The leaders of the world’s eight richest nations have a lot on their plate as they head for L’Aquila. With the world still gripped by recession, kickstarting the global economy and saving jobs must be their priority. Top of the list will be limiting trade protectionism, which may appeal to some but which would hinder recovery. Food security is critical after record price rises in the past year; and among other issues, the environment, and how to marry cutting emissions while still sparking growth.
The G8 will naturally be dominated by the recession, and may produce a statement on signs of a gentle recovery. Host Silvio Berlusconi, for one, is eager to send out an optimistic message. A possible breakthrough may come in trade. A draft communique suggests the hope of signing off the stalled Doha trade talks by next year. Doha was launched eight years ago, but negotiations have stumbled over cutting tarrifs and subsidies. There could also be something on the menu in the area of food security. With nine African leaders attending the summit there could be a pledge to stabilise prices and markets to avoid the recent speculation which left much of the world’s poorest people going hungry. Then there’s the environment. Ahead of December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, the G8 may strengthen a rather vague ‘vision’ of halving carbon emissions by 2050.