At 15:00 on 20 July, the four leaders from developing countries met with the G8 Leaders present in Tokyo to exchange opinions in a meeting that lasted for two and a half hours. The latter half of the meeting was a roundtable meeting in which the leaders were joined by representatives of the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and information technology (IT) related businessmen.
Highlights of the Meeting
The developing countries together with the G8 joined in highly commending Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori for his initiative in holding this meeting, representing the first time such dialogue has been held between the G8 and developing countries at the highest level. The meetings were praised for their significance and proactive dialogue.
The developing countries expressed the desire that they would like to continue this meeting in Italy next year. There was no concrete response to this by the G8, but the Leaders recognized the significance of the meeting and applauded its positive nature.
The keyword during the meetings was "partnership," with the developing countries stressing both a "global partnership" and "action oriented partnership." The former points out the importance of North-South dialogue, and the latter stresses commitment through action as opposed to rhetoric.
The need for action was a strong desire that emanated from the developing countries, whose expectation is that the G8 issue a clear message of action from Okinawa.
Specific Agenda Items
The latter half of the meeting dealt with IT, infectious and parasitic diseases, and human resource development, whereas the first half focused on debt and development, during which IT and AIDS were mentioned.
Reduction of Debt
The developing countries mentioned that the number of countries targeted for debt reduction should be expanded, and further noted that Sub-Sahara African countries bear a particularly heavy burden and should be one focus of assistance.
It was also pointed out that in order for developing countries to achieve growth, there is a need to expand foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries, something which a mere cancellation of debt will not accomplish. In this connection, the point was made that although it is necessary for the G8 to formulate measures to deal with these issues, the effect of debt reduction would be rendered impotent without the self-help efforts of developing countries.
Japan received particularly highly acclaim for its efforts concerning its initiative under which the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was convened in recognition of the necessity of South-South cooperation and human resource development in developing countries. There was also a proposal for the creation of an international development force by the G8, comprising a senior volunteer system through which the expertise of retired citizens in developed countries would be put to use in developing countries.
Discussion also touched upon the architecture of the international economy, and there were requests that the new World Trade Organization (WTO) round place focus on developing countries and reforms be implemented with regard to the international finance system in such a way as to reflect the opinions of developing countries.
Information Technology (IT)
Various issues were discussed, including the growth of IT investment and the importance of IT in educational and medical areas.
Average life expectancy after contraction of AIDS is declining with the situation being particularly severe in Africa. All participants in the meeting pledged cooperation noting that AIDS was an issue that affected all humanity and that the international community should cooperate as a whole to address it in this regard.
H.E. Mr. Yoshiro Mori
Prime Minister of Japan
H.E. Mr. Jacques Chirac
President of the French Republic
The Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of the Civil Service, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
H.E. Mr. Giuliano Amato
President of the Counsil of Ministers of the Republic of Italy
H.E. Mr. Romano Prodi
President of the European Commission
The Hon. Lawrence H. Summers
Secretary of the Treasury, United States of America
H.E. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki
President of the Republic of South Africa
H.E. Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflica
President of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria
H.E. Mr. Chuan Leekpai
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
Mr. James D. Wolfensohn
President, World Bank Group
Dr. Gro Herlem Brundtland, MD, MPH
Director-General, World Health Organization
Mr. Mark Malloch Brown
Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Mr. Nobuyuki Idei
Chairman and CEO, Sony Co.
Mr. John Chambers
President and CEO, Cisco Systems Inc.
Mr. Vernon Ellis
International Chairperson, Anderson Consulting
Ms. Zoe Baird
President, Markle Foundation
Mr. John Gage
Chief Researcher, Sun Microsystems
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
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