G7/G8 Scholarly Publications and Papers

What the G8's Sea Island Summit Means
for the World Ahead

Professor John Kirton
Director, G8 Research Group

Paper prepared for a seminar at the Canadian Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2004. I am grateful for the support of Professor Kenji Takita, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Policy Studies and Culture at Chuo University, the intellectual contributions of Professor Kazuhiko Okuda and other Chuo University colleagues, the research assistance of Nikolai Roudev, Kenichi Suzuki and Madeline Koch, and the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, through the "After Anarchy" and the "EnviReform" projects, for the research on which this paper is in part based. Draft of July 27, 2004.

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Executive Summary

The British-hosted G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 5–8, 2005, will be particularly important to the G8's future and to global governance as a whole. Its first challenge is to build on the bold beginning brought by the 2004 Sea Island Summit for democratic reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Sea Island's legacy also includes a wide array of achievements on Africa, global health and environmental sustainability, as well as peace support, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and transport security against terrorist attack. This broad, balanced list shows how much a newly vulnerable, less capable America needs to go beyond imposing its own preferences through unilateral action, multilateral organizations or ad hoc coalitions of the temporarily willing, and adjust to the preferences of its democratic major power partners in the continuing, highly capable club it can count on — the G8. The presence of several Middle Eastern and African leaders at Sea Island shows that the G8 now needs to reach out to many democratically committed leaders beyond the G8. Particularly because Tony Blair's Britain brings many assets as a G8 host, the Gleneagles Summit will build on Sea Island's strong achievements on Africa, with democratic Africa leaders attending again to help. But Blair's other declared Gleneagles priority of climate change and sustainable development will require America to adjust far more that it has in the past few years. The British further face the larger challenges of expanding Sea Island's Middle East democratic development program and participation, taking up long neglected issues of the economy, energy, reforming the Bretton Woods and United Nations institutions, and defining how the G8 should evolve as a centre for global governance in the coming years. One promising way forward is to have the G20 systemically significant countries, formed at the finance ministers level in 1999, meet at the leaders level Gleneagles to help the G8 deal with global development, climate change and other critical issues central to the concerns and capabilities of both groups.

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Introduction

The Group of Eight (G8) major market democracies will hold its 31st annual summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 5–8, 2005. It promises to be a particularly important gathering of a group that has grown a great deal and done much for global governance since its first meeting as a "G6" at Rambouillet, France, in November 1975 (Kirton 2004a). The Gleneagles G8 will feature an unusually well-prepared, highly focused, ambitious agenda, centring on Africa and climate change. It should be one of the very few G8 summits hosted by the same leader a second time, as its likely host, British prime minister Tony Blair, mounted his first G8 summit at Birmingham in 1998. Gleneagles will mark the seven-year, summit-cycle anniversary of the new format Blair introduced at Birmingham. It featured a few focused themes, discussed by leaders meeting alone, with Russia now a permanent member of a new G8. And 2005 will likely be an election year in Britain, with Blair expected to go to the polls in the spring or fall.

Gleneagles will also come with some greater challenges. One is whether U.S. president George Bush's G8's bold beginning on Middle East democratization at the 2004 Sea Island Summit will prove to be one man's one-summit wonder, or will be followed up and expanded to bring the democratic revolution to the last, hard-core holdout region in the world. A second is whether some classic, core G8 summit subjects that took a sabbatical at Sea Island — notably, reform of the international financial architecture — will return to the leaders' agenda, migrate to another less G8-centred summit forum or be forgotten until the next financial crisis hits. A third is whether civil society protests, largely absent at Sea Island, will return, and do so in the violent form they took at Genoa in 2001 or the peaceful, productive format they assumed at Birmingham in 1998. A fourth is whether a now more dubiously democratizing Russia will behave as a full-strength, full, G7-like partner, as it lays the foundation to host its first regular G8 summit in Russia in 2006. The fifth is whether and how the G8 will continue its ever expanding process of twenty-first century outreach, by including as participants at Gleneagles such rising powers as long democratic India, still non-democratic China or other systemically significant states.

To identify what the Gleneagles Summit will mean for the G8 members, and for the global community as a whole, it is useful to examine in turn the substantial results of the June 2004 American-hosted Sea Island Summit, the structural reasons for its strong performance, the powerful legacy it has left, Britain's highly strategic plan for its 2005 Summit, the predictable pressures that will arise on the road to Gleneagles, and how a G20 summit attached to the G8 gathering might help Gleneagles meet the many challenges it confronts.

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1. The Sea Island Summit Performance

The first foundation for prospective success at Gleneagles is the strong performance of the U.S.-hosted Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, on June 8–10, 2004. To the surprise of many, Sea Island proved to be a summit of substantial achievement (Kirton 2004b, Bayne 2004a). It made a bold beginning to bring the democratic revolution to the last holdout region of the broader Middle East and North Africa. And it generated many accomplishments across the broad array of issues it came to include.

On many of the standard dimensions of summit performance, Sea Island set new highs (as Appendix A shows). As a deliberative institution, the G8 issued a record 16 documents, often very lengthy and detailed and covering 10 separate issue areas. In setting normative directions and principles, it highlighted the themes of freedom and democracy, both in the opening passage of its Chair's Summary and throughout the other documents. As a decisional institution, it generated a record 253 concrete, future-oriented, collective commitments in its individual documents, with some reiterated in the Chair's Summary.

To help ensure the delivery of these commitments, the G8 Summit specified 12 remit mandates for reports to be given to, or for work to be done by, the summit next year. It also mobilized an estimated US$2.77 billion in new money, a sum more than four times as much as Evian in 2003, if one much lower than the US$50 billion of Kananaskis in 2002. The Sea Island G8 created or importantly directed 19 G8 or G8-centred institutions at the ministerial, official and, importantly, civil society levels. And it issued more than 500 instructions, of both guidance and support, to a vast array of other international institutions. On all dimensions, save money mobilized, Sea Island saw a major advance from the performance of virtually all summits past.

