Group of Eight
|Group of Eight|
The G8 (reformatted as G7 from 2014 due to Russia's suspension) was an inter-governmental political forum from 1997 until 2014, with participation from the world′s major highly industrialized economies in countries that viewed themselves as democracies.
The forum originated with a 1975 summit hosted by France that brought together representatives of six governments: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, thus leading to the name Group of Six or G6. The summit came to be known as the Group of Seven, or G7, in 1976 with the addition of Canada. Russia was added to the political forum from 1997, which the following year became known as the G8. In March 2014 Russia was suspended following the annexation of Crimea, whereupon the group's name reverted to the G7. The European Union was represented at the G8 since the 1980s as a "nonenumerated" participant, but originally could not host or chair summits. The 40th summit was the first time the European Union was able to host and chair a summit. Collectively, in 2012 the G8 nations comprised 50.1 percent of 2012 global nominal GDP and 40.9 percent of global GDP (PPP).
"G7" can refer to the member states in aggregate or to the annual summit meeting of the G7 heads of government. The former term, G6, is now frequently applied to the six most populous countries within the European Union. G7 ministers also meet throughout the year, such as the G7 finance ministers (who meet four times a year), G7 foreign ministers, or G7 environment ministers.
Each calendar year, the responsibility of hosting the G8 was rotated through the member states in the following order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia (suspended), Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. The holder of the presidency sets the agenda, hosts the summit for that year, and determines which ministerial meetings will take place.
In 2005, the UK government initiated the practice of inviting five leading emerging markets — Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa — to participate in the G8 meetings that came to be known as G8+5; but this practice was short-lived. With the G-20 major economies growing in stature since the 2008 Washington summit, world leaders from the group announced at their Pittsburgh summit in September 2009 that the group would replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations. Nevertheless, the G7 retains its relevance as a "steering group for the West", with special significance appointed to Japan.
The concept of a forum for the world's major industrialized countries emerged prior to the 1973 oil crisis. On Sunday, March 25, 1973, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, George Shultz, convened an informal gathering of finance ministers from West Germany (Helmut Schmidt), France (Valéry Giscard d'Estaing), and Britain (Anthony Barber) before an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C. When running the idea past President Nixon, he noted that he would be out of town and offered use of the White House; the meeting was subsequently held in the library on the ground floor. Taking their name from the setting, this original group of four became known as the "Library Group". In mid-1973, at the World Bank-IMF meetings, Shultz proposed the addition of Japan to the original four nations, who agreed. The informal gathering of senior financial officials from the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, Japan, and France became known as the "Group of Five." During 1974 the heads of state or government of the top 10 industrial nations fell due to illness or scandal: There were two elections in the UK, three chancellors of West Germany, three presidents of France, three prime ministers of Japan and Italy, and two U.S. presidents; moreover, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau was forced into an early election. Of the members of the Group of Five, all were new to the job with the exception of Pierre Trudeau.
As 1975 dawned, Schmidt and Giscard d'Estaing were heads of government in their respective countries, and since they both spoke fluent English, it occurred to them that they, and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and U.S. President Gerald Ford could get together in an informal retreat and discuss election results and the issues of the day. In late spring, d'Estaing of France invited the heads of government from West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States to a summit in Château de Rambouillet; the annual meeting of the six leaders was organized under a rotating presidency, forming the Group of Six (G6). In 1976, with Wilson out as prime minister of Britain, Schmidt and Gerald Ford felt an English speaker with more experience was needed, so Canada's Pierre Trudeau was invited to join the group  and the group became the Group of Seven (G7). Since first invited by the United Kingdom in 1977 the European Union has been represented by the president of the European Commission, and the leader of the country that holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Council President now also regularly attends.
Until the 1985 Plaza Accord no one outside a tight official circle knew when the seven finance ministers met and what they agreed. The summit was announced the day before and a communiqué was issued afterwards.
Following 1994's G7 summit in Naples, Russian officials held separate meetings with leaders of the G7 after the group's summits. This informal arrangement was dubbed the Political 8 (P8)—or, colloquially, the G7+1. At the invitation of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President Bill Clinton, President Boris Yeltsin was invited first as a guest observer, later as a full participant. It was seen as a way to encourage Yeltsin with his capitalist reforms. Russia formally joined the group in 1998, resulting in the Group of Eight, or G8.
||This section needs to be updated. (July 2017)|
A major focus of the G8 since 2009 has been the global supply of food. At the 2009 L'Aquila summit, the G8's members promised to contribute $20 billion to the issue over three years. Since then, only 22% of the promised funds have been delivered.
