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“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

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problems in the Nigerian Delta which are costing 1 million barrels of oil a day. 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.

“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 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, we also 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 European Union for an average fuel efficiency target of 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2020. My right honourable 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. We will seek to make permanent these initiatives by setting up an international partnership for energy efficiency co-operation 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

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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.

“With rising food prices having an impact at home and abroad, particularly for the poorest, the need for co-ordinated global action is clear. So the G8 agreed to invest over $10 billion dollars not just to meet 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 of the Doha trade round where lowering trade-distorting subsidies and import restrictions could increase global GDP by as much as €120 billion a year by 2015. The Doha trade round is primarily a development round that will benefit the poorest countries most, but if we are to break the year-long deadlock in negotiations, the upcoming WTO ministerial on 21 July will be critical: a make-or-break meeting about the trade deal.

“I discussed the importance of this with all participants of 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.

“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 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 25 September.

“My aim was to turn generalised 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. Some other countries will provide additional resources for health systems.

“We also agreed to help fund, in 36 African countries, the World Health Organisation target of 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people—in total, an additional 1.5 million new doctors, nurses and health

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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 financing, by 2010, 100 million bed nets 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 co-ordinated international action on Iran and the Middle East peace plan. 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.

“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, the 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.

“Just as on Zimbabwe where we have seen the growth of an international coalition for change, there is growing agreement on the need for detailed collaborative actions on energy, climate change, trade and international development. I commend this Statement to the House”.

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

11.54 am

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement. She deserves a medal for her endurance. It is clear from contemplating the menus published in the press that a good time was had by all and, after his strictures about food being wasted in our fridges, I hope that the Prime Minister took a doggy-bag with him. But there is a serious point in all this because we should thank the Japanese people for their exquisite courtesy and hospitality, and whose firm friendship we appreciate so much. Equally, however, I wonder whether it is tolerable in the present state of the world that any Government should feel the need to spend £283 million to enable a few selected political leaders to meet. Have we not drifted too far from the original intention of an informal gathering of world leaders to enable them to exchange ideas informally and away from the glare of events? Should we not perhaps go back to something like that? There are already enough gala events on the international merry-go-round with pre-cooked communiqués to justify far more informality.

Turning to some of the outcomes, I congratulate the Prime Minister on at long last getting Zimbabwe to the top of the G8 agenda. The communiqué says

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that the G8 does not now recognise the legitimacy of the Zimbabwe Government. Does that mean that the defeated presidential candidate, Mr Mugabe, will no longer be addressed as “President” by the UK Government? There is talk of an arms embargo, but is not even that a little late after Mr Mugabe’s arsenal, despite the stand of South African trade unionists, was replenished with Chinese arms? There is also some talk of travel restrictions. If she is able to, can the noble Baroness expand on what these will mean? How many members of the murderous Mugabe clique will now be targeted, and what will be done about the weakness of the UN in allowing Mr Mugabe to attend UN gatherings? Can we be assured that there will be no repeat of the recent shaming events at the Food and Agricultural Organisation conference in Rome? Will there be a UN commission to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, because talk is poor medicine for that country’s woes? Another southern African country cries for action, and it has waited too long for justice.

On Africa more widely, I ask about the vital issue of access to HIV and AIDS treatment. Last year, when Mr Blair was Prime Minister, he said that the G8 had reiterated,

Yet now, with just two years to go, the G8 says that it is merely “working towards the goal” of universal access. Has this vital goal been diluted, because it does not sound to me like a very concrete proposal? No interim targets have been set in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and if one looks at the statements on climate change, one sees that the details are, as is often the case with Mr Brown, not as impressive as the headlines. The emissions target is for “global emissions”, not G8 emissions, and it is not clear what the figure for developed countries will be. The target is 42 years away and there are no clear interim targets. The declaration issued by the wider group of economies on Wednesday includes no specific figures at all, so progress since last year has been painfully slow. Did the Prime Minister take the opportunity to explain his policy on motoring, and whether he has yet been able to retract his assurances that the majority of drivers in the United Kingdom would be unaffected by the increase in vehicle excise duty?

