Climate change

World business community delivers appeal to G8 leaders

  • 5 July 2005

In a statement issued to all G8 leaders, businesses from around the world asked them to use their upcoming meeting in Scotland on 6-8 July to address four key issues: drawing developing countries into the global economy, particularly Africa; bringing the Doha trade negotiations to a successful close; addressing climate change more effectively; and protecting intellectual property and innovation.

The statement was delivered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is headquartered in Paris and works through its network of national committees and members in 130 countries in all corners of the globe. Tens of thousands of companies – ranging in size from small and medium enterprises to large multinationals – are members of ICC.

The ICC statement said: “We have examined the recent report of the UK-sponsored Commission for Africa and applaud its emphatic recognition of the key role that a functioning private sector plays in successful development. The creation of a local framework supportive of entrepreneurship and small enterprises – particularly in the areas of financing instruments and technical assistance – is a vital component of a strategy to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.”

On the subject of climate change, the ICC statement highlighted four points:

Business is actively engaged in the effort to meet global energy demand while curbing greenhouse gas emissions;
The lack of global consensus on climate change is discouraging the search for new technologies;
T he UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should be used to develop a long-term global policy framework; one that reflects a global consensus on addressing the risks effectively and that encourages investment in and dissemination of advanced technologies for producing clean energy;
The focus of climate change policy negotiations should be switched to spur long-term innovation and investment and new technologies.

The ICC statement stressed the following points:

Piracy and counterfeiting have grown into a global epidemic, damaging the health of consumers as well as the development of nations;
Investment in environmental technologies requires IP protection;
Business looks to the G8 for concrete action to fight IP piracy.

Regarding the Doha trade negotiations, the ICC statement said: “Steady progress in the negotiations must be achieved between now and the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the WTO scheduled for the end of this year in Hong Kong, enabling the ministerial to lock in worthwhile, concrete results and establish a forceful momentum for completing the round by the revised deadline of end-2006. For this, ministers and capitals must remain strongly engaged to ensure that their delegations in Geneva receive clear negotiating mandates – as well as to maintain the practice of occasional ‘mini-meetings’ of trade ministers, which have recently proved effective in pushing the agenda forward.”

In June, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who will host the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland on 6-8 July, received the Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, Korean businessman Yong Sung Park, in the context of a roundtable discussion of world business priorities.

The meeting focused primarily on development in Africa and climate change, two issues Prime Minister Blair has placed at the top of this year’s G8 agenda, and included leaders of four other trade and industry groups.

Mr Park said: “We told Prime Minister Blair that the world business community is looking for strong leadership at the upcoming G8 meeting in Gleneagles. Businesses all over the world are anxious that a successful completion of the Doha trade negotiations is at the forefront of the Gleneagles agenda.”

Mr Park, who is also Chairman of Doosan Heavy Industries, South Korea, was accompanied by Paul Skinner, Chairman, ICC UK and Chairman, Rio Tinto; and Steve Lennon, Chairman of ICC’s Commission on Environment and Energy and Managing Director, Resources and Strategy, Eskom Holdings, South Africa.

Mr Skinner also commented: “I have no doubt that sustainable economic growth depends on flourishing global trade and that the successful completion of the Doha Round in 2006 is critical. Trade is also key to the implementation of the Commission for Africa’s agenda. Africa’s market share of global trade has fallen from 6% to 2% over 20 years. A level playing field in trade is vital for any prospect of Africa’s sustained growth.”