The centrepiece for the summit, and for President Bush as its host, was the Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI), relabelled the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative on the Summit's eve. It included the integrally linked component of the Middle East Peace Process (or "roadmap"), and the immediate imperative of the sovereignty, security, development and democratization of a new Iraq. Here history was made. One hour before the Sea Island Summit opened, and thanks importantly to its strong pull effect, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed a resolution transferring sovereignty to a new Iraqi government on June 30. In doing so, it reunited G8 members after their often bitter divisions over Iraq during the previous year and a half. During, and significantly due to, the eight months' preparatory process for the Summit, the issue of democratic development in the Middle East was put on the international agenda, adopted as a goal by the Arab League Summit and affirmed by the seven leaders from the region invited to a lunchtime dialogue with their G8 counterparts on the second day of the Sea Island Summit. The Summit's signature moment came when the newly installed president of a soon-to-be sovereign Iraq sat beside George Bush in a bilateral encounter and thanked him and the American people for the sacrifices they had made in freeing Iraq from Saddam Hussein. The G8 followed with a bold political declaration promising support for the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the Middle East. It backed these words with its Plan of Support for Reform. The plan contained specific projects embracing political, economic and social reform, well targeted to the priorities of the region, and financed by US$100 million in new funds. To make this down payment permanent and expansive, G8 leaders created the Forum for the Future for G8 and Middle East ministers of foreign, economic and other affairs. It also established several similarly inclusive bodies for civil society stakeholders in strategic sectors.

The second big — and in some respects even bigger — winner at Sea Island was Africa. It secured a new program to build capacity for peacekeeping and peace support, backed by almost US$1 billion from the U.S. and European Union. It obtained another new program, containing 49 specific commitments, to end the cycle of famine in the Horn of Africa and provide food security beyond. Poor countries in Africa and elsewhere also received a promise, potentially worth another US$1 billion, that G8 leaders were prepared to extend the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, due to expire by the end of 2004, for another two years, and to top up the HIPC trust fund to write off bilateral debt. They also obtained a commitment, worth up to US$200 million, to eradicate polio by 2005, and a program, backed by about US$375 million, to develop vaccines and otherwise act against HIV/AIDS. More broadly, Africans benefited from a G8 action plan to apply private sector entrepreneurship to poverty eradication, featuring an initiative to lower the cost of the remittances sent by those in the rich north to family members and friends in the poor south. To receive these promises and discuss their future, African leaders attended the G8 summit for the fourth year in a row. Veterans from South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria were joined by newcomers from Uganda and Ghana for a lunchtime session with G8 leaders on the Summit's third day. Africa's prominence on the Sea Island agenda was due to the strong, skilful pressure from many sources, notably an American-supportive Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Junichiro Koizumi, as well as Canada and France as past summit hosts. It was also due to the institutional nest of the G8's African Personal Representative (APR) process, pressures from African advocates within the U.S. administration and a transnational coalition inspired by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, supported by Tony Blair and delivered by the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States (Atwood, Browne and Lyman 2004, Kirton and Kokotsis 2004).

A third area of accomplishment was on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Here the G8 imposed a one-year moratorium on the export of materials that recipient states could use to acquire nuclear weapons and promised to modernize the leaky nonproliferation regime to close such loopholes for good. The G8 also expanded its 2002 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials for Mass Destruction to several countries beyond Russia, most notably Iraq and Libya.

A fourth area of major movement was regional security. The discussion at the free flowing, leaders-only dinner on the second evening focused on Iran, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, and the broader Middle East, as well as dealing with Afghanistan and North Korea. It produced a G8 statement, much sought by America's G8 partners and those in the region, on Gaza withdrawal and the road to Middle East peace. Showing the summit's flexibility, political responsiveness, and commitment to human security principles, the leaders discussed Haiti, where U.S., French and Canadian troops were involved in democratic nation building together, and issued a strong statement to ward off an outbreak of ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

In other areas of traditional G8 summit action, however, the results were more modest. The discussion of the world economy witnessed the usual trans-Atlantic finger pointing. But the discussion on energy saw the G8 turn from admonishing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to explore solutions within the G8, including energy efficiency, conservation and alternatives to oil. Moreover, in a clear case of spontaneous combustion, the leaders expressed their concern with how the threat of terrorism could hurt or even end the strong economic recovery now underway, not just through the direct impact on energy prices, but also by adding uncertainty and transactions costs across the G8 and global economy as a whole. In doing so, these leaders activated their memory of past energy shocks, melded them with terrorism, and confronted the much broader threat posed by this deadly combination of new-age vulnerability in the post–September 11th world.

On trade, the leaders' statement invited G8 ministers to establish a framework by the end of July to guide the deadlocked negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). But G8 leaders refused to acknowledge the outstanding commitment to complete the Doha negotiations by 2005. On terrorism, the G8 produced the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI). It contained 28 action items, but omitted a contentious proposal for full airside screening or measures to deal with small airports and aircraft or ground transportation on subways and trains. The Action Plan on Science and Technology, whose mere existence was a real accomplishment, largely approved existing work. But it endorsed Japan's initiative on the three "R's," or recycle, reduce and reuse.

Most strikingly, the Sea Island summiteers, meeting on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Bretton Woods institutions, devoted no attention to modernizing the international financial system to meet the needs of the twenty-first century world. Nor did they address any current international financial crises, such as that in Argentina, or those that might arise if U.S. and G8 interest rates were to rise too far too fast.

If the "policy" summit had some disappointments, the physical summit had very few, at least for those seeking a flawlessly executed, completely safe experience, well designed to let the G8 and, above all, George Bush get the preferred message out with minimal civil society advice coming in. The many bilaterals, an opening dinner with the spouses, the four sessions among the G8 leaders and the three outreach sessions (with the leaders of the Middle East, Iraq and Africa) all flowed smoothly, and won public approval and praise from both the G8 leaders and their guests. No more than 500 civil society activists arrived, for activities that produced only 15 arrests on minor charges, no bodily injury and no physical damage at all. The 20,000 security personnel kept any terrorist threats at bay. And a cost-conscious U.S. government, which spent only one third as much to mount the Summit as had the French at Evian the previous year, reaped the "reward" of having only 1,492 media members arriving to scrutinize the G8 leaders, and to report the event largely from the information constantly dispensed by the U.S. administration alone. The only obvious losers were the locals, who, with much of the world's media missing, lost much of their one chance in a lifetime to showcase their city and state to the world.

