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The G8 also committed itself to working to fill the immediate $500 million financing gap for the education fast-track initiative. Again in line with broader United Kingdom policy, the G8 committed itself to helping to provide long-term predictable funding to ensure that every child gets to school, and reiterated its commitment to ensuring that no country that was seriously committed to education for all would be thwarted in the achievement of its goal by a lack of resources. That will help the meeting of the millennium development goal of universal primary education by 2015.
In addition, the G8 committed itself to identifying, agreeing and supporting lasting solutions to the financing of peacekeeping missions in Africa. That is essential if key missions such as the African Union mission in Darfur are not to limp on hand to mouth for month after month. We agreed a strong statement on the crisis in Darfur. The truth is that President Bashir of Sudan has consistently refused to admit a hybrid United Nations-African Union force, and has consistently moved only under the threat of pressure from outside. Unless he now agrees to the G8 and UN demands, we are committed to a new and tougher package of sanctions, through the Security Council, to force him to do so.
Our last session was dominated by discussion of the world trade talks. The gap has now narrowed. There is the real possibility of agreeing an outline deal by the end of June. The outstanding elements amount to only a few percentage points either way. We are therefore closer to the headline numbers than ever before, but we have to move from wanting to do the deal to doing it. The meeting that will take place at G4 between 19 and 23 June will be absolutely crucial. Britain will continue to do all we canand we have done much over the past monthsto bridge the remaining gap.
The benefits of a world trade agreement for the wealthy nations as well as the developing nations are enormous. It would be good for business and jobs, good for the multilateral system, and good for the world's poorest. I urge the United States, the European Union and the G20 developing countries to get that deal done. It will be great to succeed. It will be a profound shame to fail.
As usual at G8 summits, I also had bilateral meetings with a number of leaders, in particular a long and frank meeting with President Putin, covering the range of issues currently under discussionthe Litvinenko case, Kosovo, ballistic missile defence and energy policy. I set out our view that people were becoming worried and fearful about the implications of present Russian policy. The President set out with equal frankness his views. It was right to have such an exchange. The issues were aired with complete openness on both sides. I said to him that we wanted a good relationship with Russia. He affirmed his desire to see Russia-UK relations strong, but the truth is that the issues between our two countries remain unresolved.
Therefore, this summit made a real breakthrough on climate change, more progress on Africa and showed again the value to Britain of its transatlantic and European alliances. I commend the outcome to the House.
Mr. David Cameron (Witney) (Con):
I would like to start by thanking the Prime Minister for his statement. I wish to raise four main areas. The first is climate
change. The agreement reached at the G8 is welcome and we should congratulate the Prime Minister on his part in achieving it. Clearly, the US Administration are now taking a different approach to climate change, but can he tell us the extent to which he believes that the change in language will be backed by changes in action? After the Prime Minister's first summit in 1997, he told the House that the United States could be on the verge of agreeing to legally binding targets. We still need that to happen.
Will the Prime Minister clear up the potential confusion about baselines for the targets? Does he agree that the cuts must be measured from a 1990 baseline? As he said, the involvement of India and China is vital. He said that the goal must now be a full successor to the Kyoto treaty, with binding targets, involving the US, India and China. What prospect does he see for real progress to be made at December's UN climate change conference in Indonesia?
The destruction of the world's forests is responsible for one fifth of carbon emissions, which is even more than those generated by transport. Does the Prime Minister agree that the language in the communiqué about deforestation is very disappointing? When it comes to climate change, clearly, international action is essential, but domestic leadership remains vital. Does he share my concern that carbon emissions in the United Kingdom have risen in the past decade?
The second major issue is tackling poverty in Africa. On debt relief, progress has been made since Gleneagles and we welcome that, but on aid there is some confusion and I would be grateful if the Prime Minister could try to clear up some of the figures. There is concern that the announced additional aid is not all new money. Will he confirm that the $60 billion headline figure amounts to $12 billion to be spent annually on AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and reinforcing health systems, and that up to $9 billion of that has been pledged annually already, or is part of existing packages? Therefore, according to those Oxfam estimates, the total annual increase in spending amounts to just $3 billion a year. What can he say to those who, after the enthusiasm of Live Aid, now feel quite disappointed?
A further concern is that countries do not stick to their promises. On HIV/AIDS in particular, at Gleneagles, the G8 pledged to make access to prevention and antiretroviral treatment available to all by 2010. We argued here for interim targets to make that possible. I listened carefully to what the Prime Minister said, but is it not the case that the G8 has effectively watered down its own commitment, that it is now promising to provide treatment for 5 million people, but that that falls well short of what is required?
A key part of ensuring that countries keep their promises is to examine the quality of aid, as well as the quantity. Is it not now time for an independent international body to measure and compare the impact and effectiveness of aid, and to drive up standards so that G8 member states achieve value for money in the aid they spend?
