Wednesday, August 31, 2005


2005 World Summit - likely outcome?

The Economist reports on the US challenge to the United Nations.

"some of [the US amendments to the draft summit text] would change the declaration considerably, particularly regarding development efforts and intervention to stop human-rights catastrophes."

"The proposed American edits to the document remove nearly all references to the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] . . . America wants to put more emphasis on the "Monterrey Consensus". . . which concluded that developing countries need to take more responsibility for their own growth by fighting corruption, improving their investment climates and making their countries generally more hospitable to economic activity."

"But developing countries, as well as many UN officials and rich-world governments, believe that substantial aid is required too. . . Thus the draft summit document included a call for rich countries to aim to give 0.7% of their GDP in assistance. It is this kind of language that America wants removed."

What are the chances of the US getting approval to its strict 'development' amendments? Most of the members of the UN General Assembly are developing nations - and they might vote instead for easier access to funding from the developed world.

As for military interventions in sovereign nations - this might eventually lead to the creation of a UN army. It could be formed from NATO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Russian led Collective Security Organisation, if they were able to sort out their differences.

NB: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSO) comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


2005 World Summit

The meeting next month of the United Nations, 2005 World Summit may not be amicable. Discussions will centre on whether the post WW2 world order should be fundamentally changed, in effect.

Today's FT reports:

"[The US ambassador] sat down yesterday with his UN colleagues to haggle over hundreds of US amendments. They mostly focus on measures and institutions the US has consistently opposed elsewhere, such as the International Criminal Court and the nuclear test ban treaty which the US has either refused or failed to ratify. The US is also opposed to the pledge for rich countries to spend 0.7 per cent of their national wealth on aid; most Americans believe US aid is far higher than this, and the Bush administration does not want to remind them it is actually far lower.

"In the same vein the US apparently wants to delete reference to the UN's Millennium Development Goals set in 2000, when the original aim of next month's summit was to review progress towards them. Astonishingly, given the loud US allegations of recent genocide in Darfur, Washington is fretting at language that would urge permanent Security Council members not to use their vetoes to block action to halt genocide and other war crimes. On this, however, China is as opposed as the US."

Common Military Policy

The French have suggested that the future of international politics lies in harmonising policies on defence.

Last month, the Chinese media published a table of the top 15 spenders on the military in 2004. The countries are:
1. USA (47% of world total); 2. UK (5%); 3. France (5%); 4. Japan (4%); 5. China (4%); 6. Germany (3%); 7. Italy (3%); 8. Russia (2%); 9. Saudi Arabia (2%); 10. South Korea (2%); 11. India (2%); 12. Israel (1%); 13. Canada (1%); 14. Turkey (1%); Australia (1%).

Next month's meeting at the United Nations will be a good time to discuss global threats and what collective action is necessary.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Who is responsible for the global economy?

How much longer will we have a global economy? Yesterday's FT contained comments from the Institute for International Economics that globalisation might be saved if the United States and China act together.

But the system is at risk elsewhere, also. For example, we read a report on the possibility of Fortress Russia. And France is moving in the direction of economic patriotism.

The implications are immense. Isn't the G8 responsible for overseeing the global economy?

Monday, August 22, 2005



Are the G8 marking time until they're replaced? Per the Gleneagles Plan of Action, "Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol will work to strengthen and develop the implementation of the [global] market mechanisms. . .".

This is an unrealistic aim, partly because almost 80% of the world's oil reserves are controlled by governments that have little regard for the free market.

"The United Nations seems the only organisation that can negotiate sufficient order - not the G8. But it'll have to be asked first. But do enough nations really want a peaceful settlement of the energy crisis?" - see below, 'No one has asked the UN'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Energy Security - assistance from Russia

It is excellent that Russia is focusing on energy security in its presidency of the G8 in 2006 (see below). We need movement on the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Russian Federation is a member of the Energy Charter Conference, but has yet to sign the Treaty. The sticking point is the transit protocol, which aims "to develop a regime of commonly-accepted legal principles covering transit flows of energy resources, both hydrocarbons and electricity, crossing at least two national boundaries, designed to ensure the security and non-interruption of transit."

The hold-up is mentioned in Charter News, which records remarks made by the S-G of the Energy Charter Secretariat at a conference last October:

>Dr Ria Kemper, noted that huge investments are needed in order for Eurasia to meet its projected energy needs, and emphasised that a reliable framework for energy transit is essential if these investments are to be realised. "The aim of the Energy Charter process is to provide a foundation of common rules, facilitating investment in those projects offering the most advantageous combination of high economic efficiency and low environmental impact. A completed Transit Protocol would provide a strong additional impetus to these investments by clarifying – on a multilateral basis – how energy resources can be brought across different national borders and jurisdictions to consumer markets. I strongly hope that the remaining issues in the text of the Protocol – all of which are the subject of continuing consultations between the European Union and
the Russian Federation – can be resolved as soon as possible."<

International energy security

The end of the G8 summit in 2005 was marked by an official communique.

On energy security, it says:
"12. Following the success of the Energy and Environment Ministerial Roundtable held in London in March, the UK will hold meetings to take the Dialogue forward in the second half of this year, including by identifying specific implementation plans for carrying out each of the commitments under the Plan of Action."
"13. We welcome the Russian decision to focus on energy in its Presidency of the G8 in 2006 and the programme of meetings that Russia plans to hold."