As a domestic political event, Sea Island also proved its value for its electorally engaged host. Bush had been plummeting in the polls for the previous two months, to the point where his presumptive Democratic presidential rival, John Kerry, had a six- to seven-point lead on the Summit's eve. Sea Island allowed Bush to show that he could work with the allies, solve the Iraq problem before it became a Vietnam-like nightmare and globally forward the value of freedom that most Americans recalled they so cherished as they honoured the memory of the recently deceased Ronald Regan during the week the summit was held. A Fox News poll released on June 13, three days after the end of the Summit, showed that Bush had cut Kerry's lead to a statistically insignificant 2%.

Few of Bush's G8 partners secured similar domestic political benefits from spending time with him in the United States. Canada's Paul Martin, facing a general election on June 28, used his Summit performance to reverse his slide in the polls. But Japan's Junichiro Koizumi saw his approval plummet to where it had been before the strong surge brought by his pre-Summit trip to North Korea. In Britain, Tony Blair returned home to a devastating defeat in local and European elections. His Labour Party's 22.3% of the vote in the latter was the lowest since before World War One. Elsewhere in the European parliament elections, France's ruling UMP received only 16% (compared to 30% for the opposition Socialists), Germany's ruling Social Democrats 21% and Italy's ruling Forza Italia about the same.

Despite their poor standing back home, the leaders at Sea Island largely resisted the temptation to play to their domestic audiences to garner some quick popularity at the expense of their G8 colleagues abroad. The mood of unanimity shown by the leaders' togetherness at Normandy for the D-Day anniversary celebrations on June 6, and reinforced in the Security Council vote just before the Sea Island Summit opened, continued into the Summit itself. While divisions did emerge over how much a soon-to-be sovereign Iraq would receive in debt relief from the Paris Club and in security support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), these questions were easily left for different forums to deal with at a later time. The most discordant note came, safely, from France's Jacques Chirac, who emphasized at the end that the concluding Chair's Summary did not reflect his views, but without specifying where and how.

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2. The Structural Sources of Sea Island's Success

The G8 Summit is, uniquely, an international institution where individual leaders matter, and thus where their personal passions, principles, strategies, and political and diplomatic skills matter a great deal. But as individuals, they are driven to co-operate by outside pressures not fully under their control. Such pressures can do much to bring out their best and make their G8 Summit a success (Kirton 2004a).

These outside pressures, providing a powerful structure within which the individual agents acted, were particularly important at Sea Island. It was hosted by a country whose historical record as a G8 host was relatively poor, and by a president considered to be a unilateralist unwilling to adjust to advice from allies or the constraints of multilateral organizations. This president initially seemed to want a short, stripped-down summit, with the Middle East as its sole focus, and with Africa and sustainable development largely banished from the agenda, with no new financial pledges made, and probably with no outside leaders invited — or, in any event, only a few and none who had been to the G8 Summit in the recent past. Yet on the road to Sea Island, as well as at the Summit, George Bush and his G8 partners were forced to adjust in a balanced fashion to each other, in the face of the powerful outside pressures they commonly faced.

The most fundamental force was America's rising vulnerability to a new energy shock and a new terrorist shock — the two great global pressures that had reliably produced high performing G8 summit over the past 30 years (Kirton 2004a). World oil prices reached historic highs in nominal dollars on June 2, one week before the Summit started. The frequency and geographic location of terrorist attacks that killed G8 nationals spread in the weeks leading up to Summit. Both brought a new form of deeper vulnerability and were now interlinked. For unlike the oil shocks of the 1970s, the "terrorist premium" helping drive oil prices higher was largely beyond the control of America's Middle East allies in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It was not surprising that during their opening discussion of the world economy, led off by Koizumi, the G8 leaders took up the issue of oil prices and defined how the threat was different and more dangerous than it had been in the past. The greatest beneficiary of the G8 discussion was the most vulnerable G8 partner — an America with increasing economic growth, rising oil imports and soaring gas prices at the pump for voters who would go to the polls in five months, with the greatest number of troops and civilians being killed by terrorists in Iraq, and with its once solid Saudi ally now both under suspicion for complicity with Al Qaeda and under attack from terrorists too. If the terrorists were to win the war against terrorism in the Middle East, all G8 partners would suffer, but America and President Bush would suffer most.

The second force promoting American adjustment and G8 co-operation at Sea Island was America's declining capability, relative to the resources required for the U.S. to meet the threat from the broader Middle East all by itself or in ad hoc coalitions of the willing it could assemble as the need arose. Energy-rich Russia and energy-efficient, Kyoto-committed Japan were now growing more rapidly than America. America was finding it difficult to find fresh troops in sufficient volume to stay for the long haul that appeared necessary to win the war and then the peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere else. The costs of fighting the war and winning the peace were mounting, further exacerbating a fiscal deficit soaring toward historic highs and threatening to prevent Bush from making permanent his treasured but expensive and politically controversial tax cuts.

The third force was the failure of the multilateral organizations that had been largely built by America in the 1940s. The UNSC had long remained deadlocked on political-security arrangements for Iraq, due to the mere threat of a veto by a disaffected France. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) himself had confessed his agency's inadequacy in preventing Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb. And although NATO was lending a hand in the safe parts of Afghanistan, France was unwilling to let it do anything in Iraq and the Middle East. Movement at the UNSC finally came from the pull of the rapidly approaching G8, and a bilateral summit between Chirac and a Bush visiting Paris on June 5 — one day before the celebration of the 60th anniversary of D-Day. The result was a unanimous resolution on Iraq the hour before the Sea Island Summit's start. It took the G8 to get the UNSC to work.