The Prime Minister and I agree that the best way to encourage development in the longer term is to promote free and fair trade. That is what the Doha round was meant to be about. President Bushs special authority to agree a deal on trade ends on 30 June, so
we are close to the 59th minute of the eleventh hour. What steps will the Prime Minister take in the coming three critical weeks, and especially in the run-up to the Potsdam trade meeting in a weeks time, to help get Doha back on track?
The third issue is Darfur, the worlds most pressing humanitarian crisis. As the Prime Minister said, the G8 statement on Darfur covers important issues, such as an international force and the need for aid to get through to the refugee camps. The words are good, but will things actually change on the ground? Is it not abundantly clear to anyone who has visited that region that the real problem is the Khartoum Government, and their utter unwillingness to co-operate with the international community in putting an end to the killing? Does the Prime Minister agree that only strong and united action will overcome that resistance by the Sudanese Government?
The fourth issue is security. We welcome the measures on nuclear security and counter-terrorism, and the strong language about Iran. On Russia, when someone is murdered on British soil, the police and other relevant authorities should be able to pursue the perpetrators without fear or favour wherever their investigations lead. Will the Prime Minister tell us a little more about the progress that he made in his talks on that issue with President Putin?
The Prime Minister has indicated that after he leaves office he plans to remain engaged in the issues discussed at the G8, and especially climate change and development. We wait to see in what capacity; I even read in the papers that he might swap the Dispatch Box for a pulpit and the House of Commons for a church. Whatever he does, the Prime Minister can take credit for pushing the issues of climate change and poverty up the agenda of the group of most powerful nations in the world. The Opposition will always ask the appropriate questions about the delivery of the promises that have been made, but raising the profile of those issues is a genuine achievement for which many have cause to be grateful.
The Prime Minister: No, you lose any sense of embarrassment after a time in this job. First, let me thank the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) for his generous words at the end of his speechif not for his career suggestions.
There are important issues in relation to climate change. In 1997, the United States appeared to be ready to sign up to the Kyoto treaty, but before we put all the blame for that not happening on the change of Administration, it is worth pointing out that the US Senate voted byI think98 votes to none against the treaty, so there has long been an issue to do with how far the US is prepared to go in signing up to a global deal. It is particularly important to remember that there is no point in having a new agreement on climate
change unless the US is involved, and unless China and India share the common goalalbeit perhaps with differentiated obligations.
That is why I do not consider the fact that the US will lead some of the meetings at G8 plus 5 or G8 plus 7 to be adverse. On the contrary, that is a good thing because the more the Americans are prepared to take a clear lead on this issue, the better. They will, of course, be anxious to ensure that China and India are part of the deal and that everyone has obligations, and the reality is that the Europeans would also arrive at that position.
The fact that we have the prospect of a new deal with a substantial cut in emissions at its heart is a huge step forward. Of course, the December meeting will be vital but, as I have said time and again, there is no point in getting a hundred countries around the table making an agreement if their emissions amount to only 20 per cent. of the total. The G8 plus 5 represents more than 70 per cent. of the emissions. China will overtake the US as the major emitter within the next few years, and Indias emissions are already rising substantially. Those countries will be worried and concerned to make sure that we do not impose on them obligations that limit their growth, but that is why the other part of thisI did not deal with this in detail in my statementis technology transfer. As we develop the new technologies, we will have to share them with the developing world.
What the right hon. Gentleman says on deforestation is right, but there will be the possibility of making more concrete the actions proposed at the December meeting in Indonesia. On CO2 emissions, yes, it is true that we, like other countries, have got to do far more, but that is the purpose of the Climate Change Bill and other matters.
On Africa, there is a confusion here that it is important to pin down. At Gleneagles, there was a commitment to an extra $50 billion a year, $25 billion of which should go to Africa, and that was for aid and debt relief. What is then important is not that there is new money on top of the $25 billion, but that we say how the $25 billion is going to be met. Therefore, although it is true when people say, Well, only several billion dollars of the HIV/AIDS money is new, the important thing is that it is a major fulfilment of what was set out in general at the Gleneagles summit. So on HIV/AIDS, the more specific that we are on education and on treating other killer diseases, the more that this $25 billion stops being a general figure and becomes one that people can add up and thereby see what has happened.
The situation becomes very complicated for another two reasons. First, it is unclear the degree to which debt relief counts as aid; that is a separate argument in itself. Secondly, on HIV/AIDS treatment, World Health Organisation predictions are in the course of being revised. The G8 summit at Heiligendamm committed to providing help for 5 million people, which is a very substantial uplift on anywhere that we have been before. It is true that we may have to go further between now and 2010, when the commitment is set, but I think it somewhat unreasonable to say that there has not been substantial progress. I know that the right hon. Gentleman is not saying that, but it is important for those campaigning outside to realise that for the first time, we are putting real numbers on HIV/AIDS
treatment. Five million people getting antiretroviral drugs is a massive change from where we are at the moment. If we need to do more, we should be prepared to do more, and that is why this is described as an important step and not the total fulfilment of our commitments.