At the 2012 summit, President Barack Obama asked G8 leaders to adopt the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative to "help the rural poor produce more food and sell it in thriving local and regional markets as well as on the global market."
Russia′s participation suspension (2014)
On 24 March 2014, the non-Russian G8 members cancelled the planned G8 summit that was to be held in June that year in the Russian city of Sochi, and suspended Russia′s membership of the group, due to Russia's annexation of Crimea; nevertheless, they stopped short of outright permanent expulsion. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov downplayed the importance of the decision by the U.S. and its allies, and pointed up that major international decisions were taken by the G20 countries.
Later on, the Italian Foreign Affairs minister Federica Mogherini and other Italian authorities, along with the EastWest Institute board member Wolfgang Ischinger, suggested that Russia may restore its membership in the group. In April 2015, the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Russia would be welcomed to return to G8 provided the Minsk Protocol was implemented. In 2016, he added that "none of the major international conflicts can be solved without Russia", and the G7 countries will consider Russia's return to the group in 2017. The same year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe called for Russia's return to G8, stating that Russia's involvement is "crucial to tackling multiple crises in the Middle East". In January 2017, the Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano said that Italy hopes for "resuming the G8 format with Russia and ending the atmosphere of the Cold War". On 13 January 2017, Russia announced that it would permanently leave the G8 grouping.
Structure and activities
By design, the G8 deliberately lacked an administrative structure like those for international organizations, such as the United Nations or the World Bank. The group does not have a permanent secretariat, or offices for its members.
The presidency of the group rotates annually among member countries, with each new term beginning on 1 January of the year. The rotation order is: France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia (suspended), Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. The country holding the presidency is responsible for planning and hosting a series of ministerial-level meetings, leading up to a mid-year summit attended by the heads of government. The president of the European Commission participates as an equal in all summit events.
The ministerial meetings bring together ministers responsible for various portfolios to discuss issues of mutual or global concern. The range of topics include health, law enforcement, labor, economic and social development, energy, environment, foreign affairs, justice and interior, terrorism, and trade. There are also a separate set of meetings known as the G8+5, created during the 2005 Gleneagles, Scotland summit, that is attended by finance and energy ministers from all eight member countries in addition to the five "outreach countries" which are also known as the Group of Five—Brazil, People's Republic of China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.
In June 2005, justice ministers and interior ministers from the G8 countries agreed to launch an international database on pedophiles. The G8 officials also agreed to pool data on terrorism, subject to restrictions by privacy and security laws in individual countries.
At the Heiligendamm Summit in 2007, the G8 acknowledged a proposal from the EU for a worldwide initiative on efficient energy use. They agreed to explore, along with the International Energy Agency, the most effective means to promote energy efficiency internationally. A year later, on 8 June 2008, the G8 along with China, India, South Korea and the European Community established the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, at the Energy Ministerial meeting hosted by Japan holding 2008 G8 Presidency, in Aomori.
G8 Finance Ministers, whilst in preparation for the 34th Summit of the G8 Heads of State and Government in Toyako, Hokkaido, met on the 13 and 14 June 2008, in Osaka, Japan. They agreed to the "G8 Action Plan for Climate Change to Enhance the Engagement of Private and Public Financial Institutions." In closing, Ministers supported the launch of new Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) by the World Bank, which will help existing efforts until a new framework under the UNFCCC is implemented after 2012. The UNFCCC is not on track to meeting any of its stated goals.
The annual G8 leaders summit is attended by the heads of government. The member country holding the G8 presidency is responsible for organizing and hosting the year's summit.
The serial annual summits can be parsed chronologically in arguably distinct ways, including as the sequence of host countries for the summits has recurred over time, series, etc.
