11 July 2005

Secretary-General Congratulates G-8 for Steps on Africa, Climate Change, Says Progress Should Contribute to Ambitious Outcome at 2005 World Summit

NEW YORK, 8 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is an expanded statement of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Group of Eight communiqué:

I want to congratulate Prime Minister Tony Blair and his fellow G-8 leaders on what they have done today for Africa.  This G-8 was being closely watched by people everywhere.  The leaders carried the hopes of people around the world who wanted progress towards reducing poverty in Africa, and today they got it:  a promise to double aid to Africa by $25 billion a year by 2010.  And indeed official development assistance as a whole is to increase by $50 billion by that year.

This is very good news.  Similarly, there has been welcome progress on debt, with 100 per cent cancellation now for 18 of the most indebted countries and an innovative Paris Club debt solution for Nigeria.  There is also agreement to provide the extra resources that Africa’s peacekeeping forces so badly need, so that they can better deter, prevent and resolve African conflicts.

Further, in the G-8 meeting with African leaders, the latter reaffirmed their commitment to good governance, democracy and the fight against corruption.  They also reaffirmed the priority they give to the basic decision of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the areas of health, education, gender equality, agriculture, infrastructure and communication.

The Gleneagles Plan of Action on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development is also an important step forward, though I believe it needs to be complemented by an agreed international framework for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations beyond 2012, with broad participation by all major emitters from both developed and developing countries, as well as intensified research into new technologies that can reduce emissions and alleviate their harmful effects.

I had hoped that G-8 leaders might also have committed themselves to a clear, unambiguous date for ending export subsidies.  They will have another opportunity to do so in December, at the World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong. 

Meanwhile, I welcome the attention they have given to critical regional issues, such as the need to ensure a successful Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and a prompt resumption of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula.

Overall, I share their belief that the progress made at Gleneagles should contribute to a clear and ambitious outcome at the 2005 World Summit, to be held at the United Nations in September.  Between now and then we must move forward, both on what was agreed at Gleneagles and on what was not.  At the World Summit, leaders from all the world’s nations will be seeking to reach agreement not only on development issues but also on human rights, security and the strengthening of the United Nations itself.  These latter issues were not the main focus of the Gleneagles talks.  Yet one security issue -- terrorism -- forced itself on to the agenda in a most tragic and hideous fashion, and produced a united reaction of condemnation and resolve.  This highlights once again the importance of agreeing, in September, on a common definition of terrorism, so that all nations can agree what it is that they are fighting. 

In short, Gleneagles is the beginning, not the end, for the people and the leaders who made today’s success possible.  We got here through the exercise of political will.  That will must not be allowed to disperse if we are to keep on track for 2015.

I hope Gleneagles will be remembered as the beginning of something very big, perhaps even the beginning of the end of mass poverty.

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* This is an expanded version of Press Release SG/SM/9990 issued today, which reflects the Secretary-General’s view on the whole of the G-8 final communiqué.