On the world economy, I welcome a reassertion of the importance of globalisation and the breaking down of trade barriers. A renewed commitment is given to the Doha negotiations, but what specific progress can we expect, and when? Is not the unedifying public spat between President Sarkozy and Commissioner Mandelson a matter of some concern? It is worrying if a representative of one of the prime protectionist bodies in world trade is taken to task for being too open. Did the Prime Minister have a bilateral discussion with the President of France to take this up with him, and did he tell him to lay off his friend the Commissioner?

What conclusions were drawn on oil prices, given the Prime Minister’s discussions with the Russian President, and on food prices? Do the Government have a view on oil prices? Do they now believe that they will go up or down over the next quarter, and what steps have been taken to reduce food prices? Do

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the Government believe that there will be a reduction in the year ahead? Do not the Government now regret their negotiating error in giving up Britain’s EU rebate before securing reform of the protectionist CAP?

France and the United States are cutting taxes to boost people’s living standards, but Britain has no such freedom. Thanks to the Government’s policies we now have the biggest budget deficit not only of G8 countries but of all the 55 large economies except Hungary, Egypt and Pakistan. I doubt that the Prime Minister gave the G8 leaders a lecture over the sushi about no more boom and bust.

Finally, the G8 expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear non-compliance and called on the Iranian Government to act in a more responsible and constructive manner, particularly in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. How do the Government now assess the responsibility and constructiveness of the salvos of long-range missiles fired off by Iran in the aftermath of the G8? In view of its threats to respond against coalition forces in the event of something that none of us wants to see—a strike by a foreign power on Iranian nuclear facilities—how do the Government assess any potential threat in the coming months?

At the summit there was unquestionably a lot of talk, which has led to a lot of conclusions. It remains to be seen whether any of this will result in action or benefit to the world, or whether any good at all will come out of it.

12.01 pm

Lord McNally: My Lords, I will not follow the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, down the path of making cheap remarks about the sushi or the menu and, despite urging from the Benches behind me, I would not dream of making a Heathcliff joke in front of Cathy. But I can speak from personal experience on what the noble Lord said in that I was a spear carrier at the first G6 summit at Rambouillet and the subsequent summits in the 1970s. I remember that Mrs Thatcher—now the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher—always followed them up by saying that they were talking shops and a waste of time. So, in a way, nothing much has changed, although we all need to take stock.

When one looks at the immediate post-war world and how the giants at that time responded to the massive problems facing them with such courage, vision and imagination, and even in the 1970s when the oil shock was upon us, one sees that the major economies seemed to have a clear cohesion and sense of purpose. Watching the events in Japan from afar, there was a worry of rabbits caught in headlights and the need for a sense of urgency. It underlines again the problem of whether the machineries set up in the immediate post-war world are now adequate for the challenges, and whether they are sufficient to meet those challenges to allow the G8, like Topsy, to keep on growing and growing. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, is right: those first meetings genuinely were small gatherings—with the Heads of Government and one other sitting around the table talking about the issues—and all the better for it. The meetings are now mega-jamborees that seem to have a momentum all of their own.



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One wonders whether most of the discussions about individual agenda items have the right people there—for example, whether climate change needs Brazil, China and India; whether oil prices need the Saudis; whether Africa needs the South Africans and the Nigerians. Somewhere between the machinery created in the immediate post-war world and the G8, there is an urgent need for reform, but not much sign that that urgency is being acted on. I see the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, in his place; I hope that I am prompting him to intervene later.

Obviously we welcome the statement on Zimbabwe, but I again echo the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde: people want to see real and specific action against those named individuals. The City of London has a role to play, as does the EU. It is an affront to see this illegal regime attending international meetings. It is also time for some really candid talk with South Africa about the damage that Zimbabwe is doing to the whole region.

The bilateral talks with Russia were interesting. There is a lot of machismo in the British press about who wins and who loses in such discussions, but I always recall an old mentor I had in the Foreign Office, Sir Frank Roberts, who used to say that with the Russians you are engaged on all issues at all levels at all times. That is still very good advice even with the new Russia.

I again have to echo the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, who asked about the Doha round. It is a bit wrong that our gallant new hero—as we heard from all parts of the House at Question Time—Commissioner Mandelson, should be going into battle with a feeling that his sword may have been blunted by the President of the EU for the time being. We need that enthusiasm for the Doha round if it is to be carried through.

