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Keeping Sustainable Development Commitments:
The Recent G7 Record

Ella Kokotsis

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Tokyo Summit, 1993


With respect to developing countries, the leaders in Tokyo pledged to pursue a comprehensive approach to aid, trade, investment and debt strategy. However, a report released by non-governmental development agencies analysing foreign aid around the world found a "widespread decline in aid budgets and an increasing diversion of aid from long-term development projects to short-term emergency relief". (Globe and Mail, July 10, 1993). Although UNCED had proposed a target of 0.7% of GNP for development assistance, by the time of the Tokyo summit, none of the G7 countries had attained this goal. In fact, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy and the United States all reported development assistance levels less than one half of the UN target. (see appendix C) Although Canada ranked second to France among the G7 countries in its aid budget (0.45%), Canada's ODA to developing countries was cut by CDN$44 million in 1992-1993, and by CDN$225 million in 1993-1994. It is estimated that ODA will be cut by an additional CDN$262 million in 1994-1995. Despite these financial constraints, however, the Department of Finance stated in its 1994-1995 Estimates that Canada remained committed to achieving the ratio target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA.

In line with the communique's stated commitment to continue reviewing the question of debt relief, the G7 called for an increase in the rate of debt cancellation for the poorest developing countries. With respect to this summit initiative, CIDA signed agreements with El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia involving the conversion of CDN$77.6 million of outstanding ODA debt. (Dept. of Finance Estimates, ODA, 1994-95; 30)

The communique also supported the renewal of the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) - a loan program to 78 low-income developing countries "that pledge to implement macroeconomic adjustment and structural adjustment programs". (NIKKEI, June 25, 1994) In response to the summit's emphasis on the renewal of the ESAF, the IMF increased the quota of loans by 5 billion SDRs (1 SDR = US$1.47) to 10.1 billion SDRs in December 1993. (NIKKEI, Oct. 5, 1994)

Although most G7 members reduced their aid to developing countries during 1993 due to "aid fatigue", Japan, the world's largest donor nation, was the only G7 member to increase its ODA disbursements - by 0.97% - in 1993, to an amount totalling US$11.2 billion. Overall, the industrial nations (OECD-DAC) saw their official development assistance decline from US$60.8 billion in 1992 to US$54.8 billion from 1993; a reduction of 11% from the year before. (NIKKEI, June 25, 1994; June 29, 1994)

Similar to Munich, the Tokyo communique made very few tangible development commitments. Apart from the leader's endorsement for the continuation of the ESAF and their support for debt relief for the poorest countries, the communique set no firm targets or goals for development assistance. Rather, the leaders stated that they would "make all efforts to enhance development assistance" - a commitment which in fact failed due to fiscal restraints and budgetary reductions. In the year following the Tokyo summit, Japan remained the only G7 country to increase its ODA disbursements.

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