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The UK position at the G8

6 June 2005
BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds has a useful summary of the opening positions on Africa and climate change for Tony Blair's upcoming meeting with George W Bush on 7 June. On Africa:

* Write-off African debts to international financial institutions the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This would save African countries $15bn over the next 10 years. This must be paid for by extra money, not money taken off future aid. And the money must go to education.

* Launch an International Finance Facility (IFF) to raise $4bn for immunisation initially and a much bigger facility later. This would involve taking out loans in the bond market secured against pledges by rich countries, a kind of spend-now pay-later scheme.

* Hugely increase direct aid. Double it if possible.

* Give Africa and other developing regions much better trade agreements, cutting down in particular on export subsidies for farm produce from richer countries.

And on climate change:

* A statement on the seriousness of the problem. This will be important to look at carefully to see exactly what is being agreed. Mr Bush will not want to sign up to what he regards as a suspect scientific consensus. The others will not want a weak compromise.

* Agreement on common actions, especially those dealing with energy efficiency, clean power and new technologies. These are areas where American industry is interested - and so is Mr Bush.

* A set of principles for the longer term. Again, the words might be waffle and will need examining.

(Reynolds tull text here)

Regarding the seriousness of the climate problem, see Fred Pearce here on openDemocracy

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