G8 comprises seven of the world's leading industrialised
nations, and Russia.
leaders of these countries meet face-to-face at an
annual summit that has become a focus of media attention
and protest action.
of birth: 7 April, 1944
of birth: Mossenburg, Lippe, Germany
studies at Göttingen University
of the Federal Republic of Germany
of the Lower Saxony SPD association
of Lower Saxony
of the SPD parliamentary group in the
Landtag of Lower Saxony
of the German Bundestag
of the SPD party executive
Chairman of the Young Socialists in the
lawyer in Hanover
training in legal work; second state
examination; admitted to practice as
Federal Republic of Germany has held the G8 Presidency
on four occasions, the most recent of which was in 1999
when the Summit was held in Cologne. Prior to
that, Germany has held the Summit in Munich (1992), Bonn
in (1985) and (1978). Germany will next hold the
Presidency in 2007.
Full Country Name: The Federal Republic of Germany
Area: 357,868 sq km
Population: 82.5 million
Capital City: Berlin (population – 3.4 million)
Official Language(s): German
Currency: Euro (€) = 100 Euro Cent
Head of State: President Professor Horst Köhler
Foreign Minister: Joschka Fischer
Germany is in Central Europe, bordering the North Sea
and the Baltic Sea between the Netherlands and Poland,
and to the south of Denmark. It has a landscape that
varies from flat land towards the Dutch border to hilly
in the south and seaports and beaches in the north.
GDP per head (PPP): US$ 27,100 (2003)
Inflation: 1.6% (2004)
Gerhard Schröder won the last Bundestag elections in
September 2002 by a narrow margin to allow them a second
term in government.
of G8 countries aim to:
cooperation over trade and finance
the global economy
peace and democracy
and resolve conflicts
Kruschandl - "Well done on famine relief - what
about global warming?"
G8's roots lie in the oil crisis and global economic
recession of the early 1970s. In 1973, these challenges
prompted the US to form the Library Group - an informal
gathering of senior financial officials from Europe,
Japan and the US.
the instigation of the French, the 1975 meeting drew in
heads of government. The delegates agreed to meet
annually. The six nations involved became known as the
G6, and later the G7 and G8 after the respective entries
of Canada (1976) and Russia (1998).
set up as a forum for economic and trade matters,
politics crept onto the G7 agenda in the late 1970s.
Issues under consideration at recent summits have
included helping the developing world, global security,
Middle East peace and Iraq reconstruction.
members can agree on policies and can set objectives,
but compliance with these is entirely voluntary. The G8
has clout in other world bodies by virtue of the
economic and political muscle of its members.
workings of the G8 are a far cry from the "fireside
chats" of the Library Group in the 1970s. Holed up
behind fortress-like security, the delegates are
accompanied by an army of officials. Elaborate
preparations are made for their meetings, statements and
G8 leaders strive to keep at least some of their
encounters free from bureaucracy and ceremony. On the
second day of their summit the leaders gather for an
informal retreat, where they can talk without being
encumbered by officials or the media.
European Union is represented at the G8 by the president
of the European Commission and by the leader of the
country that holds the EU presidency. The EU does not
take part in G8 political discussions.
1975, Rambouillet, France
members: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US
members: Canada (joined at 1976 summit, San
Juan, Puerto Rico), Russia (joined at 1998 summit,
presidency of the G8 rotates between the group's member
nations on an annual basis.
The country holding the presidency in a given year is
also responsible for hosting the annual summit, and for
handling the security arrangements. As the
foremost economic and political power in the G8, the US
is regarded as the dominant member of the group,
although this position is not formally enshrined.
of the G8 have accused the body of representing the
interests of an elite group of industrialised nations,
to the detriment of the needs of the wider world.
Key countries with fast-growing economies and large
populations, including China and India, are not
represented. There are no African or Latin American
members. The G8's positive stance on globalisation
has provoked a vigorous response from opponents, and
riots have sometimes overshadowed summit agendas, most
notably in Italy in 2001.
violence has encouraged a tightening of the security
cordon that separates protesters and politicians,
reinforcing the G8's closed-door image. In recent
years the G8 has launched drives to counter disease,
including HIV-Aids, and has announced development
programmes and debt-relief schemes. But aid is often
dependent on the respect for democracy and good
governance in the recipient countries. Critics say that
spending on such initiatives is inadequate.
disagreements sometimes emerge within the G8: Global
warming was a sticking point at the 2001 Genoa summit,
where US President George W Bush underlined his
rejection of the Kyoto treaty on emissions. Rifts among
G8 members have also been evident over the US-led war in
summit agenda | Venue
Cover | Business
Opportunities | Glossary
Change | Frequently
is the G8 Summit?
Italy (Genoa summit)
Canada (Kananaskis summit)
France (Evian summit)
US (Sea Island summit)
UK (Gleneagles summit)
Blair - promises like piecrust
Blair has also signaled a shift away from legally
binding targets key to tackling climate change. Please
e-mail your MP to urge Tony Blair not to turn his back
on climate change. Visit our information
page to find out more.
Ashok Sinha, Director of Stop Climate Chaos, said
"Tony Blair’s recent remarks on climate change
are giving Kyoto’s opponents - in particular President
Bush - the ammunition to kill off the Protocol.
For a Prime Minister who has championed climate change
throughout his EU and G8 Presidencies Tony Blair is now
in real danger of undermining the most important climate
change agreement ever."
Bush loves oil - Watch
your MP to urge Tony Blair not to turn his back on
climate change (90 seconds is all it takes).
more first Thank you for your support - the
Climate Change Campaign Team
CHANGE: RELATED STORIES
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change is a global challenge and requires a global
gas emissions have the same impact on the atmosphere
whether they originate in Washington, London or Beijing. Consequently,
action by one country to reduce emissions will do little
to slow global warming unless other countries act as
well. Ultimately, an effective strategy will
require commitments and action by all the major emitting
international response to climate change was launched in
1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, with the
signing of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Convention established a long-term objective of
stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere "at a level that would prevent dangerous
anthropogenic interference with the climate
system". It also set a voluntary goal of reducing
emissions from developed countries to 1990 levels by
2000 - a goal that most countries did not meet.
that stronger action was needed, countries negotiated
the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol, which sets binding targets to reduce
emissions 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The
Protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005, which
made the Protocol's emissions targets binding legal
commitments for those industrialized countries that
ratified it (the United States and Australia have not
ratified it). In addition, the market-based mechanisms
established under the Protocol, including international
emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism,
became fully operational with the Protocol's entry into
Recycling | Climate
ON AGENDA 21
OF PARLIAMENT A-Z HOUSE
OF LORDS A-Z COUNCIL'S
delegate at the youth equivalent of G8 shares her
Climate Change Links
Other G8 Summit websites
Britain and Scotland
Youth events in 2005
linked to key G8 themes of Africa and Climate Change