Ahead of the G8 Summit, the prospects for a solid discussion on the partnership with Africa on development issues seemed promising. But with a packaged agenda covering topics ranging from the Libyan conflict, Japan’s nuclear disaster, the financial crises in Europe, piracy, drug trafficking, transnational crime, and the commitments that emerged related to supporting the “Arab Spring”, what time and energy was left for the African development agenda?
It seems that other issues have once again diverted commitments promised long ago to other developing countries, especially the $19 billion gap between what was pledged at Gleneagles in 2005 and what has been delivered to date.
It is tempting to analyze summits through the lens of snapshots rather than as ongoing processes. Time-series understandings of the G8 and G20 Summits are easily eschewed in lieu of segmented communiqués, particularistic press reports, or those one-off “family photos” that Stephen Harper can’t seem to make it to on time. But if there’s one thing that we can learn from economists, it is that we should interpret phenomena in relative terms (historians might word this in a different and probably more elegant manner).
As G8 leaders wrap up the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville, the social media activity is just getting started.
The ubiquity of social media and Web 2.0 has changed the landscape of international politics in how global citizens and their leaders interact. The significance of blogging, Twitter, YouTube (to name just a handful) rests in their ability to encourage and enhance an interactive dialogue.
Earlier this week The Canadian Press published an article highlighting the activity (and inactivity) of G8 leaders on Twitter, drawing attention to who is, or is not, following each other’s Tweets. Though a bit tongue-in-cheek, the article emphasizes the evolving importance of transparency through the use of social media:
G8 DECLARATION: RENEWED COMMITMENT FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
G8 Summit of Deauville - May 26-27, 2011
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met in Deauville on 26 and 27 May 2011. In this period of change, we reaffirmed our profound commitment to the values of freedom and democracy, and their universality.
President Sarkozy has invited African leaders to Deauville to discuss a wide range of issues with G8 leaders: Africa’s role in global governance; bolstering security and development in crisis-stricken regions; monitoring commitments made on development issues, such as health and food security; and aiding the development of the African private sector. Sarkozy aims to strengthen the G8’s partnership with Africa.
A ministerial meeting held in Paris on 10 May 2011 about Transatlantic Cocaine Trafficking was not the first time G8 ministers met on this issue, but it did highlight the prominence of the issue on the forum’s growing ‘to do’ list. The meeting symbolizes a new era of international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.
THURSDAY, 26 MAY 2011
12 :45 The President of the French Republic formally welcomes the Heads of Delegation; Working lunch
Theme: Solidarity with Japan and Global Economy
12 :45 Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy welcomes the spouses of the Heads of Delegation participating in the G8
Family photograph and Lunch; Meeting with Normandy producers
14 :50 First G8 working session
Theme: Nuclear Safety - Climate Change
15 :00 Working session the spouses of the Heads of Delegation participating
Theme: Fight against illiteracy
Along with our many experts, CIGI produces a range of policy-oriented publications that are connected to French Presidency’s G8 agenda and priorities. A few of these publications by CIGI's distinguished and senior fellows and researchers deserve special attention because of the particularly relevant way in which they relate to this week’s summit agenda in Deauville.
Role and Summitry
There is no doubt that nukes are on the G8 leaders’ table in Deauville this week. French President Sarkozy has made it a priority to discuss nuclear safety – in light of ongoing events in Fukushima, Japan – in addition to peace and security elements of nuclear non-proliferation.