The fourth force was the high degree of compatibility between the G8's core values of "open democracy, individual liberty and social advance" and Bush's centrepiece initiative for Sea Island of the democratic reform of the Middle East. But if Bush could appeal to the core "constitutional" principles of the G8 for support from his partners on his Middle East initiative, his partners could just as convincingly call on Americas to build on the G8's recent success in the democratic development of Africa. After all, the leaders of Egypt, Morocco and Algeria came from both regions, and Nigeria had a large Muslim population. Moreover, terrorist attacks — as the Americans knew all too well — could come from Sudan or Kenya as easily as from the Middle East. And as America's initially envisaged GMEI became more doubtful, due to resistance in the region and from G8 partners, the Americans' desire for an insurance policy from Africa to ensure a successful summit grew.

The fifth force was the constricted participation that enabled the G8 leaders themselves to do a high-level deal on the critical issue of the Middle East. From the outside, Sea Island seemed to be a short summit where G8 leaders would be distracted by on-site bilaterals, by an opening dinner with spouses and by sessions with a large number of Middle East and African leaders on both of the summit's days, as G8 leaders dealt with an agenda of increasing length and scope. But, in practice, the leaders themselves focused on a small number of critical themes. And their Summit featured a session, sought by Japan and held on the second night, at which the leaders were left alone, with neither a fixed agenda nor note takers nor any briefing, for a top-level political dialogue that concentrated on the Middle East.

The sixth force leading to American adjustment and summit success was Bush's growing G8 experience and his declining political capital at home. Sea Island was the fourth summit in a row where he had met with the same leaders (save for newcomer Paul Martin from Canada), and he knew well how to manage them and his summit to get the successful outcome he sought. At the same time, rising gas prices, growing casualties in Iraq and a steady diet of bad news about human rights abuses by American soldiers in Iraq reminded the American public of the bad days of the early 1970s. They led political rival John Kerry to charge that Bush could not get along with the allies and Bush's standing to plummet below Kerry's in the polls, just five months before Americans would vote on who their next leaders would be. The Sea Island Summit, along with the Normandy D-Day celebration just days before it, and the EU and NATO summits just after, offered Bush high-profile opportunities to prove to the American people that Kerry's charges were wrong and that America was again leading the free world to another military and political victory in an Iraq and Middle East that were free at last.

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3. The Sea Island Legacy

A. The G8 System

The Sea Island Summit left a large legacy at the lower-than-leaders level of the G8 system. Officials and ministers were left with a mountain of paper and many work programs to beaver away on during the following year. Leaders had set bold new normative directions for them to give flesh to. Leaders had also promised enough money to get started, and given enough new institutions, and enough guidance to the old institutions, to help them on the way.

The leaders had also given them action-enforcing deadlines — an assured "shadow of the future" — by demanding that work by done by, or reports to be given to them at, their summit next year (see Appendix B). In part the Gleneagles agenda would be defined by these "hard remit mandates," in the form of reports on the global HIV/AIDS vaccine and on corruption — both initiatives that America had led. It would also be shaped by the many, softer Sea Island remit mandates in the areas of nonproliferation, transport security, peace support in Africa, polio and HIPC. There was thus a strong foundation through this built-in agenda for a Gleneagles concerned with the global fight against terrorism and African development, but not with Middle East democratization or sustainable development and climate change. On these two difficult issues, an American and British favourite respectively, those preparing Gleneagles would have to start from scratch.

Treatment of these two issues would thus depend on work done by the many G8 institutions created or directed by the G8 leaders at Sea Island. There had been a signal in the lead-up to Sea Island that the Americans would actively use the second half of their year as host to follow up. But there were few signs of them seeking to host meetings of the many missing meetings of G8 ministerial institutions they had purged from the preparatory process.[1] And with the president's mounting electoral preoccupations, the prospects for political-level guidance from America dimmed.

Nonetheless, there were promising early signs that the G8 would move quickly to comply with and implement the record number of commitments they had made at Sea Island. One promising sign in this regard was a decision by the Nigerian state of Kano to restart its polio immunization drive, previously halted by boycotts from radical Islamic clerics, in a country where 77% of the world's current polio cases could be found.

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B. The G8 Summit

At the top level of the G8, as the leaders left Georgia, it remained unclear how large the legacy of the Sea Island Summit would be. This was in part because it was unclear which leaders would assemble at Gleneagles next year.

Particularly uncertain was the future of Sea Island's centrepiece achievement — George Bush's bold beginning on Middle East democratization. In his closing news conference, Blair stated that he would focus his 2005 G8 Summit on Africa and climate change, areas on which the ongoing work in the G8 system could provide a wealth of detailed work. But he notably did not take advantage of the opportunity to add the Middle East to the list. He also implied that he would again invite outsiders, without suggesting that any Middle East leaders would return as part of this outreach.

Thus a strong surge forward on G8-driven Middle East democratization would wait developments in the region, and clarity about would be the U.S. president would be after the election on November 2, 2004. Elections immediately following Sea Island returned on June 28th a minority government for Canada's Martin, whose Liberal Party had appeared to stay out of the Iraq war. In Japan, the House of Councillors election on July 11th reduced the seats of Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), after the prime minister had promised Bush at Sea Island he would keep Japan's Self-Defence Forces (SDF) in Iraq. In Europe, while all governing parties did very badly in the European and local elections which followed the Summit, only that of Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, with troops in Iraq, appeared likely to fall as its coalition split over economic concerns. Blair's Labour Party also did badly in both these elections and in two subsequent parliamentary by elections. But the opposition Conservative Party, which had supported Blair's unpopular Iraq involvement, did even worse. Moreover, Blair had his party solidly behind him, despite some strains with his ambitious Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. And Blair could decide when he would go to the polls, with his options running from just before or just after Gleneagles, to 2006.

Taken together, the prospects were that the same eight leaders who had gathered (with one late exception) at the last four summits would not be all back together for a fifth summit "summer camp" encounter in 2005. The strong legacy of the twenty-first century summits — on Africa, outreach to Africa, democratic development and nonproliferation — would be less assured than when individuals could appeal to their partners to keep their own successful legacies alive. Moreover, Gleneagles could be more of a "get to know you" and "welcome the newcomers" summit. And some might come with new ideas, for example, if John Kerry arrived supporting the early campaign views of his running mate, John Edwards, that a democratically backsliding Russia should reform or be frozen out of the G8 club.