|1st||November 15–17, 1975||France||Valéry Giscard d'Estaing||Rambouillet, Château de Rambouillet||G6 Summit|
|2nd||June 27–28, 1976||United States||Gerald R. Ford||Dorado, Puerto Rico||Also called "Rambouillet II;" Canada joins the group, forming the G7|
|3rd||May 7–8, 1977||United Kingdom||James Callaghan||London||President of the European Commission is invited to join the annual G-7 summits|
|4th||July 16–17, 1978||West Germany||Helmut Schmidt||Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia|
|5th||June 28–29, 1979||Japan||Masayoshi Ōhira||Tokyo|
|6th||June 22–23, 1980||Italy||Francesco Cossiga||Venice||Acting Prime Minister Masayoshi Ito of Japan did not attend.|
|7th||July 20–21, 1981||Canada||Pierre E. Trudeau||Montebello, Quebec|
|8th||June 4–6, 1982||France||François Mitterrand||Versailles|
|9th||May 28–30, 1983||United States||Ronald Reagan||Williamsburg, Virginia|
|10th||June 7–9, 1984||United Kingdom||Margaret Thatcher||London|
|11th||May 2–4, 1985||West Germany||Helmut Kohl||Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia|
|12th||May 4–6, 1986||Japan||Yasuhiro Nakasone||Tokyo|
|13th||June 8–10, 1987||Italy||Amintore Fanfani||Venice|
|14th||June 19–21, 1988||Canada||Brian Mulroney||Toronto|
|15th||July 14–16, 1989||France||François Mitterrand||Paris|
|16th||July 9–11, 1990||United States||George H. W. Bush||Houston|
|17th||July 15–17, 1991||United Kingdom||John Major||London|
|18th||July 6–8, 1992||Germany||Helmut Kohl||Munich, Bavaria|
|19th||July 7–9, 1993||Japan||Kiichi Miyazawa||Tokyo|
|20th||July 8–10, 1994||Italy||Silvio Berlusconi||Naples|
|21st||June 15–17, 1995||Canada||Jean Chrétien||Halifax, Nova Scotia|||
|22nd||June 27–29, 1996||France||Jacques Chirac||Lyon||International organizations' debut to G7 Summits periodically. The invited ones here were: United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.|
|23rd||June 20–22, 1997||United States||Bill Clinton||Denver||||Russia joins the group, forming G8|
|24th||May 15–17, 1998||United Kingdom||Tony Blair||Birmingham|||
|25th||June 18–20, 1999||Germany||Gerhard Schröder||Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia||||First Summit of the G-20 major economies at Berlin|
|26th||July 21–23, 2000||Japan||Yoshiro Mori||Nago, Okinawa||||Formation of the G8+5 starts, when South Africa was invited. Until the 38th G8 summit in 2012, it has been invited to the Summit annually without interruption. Also, with permission from a G8 leader, other nations were invited to the Summit on a periodical basis for the first time. Nigeria, Algeria and Senegal accepted their invitations here. The World Health Organization was also invited for the first time.|
|27th||July 20–22, 2001||Italy||Silvio Berlusconi||Genoa||||Leaders from Bangladesh, Mali and El Salvador accepted their invitations here. Demonstrator Carlo Giuliani is shot and killed by police during a violent demonstration. One of the largest and most violent anti-globalization movement protests occurred for the 27th G8 summit. Following those events and the September 11 attacks two months later in 2001, the G8 have met at more remote locations.|
|28th||June 26–27, 2002||Canada||Jean Chrétien||Kananaskis, Alberta||||Russia gains permission to officially host a G8 Summit.|
|29th||June 2–3, 2003||France||Jacques Chirac||Évian-les-Bains||The G8+5 was unofficially made, when China, India, Brazil, and Mexico were invited to this Summit for the first time. South Africa has joined the G8 Summit, since 2000, until the 2012 edition. Other first-time nations that were invited by the French president included: Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Switzerland.|
|30th||June 8–10, 2004||United States||George W. Bush||Sea Island, Georgia||||A record number of leaders from 12 different nations accepted their invitations here. Amongst a couple of veteran nations, the others were: Ghana, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen and Uganda. Also, the state funeral of former president Ronald Reagan took place in Washington during the summit.|
|31st||July 6–8, 2005||United Kingdom||Tony Blair||Gleneagles||||The G8+5 was officially formed. On the second day of the meeting, suicide bombers killed 52 people on the London Underground and a bus. Nations that were invited for the first time were Ethiopia and Tanzania. The African Union and the International Energy Agency made their debut here. During the 31st G8 summit in United Kingdom, 225,000 people took to the streets of Edinburgh as part of the Make Poverty History campaign calling for Trade Justice, Debt Relief and Better Aid. Numerous other demonstrations also took place challenging the legitimacy of the G8.|
|32nd||July 15–17, 2006||Russia||Vladimir Putin||Strelna, St. Petersburg||First G8 Summit on Russian soil. Also, the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNESCO made their debut here.|
