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Germany: Score B+
The Okinawa Summit was relatively successful for Germany overall. Germany did not do particularly well with the HIPC initiative which received much attention at the Cologne Summit and left an impression that promised a quick implementation and speedy results. The attention to environmental issues was also disappointing. However, there were a number of successful initiatives. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder placed much importance on the open and free access to data on the human genome and the issue found its way into the G8 Communique. The German Chancellor also raised the issue of the role and future of the G7/G8 as it evolves in the 21st century. The Chancellor offered his personal viewpoint that Russia should be fully integrated and that a seperate G7 session within the Summit no longer seemed appropriate. The fact that this years G7 Statement was fairly general and much shorter than the G8 Communique seems to reflect this trend.
1. Reaffirm HIPC Initiative
The debt relief initiative for the worlds poorest nations was one of Germany's main achievements at the Cologne Summit in 1999. Even though Germany on its own has complied with the initiative to a large extent, has unilaterally forgiven debts and has made a strong statement in support of further debt forgiveness for the worlds poorest nations in Cario earlier this year, Germany has not been able to follow this up at the Summit in Okinawa. Only nine countries have reached the compliance state where they will see benefits of the initiative. A total of twenty are expected to reach this point by the end of the year. While the Final G8 Communique re-inforces the HIPC initiative, it falls far short from the expectation of its speedy implementation that was expected after the Cologne Summit.
2. Information Technology
The release of the IT Charter is one of the success stories at the Okinawa Summit. It recognizes the reality of globalization and the impact which IT has made. Germany has recognized the importance of IT not only for its own nation but also its potential for enabling economies to expand further, to enhance public welfare and promote stronger social cohesion and democracy. Following Japan's lead, Germany and the other G8 countries agreed to set up a Digital Opportunities Task Force (dot force) to make recommendations on how IT can be applied to bridge the international information and knowledge divide.
3. Rejection of Russian overtures for a debt write-off
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has stated in no uncertain terms that Germany will not consider a waiver of Russia's Soviet-era debt prior to the Summit in Okinawa. Schroeder said that Russia was quite capable of meeting its financial obligations to its foreign creditors. Furthermore, Russian interests would not be served if the country's debt were written off because its image and credit worthiness abroad could be damaged. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not bring the Soviet-era debt issue to the table and was praised by the German Chancellor for his commitment to cohesion of the G8.
4. Food Safety / Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
While the German Government was not expecting a detailed solution on food safety issues, they aim was to have some common principles establised for GMOs. The final G8 Communique reflects this with a commitment to make systems responsive to the public awareness of food safety issues and the potential risks associated with food. There is a further commitment to a science-based, rule based approach to food safety.
5. Environmental Issues
Although Germany has displayed a great concern over environmental issues in recent years, this has not been reflected sufficiently at the Summit. The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol remains an open possibility with no firm commitment. A section on sustainable forest management was included with a call to study how to combat illegal logging, including export and procurement practices. However, it does not appear that the environment played a significant part in Germany's nor the other G8 countries agenda in Okinawa.
Report compiled by: Ralph Czychun
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