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4. The British Plan for Gleneagles

A. British Performance as a Summit Participant and Host

Britain could approach Gleneagles with the confidence that comes from its historic success in hosting G8 summits, and in using for British purposes the many other international institutions in which it has held a leading place over the past few hundred years. As Appendix A suggests, Britain tends to host above-average summits, with Robert Putnam and Nicholas Bayne — the master graders of the annual summits — awarding London 1 in 1977 a grade of B–, London 2 in 1984 a C–, London 3 in 1991 a B–, and Tony Blair's Birmingham in 1998 a B+, making it the best of the British bunch. Britain thus hosts more successful summits than America, although not ones with the assured high success of Japan. Where Britain most stands out as host is in its pioneering steps in summit outreach, leading to permanent membership in an expanded G8 club. In 1977, it first welcomed the EU to the G7. In 1991, it held the first G8 dialogue with the reforming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. And in 1998, Tony Blair first welcomed Russia's Boris Yeltsin as a full, permanent member of a new G8 club.

In other respects, Britain is a more average summit performer. Despite the desire for informality and focus at Birmingham, British-hosted summits have featured some jump in the number and length of the documents issued by the leaders, a small number of decisional commitments and average levels of compliance, and the development of global governance through the institutionalization of the G8 or the multilateral institutions of old. Informal, flexible, freewheeling deliberative, direction-setting summits, based on open dialogue among an expanded array of the leaders of reforming democratic powers, are the kinds of summits that Britain consistently mounts.

Where Britain most stands out from its peers in its G8 summit diplomacy is in its consistently high compliance with the commitments made at the summit over the past 30 years. Britain almost always stands first as a faithful complier. This is due to its strong sense of good international citizenship, its skill in shaping G8 commitments that conform to British desires and the ease of compliance in a parliamentary system devoid of minority governments or governing party factions of a deeply entrenched sort. The prospects are thus that Britain will go to Gleneagles with clean hands and much moral authority among its colleagues, as the most genuinely committed partner, in practice as well as on paper, within the G8.

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B. Blair's Strategic Plan for Sea Island

Blair's Gleneagles Summit will be guided by the many successful innovations he pioneered at Birmingham in 1998: a leaders-only encounter is an informal setting, focused on a few major tightly defined themes, with Russia as a full member and a productive dialogue with civil society groups outside. But it also features a well-defined strategic approach. It was outlined at the same time as the Americans outlined theirs for Sea Island, at the final sherpa meeting of the French presidency in Paris in November 2003. At that meeting, Britain made it clear that its summit would focus on the two subjects that the Americans had indicated they would drop almost entirely: Africa and sustainable development. The British also indicated they might well have to add a third, more political theme, which would be identified, as world events unfolded, in March 2005.

Despite this de facto inter-temporal division of labour with the Americans, during the preparatory process for Sea Island, the British sought to keep G8 attention alive on their Gleneagles priorities. They showed particular interest in famine, development finance and sustainable development. They approached the latter as a link to the issue of water, trying to keep the water issue alive at the working level and thus available for an upgrade to the leaders level should the occasion arise.

The British also worked outside the formal process to build a foundation for their Gleneagles themes. They supported the initiative by the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations, to get G8 attention for Africa at Sea Island (Atwood, Browne and Lyman 2004, Kirton and Kokotsis 2004). Tony Blair subsequently launched the multistakeholder Commission on Africa, containing several senior political leaders from key G8 and African countries and designed explicitly to provide recommendations and political support for the Gleneagles G8. Moreover, British ministers started to announce publicly well before Sea Island that sustainable development would be a major emphasis at the British-hosted G8 Summit the following year.

The British choice of a time and place for their summit was also revealing. By choosing a date just after Britain assumed the presidency of the EU Council, Blair could keep his G8 summit small. He could also speak with the full weight of a now expanded EU-25 behind him. He also selected a secure location where he could recreate the informality of Sea Island, Kananaskis and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, with the leaders far enough away from Genoa-alike European radicals but in a spot large enough to accommodate responsible civil society representatives and the world's media. By choosing to hold the first G8 Summit in Scotland, he could also claim to be supporting his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown.

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5. The Pressures on the Road to Gleneagles

Even with this set, specific, strategic plan, the British are likely to face several predictable pressures to expand their agenda and adjust their approach as they and their G8 partners travel both the "high road" of the leaders-level process and the "low road" of the official and ministerial preparatory process to Gleneagles. As the British have recognized, the pressures in the political-security realm are largely last-minute eruptions, and they have wisely left space in their planning to take up the most urgent issues in the spring of 2005. But from the broader array of pressures that G8 summits traditionally address and act on, there are several that already stand out.

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A. Mobilizing the Money

The first is to find the funds necessary to meet the large expectations that the African agenda and the Commission for Africa will arouse, as well as those expensive items left over from Sea Island, starting with relief of the multilateral debt of the poorest countries. Expectations here will be compounded by election-year pressures on Tony Blair over his signature issue and by the high-profile presence at Gleneagles of the African leaders, which the British are almost certain to invite (Bayne 2004b). In short, Gleneagles will need to be a high-spending summit more like Kananaskis 2002 with its US$50 billion, rather than Evian 2003 and Sea Island 2004 with their much lower amounts.

Britain has followed Canada's Kananaskis approach in announcing — at the very start of the year before the summit — a substantial increase in its own official development assistance (ODA), in order to convince its critics of its sincerity, provide the resources required for a fast start on key priorities, and encourage its G8 partners to follow, at least to the point of meeting their Monterrey and Kananaskis commitments now. Yet, apart from Canada and Russia, with large surpluses from small federal government budgets, all of Britain's G8 partners face large and growing fiscal deficits that they are under great pressure to control. After its presidential election, America may face new demands for fiscal consolidation, even as it struggles to meet its Sea Island commitments and finance its war in Iraq. Resistance to new G8 spending is likely to come from a Japan that has already started to trim ODA, a Germany that adamantly opposed new spending commitments at Sea Island, and an Italy that has just promised cuts to meet its EU target of a fiscal deficit under 3%.

