and 9 July in Toyako, Japan ---- a summit that was unique not just for the range of issues discussed in three interlocking summits - the African outreach, the G8 plus five and the Major Economies summits - but also for the large number of countries, 14, whose Presidents or Prime Ministers took part.
Let me first draw the House's attention to the unprecedented G8 statement on Zimbabwe.
Mr Speaker, in the face of the deepening tragedy in Zimbabwe - the intimidation, the violation of human rights and the detention of political prisoners - the G8 made clear that we do not accept the legitimacy of the Mugabe government and that the UN Secretary General should now appoint a special envoy both to report on human rights and to support regional mediation efforts to bring about change.
The G8 also called for the immediate resumption of humanitarian operations - essential to preventing further suffering and loss of life. And we resolved that we would take further steps to take financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for the violence.
As the House will know we have followed this up with a UN Security Council Resolution now being discussed in New York We propose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe including a ban on all supplies of any arms, weapons, ammunition and military equipment; and we list 14 named members of the Mugabe inner cabal against whom travel and financial sanctions should be imposed by the whole international community.
We have now set in train work to identify in Africa, Asia, America and Europe - through a forensic assessment - both physical assets and bank accounts of these 14 people. The UN resolution also establishes a committee to monitor these sanctions.
With worldwide sanctions and a worldwide arms embargo, our aim is that there be no hiding place and no safe haven for the criminal cabal that surrounds Mugabe. And now that the G8 has taken its decision, we propose that the United Nations puts the full weight of the international community against the actions of an illegitimate government.
At the heart of the Summit's other considerations and conclusions were the triple shocks hurting the world economy: the doubling of oil prices, rising food prices and - because of the credit crunch - the rising cost of money: three shocks that, it is now agreed, cannot be solved by traditional monetary means alone but require direct action that will tackle the sources of oil and food inflation and make for more stable commodity, agricultural and financial markets. And the summit also reflected a world that is changing fast, with a consensus:
* about the new economic power of Asia;
* that oil, commodity and food price rises represent global problems that require global solutions;
* that there is an economic as well as an environmental imperative to break our dependence upon oil;
* and that we should act in Africa and on international development for moral reasons but also because developing countries hold the key to addressing our food shortages and will be the ones most affected by climate change.
First, while as the Summit noted, there are many explanations for the doubling of oil prices - the scale of change now greater than the oil shock of the 1970s - the basic challenge, which cannot be resolved by one country or group of countries alone, is that now and in the future oil demand exceeds oil supply.
So while Governments are taking action domestically - Britain with special winter payments for old people, new help for low income families and the current freeze in fuel duty - the G8 agreed that the global conditions for ensuring a more stable international energy market are:
* First, expanding nuclear power - with the International Energy Agency suggesting that we will need a thousand new nuclear power stations over the next four decades;
* Second, accelerating the expansion of renewables;
* Third, radical measures to improve energy efficiency;
* and fourth, cooperation between oil producers and oil consumers to ensure greater understanding of the balance between supply and demand and then new investment in all sources of energy.
Britain reported that, for our part, we are following up changes to the North Sea licensing structure with a review of the current fiscal regime with the aim of increasing recovery from new and existing oil fields. In addition we will be discussing with the President of Nigeria next week how the UK can work with the Nigerian authorities to address security problems in the Nigerian Delta which are costing 1 million barrels of oil a day. And we are working with the Iraqi Government to build capacity in the Iraqi oil sector. We are also discussing with Gulf states and others how sovereign wealth funds and oil revenues can be recycled into wider energy investments.
Mr Speaker, global action to improve energy efficiency and reduce our dependence on oil will not only help reduce energy and fuel bills for households and industry but will also help us fight the battle against climate change - essential to the future prosperity and security of the whole world.
For the first time the G8 agreed not just to consider but to adopt - as part of an international agreement - a long term goal of a cut of at least 50 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
For the first time also we all agreed on the need to have interim goals and national plans to achieve them.
So I welcome the fact that the Major Economies group - which includes China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea as well as the G8 - agreed to continue to work together in the UN to achieve an international agreement on climate change next year; and that the major emerging economies have agreed to adopt appropriate mitigation actions with a view to reducing their emissions below business as usual.
As a measure of our shared commitment to meet these challenging goals, the G8 also agreed to 25 energy efficiency recommendations from the International Energy Agency, including an agreement that each country will put in place car and consumer goods standards ---- standards that if implemented globally could cut global oil consumption by 15 per cent and energy-related carbon emissions by 20 per cent - equivalent to all the emissions of the USA and Japan combined.
