The Main Issues
In the course of the news conference in which he presented the 2009 G8 Summit, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, speaking in his capacity as President of the G8, summed up the main points on the agenda for debate at the Summit held in L'Aquila from 8 to 10 July.
Economic Crisis and a Boost to Growth: New Ground Rules
Positive pointers to improvement in the economy are starting to emerge and it is important to support families' and businesses' confidence in order to rapidly trigger economic recovery. The current economic and financial crisis has highlighted certain crucial weaknesses in the global economy, which have helped to trigger and to spread the crisis itself. Hence the need to thrash out a code of shared ground rules for the world of the economy and of finance with specific, clear criteria and with the establishment of supervisory bodies and tools. One of the issues on the agenda at the G8 Summit in L'Aquila will be a strategy designed to put together a series of common principles governing the rules of propriety, integrity and transparency in international finance and business (Global Standard).
Imparting a Fresh Boost to International Trade
Another crucial factor in combating the economic crisis and in imparting a fresh boost to growth is international trade: the aim of the Summit in L'Aquila is to impart a new thrust to the Doha talks on world trade, in order to help ensure that the talks are successfully completed as rapidly as possible. Achieving an ambitious and balanced agreement would make it possible to boost global exports and to support development in the poorer countries by offering them improved access to markets in the wealthy countries.
People first: that is the 2009 G8 Summit's message. The international community is living through one of its most serious economic and financial crises since World War II. If we are to make it through this crisis, we have to consider its social aspect and to place people in the centre of government action by pursuing policies designed to restore people's confidence. Countries must continue to implement strategies capable of reducing the impact of the crisis on employment, and of ensuring that welfare and social safeguard systems are both effective and sustainable.
The struggle against climate change is one of the Italian Presidency's priorities on the G8 Agenda. It is necessary to define a global response in which the leadership and commitment of the industrially advanced countries is paralleled by an active contribution from the emerging and developing countries on the basis of a balanced sharing of responsibilities. In that sense, the L'Aquila G8 Summit, which will also be hosting the first ever meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) at leadership level, is going to be a vital step in paving the way for the success of the United Nations Conference in Copenhagen next December.
Development in the Poorer Countries and in Africa
The Summit will be broadcasting a strong message designed to attenuate the impact of the crisis on developing Countries, an impact that is jeopardizing the progress made to date in the struggle against poverty. It plans to do this by putting together a "rescue package" entailing: confirmation of the G8's commitment to development aid; the use of innovative financial tools; halving the cost of emigrants' remittance transactions; and imparting a fresh boost to international trade; not to mention the debt issue. The G8 will be promoting a new approach to backing development in the poorer countries based on the involvement of the "country system" as a whole. This, in order to make the most of the role played by all of the actors (governments, local authorities, private individuals and civil society) and all of the available resources and policies -- in both donor and destination countries -- in boosting growth and development in the poorer countries. The issue of development is to be addressed, with differing nuances, both at the G8 sessions and at the sessions with the emerging and African countries.
Food Safety and Security, and Access to Water
Over 1 billion people are currently suffering from starvation or malnutrition. The situation has been aggravated by insufficient investment in farming over the past few decades, and by the economic crisis. All of the leaders attending the L'Aquila summit will be signing a joint declaration with the International Organizations and launching an important initiative on food safety and security, to fund farming and to support the struggle against starvation. Moreover, the G8 under Italy's presidency is committed to laying the groundwork for launching a G8-Africa Partnership designed to improve access to water and to basic sanitary facilities, before the end of the year.
World health has traditionally been one of the central issues on the G8 group's agenda, and the Italian Presidency plans to continue devoting particular attention to it. The key topics will include strengthening health systems and cutting infant mortality and death during childbirth. On the basis of the experience garnered in the launch of the Global Fund at the G8 Summit in Genoa in 2001, there is to be ongoing support for programmes designed to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, also through the exploration of innovative forms of funding.
International Political Issues
The G8 Summit will also be addressing the most important political issues on the international agenda: the commitment to making progress on the nuclear non-proliferation front, the situation in Iran and in the Middle East, the struggle against terrorism, the stabilization of the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, and the situation in North Korea.
Factsheets - World Economy
Factsheets - Climate Change
Factsheets - Development