On the international body, this is a debate that will go on. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development has outlined his approach to this issue, which is through a committee, but I agree that one way or another, it is important that we hold to account the international community for the commitments that it has given. But one important thing was agreed right at the end of summit. The Japanese, who will hold the summit next year, agreed that Africa should again be a central part of the agenda. That is an important thing, and I believe that the world will meet the commitments that it set out, but along the way there will be much debate.
It has to be said that, over the next few years, America will effectively have multiplied by a factor of five the amount of aid that it has given to Africa since President Bush came to powersomething that is not always pointed out. But we still need some of the other European countries to do more, and part of our discussion inside the European Union and elsewhere will be to make sure that countries that have been falling back on their aid commitments in recent years step up to them.
On the world trade talks, the right hon. Gentleman is absolute rightthe meeting next week will be crucial, but the gap has narrowed. The assessment given by Pascal Lamy, the head of the World Trade Organisation, was noticeably more upbeat, but there is still very hard negotiating to do before we are there. I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman says on Darfur and the necessity for action there. On the talks with Russia, no, I cannot say that we have made great progress on the Litvinenko case. We shall continue, obviously, to do all that we can to press the Russians on this issue.
Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab): In his bilateral discussions with President Putin, was the Prime Minister not impressed by the case advanced regarding the Russians objections to the Ahtisaari planthat they have adhered diligently to the Helsinki Final Act of 30 years ago, which said that the boundaries of European states would not be varied, and that they see a concession on Kosovos independence as being a green light to Transnistria and to other frozen conflicts in Georgia and Armenia being dealt with similarly? Have they not got a case that should not be scornfully set aside, and should we not listen to them, because there is prudent counsel even in the Kremlin?
The Prime Minister:
What my hon. Friend says is the Russian case, but we have said throughout, and I believe this to be true, that Kosovo is sui generis for the reasons that have been given many times over the past few years. The difficulty comes if we do not take this issue to its conclusion, which is why we asked Mr. Ahtisaari to look at it, and if we do not then act on his conclusions, we will be in stalemate. I do not think that that would be good either for the people in Kosovo or for the region. I certainly do not dismiss and never
have dismissed the Russian case scornfully, but none the less, we have moved on from where we were a few years ago. For most of us, it is difficult to see the way in which we achieve a solution, other than on the terms set out by Mr. Ahtisaari.
In spite of the Prime Ministers optimism, though, is not he disappointed as he leaves office that, although there is a commitment to talks, there is as yet no binding commitment to action on carbon emissions? Is not what is urgently needed an agreed framework for reduction, based on the principle of contraction and convergence? What is the Prime Ministers honest assessment of the chances of achieving that? In view of Oxfams statement that Africa will feel the effects of global warming first and worst, does not it underline the need for agreed targets for reduction if the G8s agenda for Africa is to have any chance of being fully implemented? The truth is that the G8 statement on aid is in effect a promise to keep the promises that were made at Gleneagles. How can we be satisfied that that promise will be kept rather than the others?
Finally, although there is no mention of this in the Prime Ministers statement, the G8 statement says that all participants reaffirm their commitment to combat corruption by implementing their obligations to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Is the Prime Minister satisfied that Her Majestys Government are fulfilling those obligations?
One always has to be careful about taking the attitude that everything has not been achieved, therefore nothing has been achieved. In relation to the first two points, the fact is that we have come a long way on a climate change deal. There never was a prospect of concluding a treaty or an agreement at this G8, but for the first time we have the agreement from the United States that it wants to be part of a deal; an agreement to a substantial cut in emissions; an agreement for China and India to participate in the talks leading to that; an agreement that it should be through the UN; and an agreement that it should happen in 2009. It is some progress, I think.
In respect of Africa, what is important is that our promises at Gleneagles were for fulfilment in 2010. I agree that unless we ramp up the pressure, there is a danger that we will not meet all those commitments. On the other hand, and again for the first time, there have been substantial increases in the promises made. One of the things that has happened with the summit, which is one of the values of having such issues decided at the G8 and very different from the G8s of years gone by, is that the occasion of the summit is the occasion for countries to come forward and start to make commitments. In other words, I think that but for the G8, we would have been very unlikely to get major and substantial increases in commitments on HIV/AIDS, or the German aid package and so on. Although it is right to say that there is a long way still to go on climate change and Africa, we have made considerable progress.
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