I am grateful at the focused discussions by the Group of Eight (G8) and other world leaders in Toyako, Hokkaido, on the three interrelated global crises of climate change, food security and development. The discussion here provides initial direction for global efforts that must be accelerated in the coming weeks and months.
I welcome the statement of the G8 on climate change and the environment, including the long-term goal of reducing emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050. This, against a 1990 baseline is a clear step forward. But we must go further. In particular, by next year in Copenhagen we need to collectively agree to ambitious mid-term emission reduction targets for developed countries, coupled with meaningful efforts by developing countries to reduce the growth of their emissions, consistent with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities. I welcome the willingness of the G8 to provide financial resources toward adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, though much more needs to be done, and not at the expense of existing development financing. During the next 17 months I will continue to work with leaders of all countries to ensure a successful climate change agreement under the UNFCCC by the end of 2009.
I am happy to see the strong commitment of the G8 to address the global food crisis in a Global Partnership for Food, facilitated and coordinated by the United Nations, and appreciate particularly the endorsement received for my High-Level Task Force and its Comprehensive Framework for Action. The sense of urgency displayed by the G8 in tackling the most immediate food, nutrition, and agricultural inputs needs of tens of millions of hungry people worldwide is encouraging. However, the G8 call on all member states to contribute to this shared human responsibility must be accompanied by a strong willingness to tackle the underlying structural causes of this crisis with a similar sense of urgency. We must use the current crisis as an opportunity to significantly step up public and private investment into agricultural production and research, and into rural infrastructure at levels above US$25 billion per year. The continued political and financial commitment of the G8 is indispensable in this respect, in particular a marked increase in ODA for agriculture. And, we must make more progress in reducing agricultural subsidies in industrialized countries during the upcoming Doha Development round, and in lifting export restrictions and tariffs, in order to strengthen trade and markets in low-income developing countries. I stand ready to work with the G8, and all other member states and partners.
I am encouraged that the G8 reiterated its promise to deliver on the ODA commitments made at Gleneagles and Heiligendamm and call for quick and concrete progress to realize these goals before the 2010 deadline. I welcome the focus in Hokkaido on achieving the MDGs, and note with satisfaction that health is receiving increased attention, including fighting infectious disease, including neglected tropical diseases, strengthening health systems, and addressing maternal, newborn and child health. I call for prompt implementation of the G8’s commitment to expand access to 100 million insecticide treated bed nets so that we can end malaria deaths by 2010.
We see how much needs to be done in all these areas. Now the challenge is to move beyond discussions to action.