The importance of energy is starting to raise questions whether national security arrangements are sufficient. Is there a role here for NATO?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


2005 Summit

The outcome of the G8 meeting on 6-8 July 2005 is summarised here.

The two main themes of the UK presidency were climate change and Africa.

On climate change, the Gleneagles Plan of Action was agreed.
"23. Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol will (a) work to strengthen and develop the implementation of the market mechanisms etc,etc"
"33. We look forward to further discussions on how development and energy strategies can be strengthened to build resilience to climate impacts, including at the Millennium Review Summit in September 2005."

However this G8 agreement was overshadowed three weeks later by the Asia-Pacific Energy Initiative.
"The United States has joined five nations in the Asia-Pacific region in an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the sharing of energy technology. . .This new partnership includes the United States, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. [The US Deputy Secretary of State] said the six countries combined represent more than half of the world's economy, population and energy use, and also produce half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions."

On Africa, Africa: A Historic Opportunity was agreed.
"10 (e) Acting effectively in the UN and in other fora to combat the role played by 'conflict resources' such as oil, diamonds and timber, and other scarce natural resources, in starting and fuelling conflicts."
"21. An ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Round is the best way to make trade work for Africa and increase African countries' integration into the global economy. The Hong Kong Ministerial in December will be a critical step towards a successful outcome of the DDA in 2006."

But Progress on Doha has been disappointing.
"In the key areas of agriculture, developed countries continue to adopt a rather evasive attitude towards eliminating export subsidies and reducing domestic support, while having a very high level of ambition with respect to market access. Keeping in mind the livelihood security of millions of poor farmers and their inability to subsidise these, developing countries would obviously like to move cautiously on the market access agenda in agriculture."

Update on 22 August, 2005
The NYT rails against slow progress in the Doha 'development' trade talks. "But for poor countries, the process of compromise has been a one-way street for more than half a century. It's time for the rich world to start doing a little compromising."

Update on 11 September, 2005
The G20 are also reported to want progress on Doha.

Monday, August 15, 2005


No one has asked the UN

Obstacles to solving the energy crisis:

a) The US will be reluctant to cut its consumption of fossil fuel - the administration may therefore be prepared to wage wars to maintain its current rate of consumption in the short term. Signs of this belligerence came when the US Congress recently discouraged the Chinese bid for a US oil company.

b) Equally reluctant to restrict their energy purchases will be rising Eastern nations, especially as they're becoming increasingly prosperous. Their sense of fairness will be aggravated by the fact that the US continues to consume 25% of the world's oil production for less than 5% of the population.

c) The FT reports today that the UK government is reviewing what weapon capabilities it needs in the future: "certain capabilities believed to be essential to national security nuclear arms technologies, chemical and biological weapons defences, and counter-terrorist capabilities are almost certain to be among those listed."

The United Nations seems the only organisation that can negotiate sufficient order - not the G8. But it'll have to be asked first. But do enough nations really want a peaceful settlement of the energy crisis?

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Why is the UN ignoring energy security?

Why is the United Nations ignoring energy? One of its responsibilities is to prevent international conflict, including resource wars between nations. In apparent exasperation, the Russians are tabling energy security for discussion at the G8 economic summit in 2006.

Many people are worried. And they are taking matters into their own hands. For example: the Asia-Pacific initiative; big oil companies have taken out advertising space in newspapers to warn of the likely scramble for oil; the US Department of Energy have commissioned a report; and an Oil Depletion Protocol has been published.

"Efforts will be needed to create alternative sources of energy, to reduce demand for oil through heightened energy efficiency, and to redesign entire systems (including cities) to operate with less petroleum. . . The Protocol will require a system for monitoring production, exports, and imports – which cannot be hidden to a large degree in any case. Enforcement will require the establishment of a Secretariat [UN?] for adjudication of disputes and claims, and a system of economic penalties to be negotiated by the agreeing nations."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


G8, 2006


Former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson of Port Ellen has underlined the importance of protecting the world's energy supplies. The former British Defence Secretary told ''."There are few issues as important to people in their daily lives as energy supply. It dominates domestic and business activity like few other factors. That is why energy security - both in supply, assurance and physical terms is one of the key issues of our time. I have no doubt at all that the debate on how best we guarantee energy security will be a dominant one in the next decade and it will be in finding solutions which will largely determine how safe we all will be.


At this year’s G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, Russian President Vladimir Putin set the agenda for next year’s conference. He stated that moves to stabilise world energy supplies will top the Group of Eight’s agenda at next year’s meeting in Russia. These words were echoed shortly after by Russian Deputy Energy and Industry Minister Ivan Materov when he commented that energy security, including stability of energy supplies will be the key issue at the next G8 summit.With oil prices rocketing to US$ 60 per barrel, the leaders of the other industrialised countries have given their support to Putin. Concerns are growing about rising energy prices, and they wholeheartedly support Mr Putin’s decision to make energy security the priority at next year’s summit. The leaders agreed to address ‘the strategic challenge of transforming our energy systems to create a more secure and sustainable future’Russia will assume the Presidency of the Group of Eight industrialised countries at the start of 2006, and will host the summit in St Petersburg.

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