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A Globalized Summit
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This year's G8 summit of the leading industrial nations - Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and Russia - gathers under the slogan of Growth and Responsibility.

For Germany, host of the annual meeting, some big developing countries that rise rapidly should share responsibility for dealing with the political and economic problems in the world.

Hosting the gathering in the heavily barricaded Baltic seaside resort of Heiligendamm, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to nudge the other leaders toward major decisions. The Germans have chosen an ambitious agenda with climate change and Africa.

The rapidly growing economies of developing countries are seen as posing "challenges" to the world's economic order under the command of the long-time economic powers. The invitations to major developing countries - China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - are not free. They must meet the requirements of their big industrial counterparts.

Given the political and economic weight of the G8, summit decisions have a global impact. The world's most developed countries need to take more responsibility in finding solutions to reduce the gap between rich and poor nations.

Their decisions should not create more self-serving protectionist barriers. This would leave the poor countries increasingly marginalized in the era of globalization.

The club, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the world's wealth but only about one-eighth of its population, could have worked harder to encourage a global economic balance.

With deep divisions among the eight countries, positive achievements will be hard to come by.

In the realm of climate change, the United States' pre-summit announcement of a "new global framework" as an alternative to a planned UN process contradicts most of the world's thinking. At the same time, progress is possible, with Merkel attempting to put a positive spin on the US statement.

As for Africa, the G8 nations, by nature an elitist group, are under pressure to deliver on promises to the continent. Leaders from Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana are attending the summit.

At the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the G8 made a commitment to increase aid to Africa by US$25 billion by 2010. They are expected to reaffirm commitments to double development aid and increase funds for combating AIDS in Africa.

The success of the summit can only be meaningfully measured by a positive outreach to the rest of the world - both the invited and the uninvited.

(China Daily June 7, 2007)

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