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Sustainable Development and Canada at the G7 Summit

Pierre Marc Johnson and John Kirton

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Naples 1994 and the Canadian Contribution

The 1994 Naples Summit saw a continuing lack of priority for sustainable development and its environmental aspects, and a shift toward social dimensions of the subject. Of the 36 paragraphs of the Summit communiqué, only five dealt with the environment and a further three with development. The introduction noted sustainable development as the goal for the global economy of the 21st century, and again identified environmental protection as an opportunity to create jobs. In contrast to Tokyo, which had ignored the tradeenvironment link, the Naples communiqué welcomed "the work on the relation between trade and environment in the new World Trade Organization (WTO)," called for "intensified efforts to improve our understanding of new issues including employment and labour standards and their implications for trade policies," and pledged to review progress on these issues at the Summit in 1995.

In its environment section, the Naples communiqué again noted that environment was a "top priority" for international cooperation (citing technologies, energy efficiency and pollution cleanup). It again urged multilateral development banks to be more ecologically sensitive, while adding "promoting local participation" and "incorporating environmental considerations into their programs" to the narrower concern the previous year with publicly available project appraisals. It endorsed CSD's work, implementation of the Biodiversity and Climate Change Conventions and the forthcoming conferences on these subjects in Nassau and Berlin. It also welcomed the GEF replenishment and restructuring, the Conference on Desertification, and the Conference on Small Islands. Its most firm and forwardlooking commitments were to speed up implementation of G7 national plans for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, report on progress at the Halifax Summit, and develop steps for the post2000 period. Notably absent was any reference to Canada's standard G7 topic ¾ fisheries ¾ largely because the seven members had previously agreed to focus their agenda and eliminate references to issues seen as largely of concern to only one country.[17]

In its development section, the Naples communiqué again singled out Africa, called for the success of the Cairo conference, pledged to "continue our efforts to enhance development assistance" (as well as promote trade and investment flows), and welcomed private capital flows. It specifically called upon the World Bank and regional development banks to reinforce private capital flows to the third world "while providing growing resources for health education, family policies and environmental protection." It again approved the work of the Paris Club and the renewal of ESAF, while adding IMF measures to support developing countries and ensure that all members take part in the SDR (special drawing right) system. Most specifically, it agreed "to explore ways to mobilize more effectively the existing resources of the international financial institutions to respond to the special needs of countries emerging from economic and political disruption and the poorest most indebted countries."

At Naples, there was almost no discussion of environmental issues among the heads themselves. They merely agreed that they did not have much in their communiqué on this topic and that more was needed. One leader suggested that they examine the postRio environmental agenda at Halifax the next year. The leaders' discussion of NorthSouth issues ran along predictable lines, much as the sherpas had arranged it. British Prime Minister John Major asked for a "stock of debt" approach, which Canada accepted, especially as there was a reference to following up on this the next year. Although it provided a problem for France and the US, in the end, President Mitterrand, attending his last Summit, agreed to go along with whatever G7 consensus emerged.

Neither the environment nor development was a priority item for Canada at Naples.[18] In his preSummit bilaterals, Prime Minister Chrétien did seek to counter an environmentally cloaked boycott of Canadian forest products in Germany, and discussed population issues and the forthcoming Cairo conference with the Pope in Rome. At the Summit, he joined with President Mitterrand in offering humanitarian assistance to Rwanda. Canada's major thrust came in seeking to have the new trade issues, including the tradeenvironment relationship, ripened in the OECD rather than thrust into the negotiating forum of the fledgling WTO. Canada was also active in seeking support to enhance nuclear safety in Ukraine.

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