|33rd||June 6–8, 2007||Germany||Angela Merkel||Heiligendamm, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern||Seven different international organizations accepted their invitations to this Summit. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Commonwealth of Independent States made their debut here.|
|34th||July 7–9, 2008||Japan||Yasuo Fukuda||Toyako (Lake Toya), Hokkaido||||Nations that accepted their G8 Summit invitations for the first time are: Australia, Indonesia and South Korea.|
|35th||July 8–10, 2009||Italy||Silvio Berlusconi||La Maddalena (cancelled)
L'Aquila, Abruzzo (re-located)
|||This G8 Summit was originally planned to be in La Maddalena (Sardinia), but was moved to L'Aquila as a way of showing Prime Minister Berlusconi's desire to help the region in and around L'Aquila after the earthquake that hit the area on the April 6th, 2009. Nations that accepted their invitations for the first time were: Angola, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain. A record of ten international organizations were represented in this G8 Summit. For the first time, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Programme, and the International Labour Organization accepted their invitations.|
|36th||June 25–26, 2010||Canada||Stephen Harper||Huntsville, Ontario||||Malawi, Colombia, Haiti, and Jamaica accepted their invitations for the first time.|
|37th||May 26–27, 2011||France||Nicolas Sarkozy||Deauville, Basse-Normandie||Guinea, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire and Tunisia accepted their invitations for the first time. Also, the League of Arab States made its debut to the meeting.|
|38th||May 18–19, 2012||United States||Barack Obama||Chicago (cancelled)
Camp David (re-located)
|||The summit was originally planned for Chicago, along with the NATO summit, but it was announced officially on March 5, 2012, that the G8 summit will be held at the more private location of Camp David and at one day earlier than previously scheduled. Also, this is the second G8 summit, in which one of the core leaders (Vladimir Putin) declined to participate. This G8 summit concentrated on the core leaders only; no non-G8 leaders or international organizations were invited.|
|39th||June 17–18, 2013||United Kingdom||David Cameron||Lough Erne, County Fermanagh||||As in 2012, only the core members of the G8 attended this meeting. The four main topics that were discussed here were trade, government transparency, tackling tax evasion, and the ongoing Syrian crisis.|
|40th||June 4–5, 2014|| Russia (cancelled)
|Vladimir Putin (cancelled)
Herman Van Rompuy (new) and José Manuel Barroso
|G7 summit held as an alternative meeting without Russia in 2014 due to its association with the Crimean crisis. G8 summit did not take place in Sochi, Russia. G7 summit relocated to Brussels, Belgium.|
|41st||June 7–8, 2015||Germany||Angela Merkel||Schloss Elmau||||Summit dedicated to focus on the global economy as well as on key issues regarding foreign, security and development policy|
|42nd||May 26–27, 2016||Japan||Shinzō Abe||Shima, Mie Prefecture|||
|43rd||May 26–27, 2017||Italy||Paolo Gentiloni||Taormina, Sicily|||
|44th||June 8–9, 2018||Canada||Justin Trudeau||La Malbaie, Quebec|||
|45th||TBD, 2019||France||Emmanuel Macron||TBD|
|46th||TBD, 2020||United States||Donald Trump||TBD|
|47th||TBD, 2021||United Kingdom||Theresa May||TBD|
- 7 of the 7 top-ranked advanced economies with the largest GDP and with the highest national wealth (United States, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada) last century also known as G7 
- 7 of the 15 top-ranked countries with the highest net wealth per capita (United States, France, Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Germany)
- 8 of 12 top-ranked leading export countries.
- 6 of 10 top-ranked countries with the largest gold reserves (United States, Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Japan).
- 8 of 10 top-ranked economies (by nominal GDP), according to latest (2016 data) International Monetary Fund's statistics.
- 5 countries with a nominal GDP per capita above US$40,000 (United States, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom).
- 5 countries with a sovereign wealth fund, administered by either a national or a state/provincial government (Russia, United States, France, Canada, Italy).
- 8 of 30 top-ranked nations with large amounts of foreign-exchange reserves in their central banks.
- 4 out of 9 countries having nuclear weapons (France, Russia, UK, United States). plus 2 countries that have nuclear weapon sharing programs (Germany, Italy).
- 7 of the 9 largest nuclear energy producers (United States, France, Japan, Russia, Germany, Canada, UK), although Germany announced in 2011 that it will close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Japan shut down all of its nuclear reactors. However, Japan restarted several nuclear reactors, with the refueling of other reactors underway.