The temptation will be to avoid the new ODA challenge by relying on innovative financing schemes. Here, for well over a year, Gordon Brown has proposed an International Finance Facility (IFF). Blair sees the IFF as a centrepiece item for the G8 at Gleneagles finally to endorse, based on a report due from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September 2004. In its current form, the IFF would essentially borrow against the Monterrey-Kananaskis ODA pledges for several years into the future, and spend all the money now. It will do so in the hopes that a massive up-front dose of money will reliably meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) so that no more money will be needed for future mid-course corrections, and that all G8 partners and others will reliably meet their 2002 pledges in all the years to come, whatever their growth, budget deficits and spending priorities might be. The sceptics, led by the U.S. and Japan, ask whether they can legally bind their independent legislatures' spending powers for several years to come, especially as their deficit balloons and their growth might slow. Others wonder whether it might be prudent to save some of the money to spend later, just in case the G8 does not erase the past 50 years of poverty and ODA failure by getting it right all at once now, and eradicating the problem for good.

Compounding the complexities of the IFF negotiation are the alternative ideas offered by Britain's consequential G8 partners. French president Jacques Chirac has become increasing attached to an international transaction tax on global "bads" to raise money to finance development. But he has not settled convincingly on which particular global bad should be taxed. The Americans, in the lead-up to Sea Island, unveiled an innovative idea for "growth index bonds," which would allow the private sector — rather than treasuries and tax payers — to provide the finance. Only the cash-strapped Germans, grudgingly, gave the idea any support.

The fundraising requirements for Gleneagles are made more formidable by the need to raise money, not just for development in Africa, but also for the new Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, the Global Partnership (especially if progress is made on the North Korean front) and, prospectively, for climate change control. Already the G8 has started to pass the hat outside its own club for the funds needed to complete its existing Global Partnership work. It could be useful to bring to Gleneagles a larger group of countries that could help, in various ways, in meeting the new financing needs, and offer other innovative ideas on development finance.

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B. Completing the Doha Development Agenda

A second predictable pressure facing the G8 at Gleneagles will be to complete the WTO's DDA. By then it will be well past its deadline of successfully concluding by the end of 2004. Indeed, the day Britain takes the G8 chair on January 1, 2005, will be the day after Doha and the WTO left alone will have clearly failed. As the WTO's hard-law, 1940s-style multilateralism dramatically displays its failures, as at Cancun in September 2003, and as the new caucus group of the G22 of developing countries shows, the WTO is not Doha's saviour, the focus will return to the G8 to act. It will be even clearer that the first step required to get Doha done will be a deal on agriculture among the big powers within the G8. The Africans and sympathetic civil society groups will point out convincingly that one cannot have a G8 that delivers African development by leaving undone the DDA.

With Tony Blair holding the EU presidency, he will have an added institutional lever to secure movement within Europe. But he will also have a host of new subsidy hungry members from the east to represent in the EU of 25. America may be freer to move, with its elections done, but the president may not have a sympathetic Congress. Russia's desire for WTO membership — perhaps the price for its Kyoto signature — may add a further complication. Above all, the G8 members might be reluctant to bite the bullet and do a politically costly deal among themselves without the assurance that the consequential countries of the South, led by India and Brazil, will adjust themselves and get Doha finally done. One way to accomplish this second stage of the Doha deal would be to have the leaders from the key developing countries present at Gleneagles, for serious discussions with the G8 leaders. There they could show that an intra-G8 deal would indeed serve as the step to produce the developed-developing country deal needed to get Doha done. Gleneagles could thus be a big success for Africa and global development, without harming G8 fiscal deficits back home.

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C. Global Economic Growth and Energy

A third challenge comes from the need to sustain global economic growth and an affordable, secure energy supply. Britain is approaching Gleneagles with the confidence that it is the G7 growth leader, and that the G8's economy and the global economy are booming, in the first synchronized recovery in a very long time. But by the summer of 2005, growth could be less vibrant, as fiscal consolidation takes hold, interest rates rise and high energy prices remain. It has been some time since the G8 leaders have had a detailed discussion of macroeconomic co-ordination, with energy as an integral part of the mix. Such a discussion could serve as a useful foundation for major attention and action at the Russian-hosted Summit in 2006 (Bayne 2004b). Moreover, if Gleneagles is to take serious action on climate change, addressing energy is critical. The British and Japanese, supported by the Europeans and the Canadians, should find this discussion easy, given the good start on renewable energy at Okinawa in 2000. By 2005, the U.S. administration might find it useful to act more aggressively here as well.

On issues of renewable energy, the G8 can do much on its own. On energy writ large, it also can do much, as Canada and Russia respectively could serve in the long term as the secure, safe, close-by Saudi Arabian-scale supplier to an energy insecure U.S., Europe and Japan. But there are strong advantages in having Saudi Arabia, as the key current conventional supplier, China as the key new demandeur, and India as the key demandeur of the future, there as well. They and other emerging economies are also critical players in deciding what to do, "after Kyoto," or even "apart from Kyoto," about climate change.

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D. The Greater Middle East

A fourth challenge is the Middle East, which no one expects to be safe and secure, let alone democratic and developed, by mid 2005. The British have already signalled that they will return to the Middle East issue at Gleneagles, but it remains unclear with what seriousness and on what scale. To move the Sea Island initiative forward, the G8 will need more than the US$100 million mobilized in 2004. It will want the rich countries from the region, beginning with Saudi Arabia, to help. It will be difficult to convince the world that the democratic development of the Middle East and North Africa is moving forward if there is not a longer dialogue, with a greater number of bigger countries from the region present at Gleneagles, than there were at Sea Island. While Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has come to G8 summits before wearing his African hat, finding a way to entice the Saudis is the biggest challenge Blair will face in this regard. And a broader Middle East that includes a still struggling Afghanistan could benefit from having democratic India there as well. More broadly, a G8 focused on long-term democratization on a global scale will want to go beyond the African and Middle East focus of the past four years to address the Asian mainland, where a dangerous North Korea and other non-democratic, unpredictable polities loom large.