Of course we welcome the various and many initiatives listed. For me, they underline some of the debates we had on the Lisbon treaty. Surely this report underlines the fact, if that were needed, that the EU should get on as quickly as possible with the real issues facing the citizens of Europe, rather than being paralysed by constitutional navel-gazing. I hope the Minister will assure us on that.

I am a little worried about the second to last paragraph in the Statement—that the IMF will be a better early-warning system for the world economy. I have always liked the definition that economists are men trained to predict the past. There is certainly a need for a better early-warning system, but simply to rely on the IMF goes back to the question in my original point about whether the international institutions set up in the 1940s are in need of fundamental reform, and what priority the Government will give to that reform.

12.08 pm

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords for the advice they have given me throughout their comments. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, that on behalf of this Government we should thank the Japanese Prime Minister for his hospitality. Whatever may have been

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written in the press, it is important to recognise the effort that nations put in to ensure that these occasions achieve the best that they can.

The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, questioned the cost of such events, but both noble Lords questioned their relevance. My view is that we need all the different kinds of events: the informal bilaterals, the telephone conversations, the informal talks among world leaders in the margins of meetings, and the formal sessions. Speaking more humbly, I have not even been a spear carrier at these events but I have, as noble Lords know, attended the Peru summit on behalf of the Prime Minister and the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council. There was never a meeting that I went to, and sometimes I went tired and reluctant, where I did not benefit from the ability to talk face to face to someone—often a meeting that took place spontaneously, but which achieved a great deal. We have to make sure that the context in which world leaders are able to discuss issues together is an important one. Events in individual nations prevent leaders, Ministers and politicians doing many things, and without these scheduled meetings it would be much more difficult. I am sure that noble Lords opposite, some of whom played eminent roles when they were in government, will well remember the difficulties of trying to find the time to have this kind of discussion and debate. The point is well made, none the less, that one always has to look at these events in that context.

Institutional reform is one of the issues that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have said is important. The IMF needs to become that early-warning device. I know that that area was discussed, and it is something the Prime Minister feels strongly that we need to consider.

I am grateful for the congratulations that were given on getting Zimbabwe to the top of the G8 agenda. We await what will happen in New York. In the Statement I described 14 named people who are part of that inner cabal of the Mugabe “Government”, as it were, on whom we are looking to impose travel and financial sanctions. That will be done, as I said, through a forensic assessment of these people’s bank accounts and so on.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that the Prime Minister and the other G8 leaders had a frank discussion with President Mbeke at the G8 Africa Outreach session on the first day of the summit. I am sure that many of the points that have been raised today, at Question Time and elsewhere, were raised with President Mbeke. We understand the position that noble Lords hold on that.

With regard to access to HIV treatment, the deadline is 2010, which is not very far away. The tenor of what I was trying to put across in the Statement was that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was keen to turn dates and rather nebulous commitments into action plans that gave not only interim goals, where that was appropriate, but also the action plans to support them from each country. He will continue to push for that.

We cannot deal with climate change without working together with all the major global economies. That is being done partly through the Gleneagles dialogue and the Major Economies Meeting. It is important for

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the G8 to act as a group but within the context of recognising the importance of working together. All these international organisations—the European Union, the G8 and the UN—have a part to play in trying to keep the pressure on ourselves and each other, as well as in finding ways to implement the changes that will be needed.

With regard to the Doha round, my money is on Commissioner Mandelson. It is important that we continue to put pressure on trying to reach agreement. Without repeating everything I said in the Statement, I hope noble Lords will be assured of our commitment to trying to find a solution to break the deadlock that has been with us for some considerable time.

There was not a formal bilateral between the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy, but they discussed trade in the margins. The French President has said that he is committed to successful World Trade Organisation talks. We now have to look to what can be achieved in the WTO, but in the firm knowledge that this country will be pushing hard to ensure that we reach the best possible agreement.

With regard to the link between food production, climate change and poverty, it is important that we recognise that the poorest who are hit hardest by climate change are often hit hardest when they are trying to sustain food crops. We need to consider what food the world has to grow in order to feed all our people. It is important that the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food, which is not yet in detail but has set itself the vision to bring everyone together to work out precisely how we do that, is an important step in so doing.


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