- 8 of the 10 top donors to the UN budget for the 2016 annual fiscal year.
- 4 countries with a HDI index for 2013 of 0.9 and higher (United States, Germany, Japan, Canada).
- 2 countries with the highest credit rating from Standard & Poor's, Fitch, and Moody's at the same time (Canada and Germany).
- 2 countries that retain the death penalty in law and practice (Japan and the United States; Russia retains the death penalty, but the regulations of the Council of Europe prohibit it from carrying out any executions).
- 2 countries consist of islands and have left-hand traffic (Japan and the United Kingdom; in the US Virgin Islands, they have left-hand traffic to remain compatible with the British Virgin Islands, but the rest of the United States has right-hand traffic).
- In the G8 states, 6 languages have official status: English in 3 countries (Canada, United Kingdom and US), French in 2 countries (Canada and France), German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian in 1 country each (Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia).
Some criticism centres on the assertion that members of G8 do not do enough to help global problems, due to strict patent policy and other issues related to globalization. In Unraveling Global Apartheid, political analyst Titus Alexander described the G7, as it was in 1996, as the 'cabinet' of global minority rule, with a coordinating role in world affairs.
The G8's relevance has been subject to debate from 2008 onward. It represented the major industrialized countries but critics argued that the G8 no longer represented the world's most powerful economies, as China has surpassed every economy but the United States..
Vladimir Putin did not attend the 2012 G8 summit at Camp David, causing Foreign Policy (FP) magazine to remark that the summit has generally outlived its usefulness as a viable international gathering of foreign leaders. Two years later, Russia was suspended from the G8, then chose to leave permanently in January 2017.
Some people ask, does the G8 still matter, when we have a Group of 20? My answer is, yes. The G8 is a group of like-minded countries that share a belief in free enterprise as the best route to growth. As eight countries making up about half the world's gross domestic product, the standards we set, the commitments we make, and the steps we take can help solve vital global issues, fire up economies and drive prosperity all over the world.
Youth 8 Summit
The Y8 Summit or simply Y8, formerly known as the G8 Youth Summit is the youth counterpart to the G8 summit. The first summit to use the name Y8 took place in May 2012 in Puebla, Mexico, alongside the Youth G8 that took place in Washington, D.C. the same year.
The Y8 Summit brings together young leaders from G8 nations and the European Union to facilitate discussions of international affairs, promote cross-cultural understanding, and build global friendships. The conference closely follows the formal negotiation procedures of the G8 Summit. The Y8 Summit represents the innovative voice of young adults between the age of 18 and 35. The delegates jointly come up with a consensus-based written statement in the end, the Final Communiqué. This document is subsequently presented to G8 leaders in order to inspire positive change.
The Y8 Summit is organised annually by a global network of youth-led organisations called The IDEA (The International Diplomatic Engagement Association). The organisations undertake the selection processes for their respective national delegations, while the hosting country is responsible for organising the summit. Now, several youth associations are supporting and getting involved in the project. For instance, every year, the Young European Leadership association is recruiting and sending EU Delegates.
The goal of the Y8 Summit is to bring together young people from around the world to allow the voices and opinions of young generations to be heard and to encourage them to take part in global decision-making processes.
|Summit||Year||Host country||Location held|
|1st||International Student Model G8||2006||Russia||Saint Petersburg|
|2nd||Model G8 Youth Summit||2007||Germany||Berlin|
|3rd||Model G8 Youth Summit||2008||Japan||Yokohama|
|4th||G8 Youth Summit||2009||Italy||Milano|
|5th||G8 Youth Summit||2010||Canada||Muskoka & Toronto|
|6th||G8 Youth Summit||2011||France||Paris|
|7th||G8 Youth Summit||2012||USA||Washington D.C.|
- The Y8 Summit 2014 in Moscow was suspended due to the suspension of Russia from the G8.
- List of country groupings
- List of multilateral free-trade agreements
- Developing 8 Countries
- Forum for the Future (Bahrain 2005)
- G3 Free Trade Agreement
- G4 (EU)
- G-20 major economies
- Great Powers
- Group of Two
- Group of Eleven
- Group of 15
- Group of 24
- Group of 30
- Junior 8
- List of countries by GDP (nominal)
- List of countries by military expenditures
- List of G8 summit resorts
- List of G8 leaders
- List of longest serving G8 leaders
- World Social Forum
- North–South divide
- D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation
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- The Group of Eight (G8) Industrialized Nations
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