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E. Infectious Disease

A fifth challenge concerns global health. Recent summits have become known for their achievements on infectious disease, from the strong start at Okinawa 2000 to Sea Island's action on polio and the HIV/AIDS vaccine. Gleneagles can — and likely will — do more in this regard as part of its African agenda. But the problem has now become a global and even an intra-G8 one, in a globalizing world where infectious disease is only one plane ride away from any place on the planet. At the time of Evian, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had brought home that new reality to Canada, and to Japan and Russia as they nervously watched their Chinese neighbour next door. The current outbreaks of bird flu in Asia, and mad cow disease in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, arouse trade protectionism everywhere, and bad memories in Britain and Europe of their own brush with death from BSE. And the AIDS epidemic is spreading well beyond Africa, to the emerging front-line states of China, India and the Eastern European members of the EU-25. Here is one issue on which the G8 system has no institutional second line of defence, in the form of a G8 health ministers' club to deal with the issue on the "low road." For Russia remains outside the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) which has focused narrowly on the critical bioterrorism threat. The G8 leaders could well find that they themselves need to act here, rather than just rely on the World Health Organization (WHO). They may be able to do so more effectively if the leaders of China, India and other such countries, including Mexico (a charter member of the GHSI), were to join them for a broader dialogue.

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F. International Institutional Reform

A final subject crying out for global attention, and appropriate for the G8 leaders at Gleneagles, is international institutional reform. The Sea Island Summit took place on the 60th anniversary of the Bretton Woods institutions. But the G8 leaders there were focused instead on a different 60th anniversary — the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Gleneagles will take place on the 60th anniversary of the second institutional result of the 1944–45 "after victory" movement: the founding of the United Nations itself. At Halifax 1995, on the fiftieth anniversary, the G7 leaders concentrated on the great architectural question of global governance — whether the world's international institutions were able to meet the needs of the global community and all its citizens in the twenty-first century. They initiated some useful reforms. But the global-turned-Asian financial crisis that followed in 1997–99 and the genocide that came in Kosovo in 1999 showed much more needed to be done. Since then, the shock of September 11th, 2001, has focused the G8's attention on more immediate concerns. But the big issue remains unresolved and ripe for attention, especially as the 10th anniversary of Halifax comes. It is a subject big enough for serious analysis and treatment by the leaders, not only of the G8 alone, but of other emerging powers thinking with them as well.

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6. Global Outreach Through a Gleneagles G20-G8

It is thus likely that the Gleneagles G8 could and should face an agenda far wider and more formidable than the already ambitious one identified by Tony Blair. He might thus find it useful to take the opportunity to deal with additional issues in other forums at Gleneagles, in order to take the pressure off his preferred G8 agenda itself. This could be especially the case if such a forum were to make it more likely that his core agenda could result in real action. Outreach sessions with the invited African and perhaps the Middle East leaders at Sea Island will help. But they are insufficient in regard to the climate change half of Blair's core agenda. There could well be good grounds for returning to the precedent set by France at its summits in Paris in 1989 and Evian in 2003, and invite the leaders of a more globally representative group of major emerging countries for an expanded dialogue with the G8.

As the experience of 1989 and other G7/8 summits has shown, the question of which countries to include and how to include them is never an easy one to answer. Yet all G8 leaders of the twenty-first century G8 have come to accept that it is the prerogative of the host to arrange summit outreach much as that individual desires to make his summit work. And many transaction costs and political complications can be avoided by bypassing the temptation to assemble an ad hoc coalition of the always willing but now deemed worthy, and by calling instead on an existing, ready-made globally representative, well-balanced body that has proven its worth (Kirton 2004e, Hoge 2004). Here the G20 systemically important countries, meeting at the finance ministers level since 1999, is a strong candidate. Should the subject for such an outreach dialogue centre on core issues of international finance, it could be reinforced by those few members of the IMF's International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) not already in the G20 itself.

To be successful, such a G20-grounded outreach dialogue at Gleneagles should meet several criteria, as follows:

1. It should have an agenda related to, but not duplicative of, the G8 agenda;

2. It should cover issues on which the G20 has a priority, pressing concern;

3. It should include issues on which the G20 has relevant capability, beyond that of merely providing the financial resources to others to get the job done;

4. It should support host Tony Blair in advancing his own agenda.

5. It should be useful to the leading G8 powers of the U.S. and Japan, and to the G20's leading powers and recent hosts of India, Mexico and China, in particular.

Any of the above list of pressures on the road to Gleneagles could well qualify as a focus for such a dialogue, perhaps in an adjusted forum. For example, a dialogue on raising resources for development could include a review at the five-year mark, of the Millennium Summit's MDGs and how best to proceed so that they are met. A dialogue on sustainable energy, perhaps linked to one on international institutional reform, could address the question as whether the world now needs new institutions such as a World Environment Organization (WEO) or a World Renewable Energy Organization, or a greener IMF. A dialogue on international institutional reform itself could take up such questions, of whether the UNSC needs new permanent members, veto powers and new principles relating to conflict prevention and the international community's responsibility to protect. It could also include the question of whether and how the institutions of global governance, including the G8, should do more to bring business, labour and other stakeholders more directly into the governance structures, in the ways that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the G8 itself at Okinawa have done (Kirton 2004d).

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Note

[1] It did appear that there would be a gathering in Chicago on September 11, 2004, presumably of the speakers of G8 legislative bodies, which would be attended by Yohei Kono, Japan's House of Representatives Speaker. "Kono China Visit Seen as Bid to Douse Yasukuni Ire," Japan Times, July 23, 2004, p. 3. At the same time, efforts — presumably led by the U.S. — to revive the secretive "Quad" of the Berlin Dinner Four to deal with security issues have failed (Hoagland 2004).