As I told the Summit these standards include Britain pressing in the EU for an average fuel efficiency target of 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2020 ----- and my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is today publishing a consultation paper in support of this target. Britain will also work with countries in the EU and beyond on the scope for commercialising the production of electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicles.
To make a reality of - and to monitor - higher energy efficiency standards, we will also set up a new G8 Energy Forum which will meet in the autumn and examine how we can globally adopt new standards and new technologies. This will feed into the next meeting of the consumer-producers dialogue that, following its first meeting in Jeddah, we will convene in London before the end of the year.
And we will seek to make permanent these initiatives by setting up an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation as a high level forum to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and greater energy efficiency.
We also know that to adopt alternative energy sources Africa and developing countries must have greater access to funds. So it has been a British initiative to create what are called the Climate Investment Funds at the World Bank. We agreed measures at the G8 which will now provide over $120 billion in public and private finance for alternative energy and other environmental investments: $117 billion through the existing Clean Energy Investment Framework and $6 billion of new funding through the new Climate Investment Funds ---- a huge new global investment in tackling climate change and in alternatives to fossil fuels.
Mr Speaker, with rising food prices having an impact at home and abroad - particularly for the poorest - the need for coordinated global action is clear. So the G8 agreed to invest over $10 billion to meet not just short-term humanitarian needs - including increases in food aid - but to improve food security and agricultural productivity over the longer term.
One major element in reducing food prices - as well as generating wider benefits to the global economy - will be a successful outcome to the Doha trade round where lowering trade-distorting subsidies and import restrictions could increase global GDP by as much as 120 billion euros a year by 2015. The Doha trade round is primarily a development round which will benefit the poorest countries most. But if we are to break the year-long deadlock in negotiations, the upcoming WTO Ministerial on July 21 will be critical: a make or break meeting for a trade deal. And I discussed the importance of this with all participants at the Summit including President Bush and the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa and the Prime Minister of India.
We agreed that the biggest signal we could send that the present challenges must not be an excuse for a renewed bout of protectionism was signing a world trade deal. I hope all sections of this House will agree that all countries should show the resolution to achieve the breakthrough we want and need. To support the WTO deal, the G8 also reiterated our commitment to investing $4 billion in 'Aid for Trade' to help poor countries take advantage of the new trading opportunities.
Mr Speaker, as part of this year of action on the Millennium Development Goals, the G8 signed up to new action to meet the goals on health - and also reaffirmed commitments made at Gleneagles to provide $25 billion in aid to Africa and $50 billion globally, and to establish universal access to AIDS treatments by 2010. How the world achieves further major advances in alleviation of poverty, disease and illiteracy is the subject of the UN Millennium Summit convened by the UN Secretary General for September 25th. And I call on all countries to do what is necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
My aim was to turn generalized commitments that were not time-specific into concrete action and delivery to address poverty, disease and illiteracy. We agreed that over the next five years we would deliver the commitment made at Heiligendamm of $60 billion to tackle infectious diseases and to strengthen health in Africa. And some other countries will provide additional resources for health systems.
We also agreed to help fund, in 36 African countries, the WHO target of 2.3 health workers per one thousand people - in total, an additional 1.5 million new doctors, nurses and health workers, including a substantial increase in the number of skilled midwives so that women no longer have to die unaided in child birth.
The G8 also committed to finance, by 2010, 100 million bednets for the prevention of malaria which could save 600,000 lives.
And $1 billion of new funding for the education Fast Track Initiative will immediately help a further 10 million children go to school.
During the Summit, I had a number of key bilateral meetings with other leaders, including the new President of Russia where we agreed on coordinated international action on Iran, and the Middle East Peace Process. I raised all the major issues between our two countries - our position on the Litvinenko case, the treatment of the British Council and the withdrawal of visas for BP employees.
Mr Speaker, the G8 agreed that in a world of global financial flows it is essential that immediate action to tackle the impact of financial instability at home is accompanied by clearer standards for valuation, changes in the role and use of credit ratings, better management of liquidity, and - more generally - concerted global action to reform the IMF. There was agreement that the IMF should become a better early warning system for the world economy and that the international institutions set up in the 1940s were in need of fundamental reform to ensure they are fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Further work will be done over the coming year to produce proposals for their reform and renewal.
Mr Speaker, just as on Zimbabwe where we have seen the growth of an international coalition for change, there is a growing agreement on the need for detailed collaborative actions on energy, climate change, trade and international development. And I commend this statement to the House.