On Monday at midnight I begin a ten hour journey from London Victoria to Edinburgh with the intention of spending the next three days learning more about what the G8 summitis means for the world in 2005 and beyond. My impression of the summit is that it offers an incredible opportunity for the leaders of these eight world superpowers to make significant and positive changes not just to the nations they rule but to many less fortunate nations, who currently form the majority of the world.
The three main issues are of course poverty reduction, climate change and trade. However my impression of the festival, conferences, demonstrations and marches surrounding the summit is that the scope and potential of these various events is much broader, than these three fundmental concerns; although most contemporary social, political and humanitarian issues are invariably linked to these major concerns.
On the days I spend in Edinburgh I will be working with the 'Students for a Free Tibet' group by raising awareness of the history and current situation in Chinese occupied Tibet. The issue of Tibet is not, as far as I am aware, on the G8 agenda. However I feel this situation is relevant to the summit and that China's presence in Gleneagles affords the perfect opportunity to both raise awareness of this issue and to pressure our governments to take action upon it. In many ways the Tibetan struggle for independance and basic human rights symbolises some of the most positive aspects of the G8's aspirations.
As China's political power grows, the people of Tibet and their supporters ask that governments and big businesses chose humanitarian and enviromental issues over economic ones. This is not to suggest that America, the U.K. and other European states shouldn't have good relations with China, but gross human rights abuses and oppressive practices should not go unchecked because of China's abundant wealth of trading opportunities. This humanitarian focus affects all issues that will be raised at the summit; including trade justice in developing countries, the reduction of carbon emissions and the dropping of debt.
My hope for the summit is that the impact of thousands of procative individuals in Scotland this year will force these eight privelleged governments to keep to their promises which do affect all of our lives.
For more information on the Free Tibet Campaign