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References

Atwood, J. Brian, Robert S. Browne and Princeton Lyman (2004), "Freedom, Prosperity, and Security: The G8 Partnership with Africa, Sea Island 2004 and Beyond," Council of Foreign Relations Special Report, May.

Bayne, Nicholas (2004a), "Impressions of the Sea Island Summit, 8–10 June 2004," G8 Information Centre.

Bayne, Nicolas (2004b), "Do We Need the Summit? Prospects for the G8, Looking Ahead from Sea Island." Draft chapter for the volume based on the conference on "Security, Prosperity and Freedom: Why America Needs the G8," Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, June 3–4, 2004.

Hoagland, Jim (2004), "Iraq's Crucible Forges Bonds" The Japan Times, July 25, p. 13

Hoge, James (2004), "A Global Power Shift in the Making: Is the United States Ready?" Foreign Affairs 83(4): 2–7.

Kirton, John (2004a), "Explaining G8 Effectiveness: A Concert of Vulnerable Equals in a Globalizing World." Paper prepared for the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 17–20, 2004.

Kirton, John (2004b), "Prospects for the G8 Sea Island Summit." Paper prepared for a conference on "Security, Prosperity and Freedom: Why America Needs the G8," Kelley School of Business, University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, June 3–4, 2004.

Kirton, John (2004c), "Toward Multilateral Reform: The G20's Contribution." Paper prepared for a conference on "The Ideas-Institutional Nexus: The Case of the G20," sponsored by the Centre on International Governance Innovation, United Nations University FLACSO, and the University of Waterloo, Buenos Aires, May 19–21, 2004.

Kirton, John (2004d), "The Road from Rambouillet to the Sea Island Summit: Process, Accomplishments and Challenges for the Corporate Community." Paper prepared for a G8 Executive Workshop on "G8 Governance and Economic Globalization: The Road from Rambouillet to Sea Island," Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research, Atlanta, Georgia, May 7, 2004.

Kirton, John and Ella Kokotsis (2004), "An Evaluation of the G8's Commitment to the Kananaskis Pledges." Discussion paper prepared for a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations G8 Africa Roundtable, Washington DC, February 4, 2004.

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Appendix A: G8 Summit Performance by Function, 1975–2004

Year
Site
Bayne Grade
# of Days
# of Statements
# of Words
# of Commitments
Compliance Score
# of Ministerials Created
# of Remit Mandates
# of Leaders Bodies
Cr Ttl
1975
Ldg
A–
3
1
1,129
14
57.1
0
1
1
1
1976
Res
D
2
1
1,624
7
8.9
0
1
0
1
1977
Cap
B–
2
6
2,669
29
8.4
0
1
0
1
1978
Cap
A
2
2
2,999
35
36.3
0
0
2
3
1979
Cap
B+
2
2
2,102
34
82.3
0
1
3
5
1980
Prv
C+
2
5
3,996
55
7.6
0
1
0
3
1981
Ldg
C
2
3
3,165
40
26.6
1
1
2
4
1982
Ldg
C
3
2
1,796
23
84
0
1
3
3
1983
Res
B
3
2
2,156
38
–10.9
0
1
0
2
1984
Cap
C–
3
5
3,261
31
48.8
1
3
1
4
1985
Cap
E
3
2
3,127
24
1
0
1
2
5
1986
Cap
B+
3
4
3,582
39
58.3
1
1
1
3
1987
Prv
D
3
6
5,064
53
93.3
0
1
0
2
1988
Prv
C-
3
2
4,872
27
–47.8
0
1
1
3
1989
Cap
B+
3
11
7,125
61
7.8
0
1
1
2
1990
Prv
D
3
3
7,601
78
–14
0
3
2
5
1991
Cap
B–
3
3
8,099
53
0
0
3
0
2
1992
Prv
D
3
4
7,528
41
64
1
2
1
2
1993
Cap
C+
3
2
3,398
29
75
0
5
0
2
1994
Prv
C
3
2
4,123
53
100
1
2
0
4
1995
Prv
B+
3
3
7,250
78
100
2
6
2
3
1996
Prv
B
3
5
15,289
128
36.2
0
2
1
6
1997
Prv
C–
3
4
12,994
145
12.8
1
10
1
6
1998
Prv
B+
3
4
6,092
73
31.8
0
3
1
4
1999
Prv
B+
3
4
10,019
46
38.2
1
3
1
2
2000
Res
B
3
5
13,596
105
81.4
0
5
2
5
2001
Prv
B+
3
7
6,214
58
49.5
1
4
1
6
2002
Res
B+
2
18
11,959
187
35
1
6
3
8
2003
Prv
C
3
14
16,889
206
51
0
4
2
9
2004
Res
 
3
16
 
253
 
 
 
 
 
Av. All
 
C+
 
 
6,197
26
0.37
0.38
2.6
1.1
3.5
Av. Cycle 1  
B–
 
 
2,526
29
0.32
0.14
1
1.1
2.6
Av. Cycle 2
 
C–
 
 
3,408
34
0.32
0.29
1
1.3
3.1
Av. Cycle 3
 
C+
 
 
6,446
56
0.48
0.57
3.1
0.9
2.9
Av. Cycle 4
 
B
 
 
10,880
106
0.41
0.57
4.7
1.4
5.3
Av. Cycle 5
 
C (to date)
 
 
16,889
206
TBA
0
4
2
9

Notes:
Location: Ldg = Lodge on outskirts of capital city; Res = remote resort; Cap = inside capital city; Prv = provincial (not capital) city.

Compliance scores from 1990 to 1995 measure compliance with commitments selected by Ella Kokotsis. Compliance scores from 1996 to 2002 measure compliance with G8 Research Group's selected commitments. The compliance score for 2002 is an extrapolation from the interim compliance score based on the 2002 interim-to-final compliance ratio.

British-hosted summits are in bold; U.S.-hosted summits are in italics.

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Appendix B: The 2004 Sea Island Policy Summit

See Sea Island Summit Performance

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