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The Global Health Outcomes of the 2008 G8 Summit

Daniel S. Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs
Remarks to CSIS and Kaiser Family Foundation
Washington, DC
July 25, 2008

Thanks Steve. And it is great to have been able to share the stage with Ambassador Fujisaki. I think what Mike mentioned in this last Summit was and I think most Summits, what was very, very true that U.S. and Japan worked very, very closely on a number of issues throughout the Summit preparation and the leadership shone by the Prime Minister and all the members of the Japanese Government in hosting with great grace and hospitality, this Summit was something that we were very appreciative of as an Administration, but that close working relationship was really key. And so, I just wanted to emphasize that at the outset.

It is also great to be sharing the stage here with some of my distinguished colleagues. Mike it is always a pleasure to see you again, Professor enjoyed those comments and I want to mention to Steve and Jennifer, I took part in this setting last year after the G8, and very much enjoyed it.

It is as Steve said, looking to do a full accounting which we think is very important, but that is why I think this session, this follow-up session is so important, because in many ways you guys are the health experts. I get a little intimidated when I come here as an econ guy, looking at all the backgrounds of everybody here on these health issues.

But that follow-up and full accounting on what the G8 commits to, and I remember saying this last year, hold our feet to the fire on what we did last year. And I think there is no better group that can do that than this group. So I want to applaud CSIS, the Kaiser Foundation for doing this every year. I think it is very, very important and we want to continue to participate in it.

As Steve mentioned, I was the Sous Sherpa for this past year and the year before. For those of you who are familiar with all the G8 kind of Summitry lingo. There is Sherpa's, Sous Sherpa's, the Assistants to the Sherpa's and Sous Sherpa's are commonly referred to affectionately as Yaks. [Laughter]

They really play out this Summit analogy. I actually just spent two weeks in Alaska, went from the Summit right to Alaska for a vacation. And I gave a speech to a group there and gave them the mountaineering culture up there. They just love this notion. So, one of my very dear colleagues, Kelly Dillon is in the audience, and although she was referred to as Yak, she really worked hard and did a great job for us.

So, what I want to do is I want to try and keep my remarks brief. A lot has already been said, and I think it is more important to open up the discussion to some questions. We would agree very much with the Ambassador's assessment that this was quite a successful Summit, from the U.S. perspective. And what I want to do is just touch on five key areas where we though the success was particularly important.

The first again, is the accountability issue. Second is fighting disease in Africa, third is on confronting climate change. The fourth is on addressing some of the high commodity prices that are significant challenges right now for the global economy. And the fifth is, as Mike talked about reinforcing our commitments to open markets, strong Doha completion.

And I also wanted to just again, Mike mentioned it, the Ambassador mentioned it, this issue of the G8 relevance. Everybody has been talking about it, a lot has already been said, but it is a group that works very hard over months to not only set the agenda, but then as we focus on this year, to follow-up on that.

And one other thing, though that is important, you look at these documents. It is also a unique in a way, a group of countries that is very, very serious about committing significant, significant financial commitments to try and address health issues. Heiligendamm statement last year clearly was focused on that with significant resources committed, $60 billion as you are aware.

But again look at the statement this year, $10 billion with regard to the food security issue, $10 billion with regard to clean energy technology, R&D. These are significant resources, and that is another area where it makes the G8 quite unique grouping of countries that focus on doing that primarily to help developing countries.

So I think that is another aspect of the relevance of the G8, not only in terms of global agenda setting, but also in terms of what the countries are committing to doing and again, what you are doing is helping us make sure we meet those commitments and that is very important.

So on accountability, this as Steve mentioned and I am glad he has seen it, but we thought it was extremely important to have throughout the document, throughout the leader statement this notion of accountability on past commitments laced throughout the leader statement. It was something that we worked close with the Japanese on, and it was something to built on. We thought it was very important to build on what happened last year at Heiligendamm. I know this group was very familiar with what happened last year with regard to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, Malaria.

But in essence what our agenda was last year was to get the rest of the G8 to match what the U.S. has been doing in these areas, and that is why when you look at the targets that were agreed to last year in the G8 on the HIV/AIDS and Malaria, there are essentially a doubling of PEPFAR and of the President's Malaria Initiative, and that is exactly what they were. That is what we intended them to be, and similarly, with the financial commitments.

So, we thought it was very important having what we thought was a historic outcome last year on disease to make this year be very focused on accountability. So with the matrices, but it was not easy, it was not easy to get these matrices, hopefully you have taken a look at them. They are not perfect, but we think it is a very important step on getting the accountability issue front and center cemented in the G8 agenda.

And so we think going forward that that is going to be an important outcome of this Summit with that accountability notion, follow-up reports, matrices on health spending is going to be what we hoped to be a permanent part of the G8 going forward.

I mentioned the matrices. Again, it sounds a little bit wonky sometimes, but this was a very important element of trying to embed accountability. Accountability was mentioned was also a focus in other areas. Water, education, corruption, anti-corruption commitments, energy commitments. Again we were very focused on doing this throughout past commitments and we are confident that that is going to be a continuing focus of the G8 and something that groups such as this would welcome.

One thing, an outcome of this accountability issue, you may have noticed, I am sure some here were certainly perhaps even involved. But you saw on the day of the Summit that the Gates Foundation had committed $150 million to polio eradication and in their press release, they very, very much focused on this accountability mechanism and focused on accountability by the G8.

And the message there that we thought was if the G8 is accountable for its commitments, you are going to start to see other groups, other government, non government organizations that will come together and also be accountable. And so we thought that was an important signal, an important way to build public, private partnerships that are really going to be the key to addressing many of these health issues.

One thing we have not really talked about, I will just briefly touch on here, but we also thought it was important to expand some of the G8's commitments on addressing health issues. So, there hopefully you have seen, and again to try and get targets related to such goals.

So, there is language on increasing and committing to training health workers, that is in the statement, there is also a whole new focus on neglected tropical diseases, which had come up in other Summits, but again, without a focus of a target and countries and specific numbers. And that is in there now, we can talk about that. And even something as specific as bed nets with regard to Malaria, very, very ambitious target in there of 100 million long lasting bed nets by the end of 2010.

Next point I wanted to talk about again, it was already been stated with regard to climate change, and the focus both on a long-term greenhouse gas reduction target, but importantly as part of that at least 50-percent by 2050, a very strong focus in the G8 that that has to be in conjunction with commitments made by other major economies.

And so this is why we thought one element that was successful of the Summit was both having the G8 Summit and then the major Economies Meeting that took place essentially in conjunction with the G8 Summit. And as Mike mentioned this was an initiative that President Bush launched last year prior to the Heiligendamm Summit, but the key element there was any major progress is going to be made with regard to the global climate change challenge has to be with regard to all the major economies. And this was an important start. My colleague, Dan Price, the Sherpa led this process over the last year, and we thought that the leaders meeting with regard to the major economies focused on climate was a very, very important process of plugging into the UNFCC process for a post 2012 framework.

Also, we have not talked about it, but one thing that I did want to highlight with regard to climate, is every year the G8 had focused on the importance of clean energy technology as a key to addressing climate change. They always focused on it and talked about its importance, but we thought this year that what was important was to show action on that.

And we thought action in three different areas. Basic R&D by G8 countries that governments fund, commercialization incentives to sort of help bring new technologies to market and decrease the risk of doing so, and then deploying these technologies.

And if you look at the G8 leader statement this year, you really have a lot of significant action oriented statements by the G8 in all three of these areas. A $10 billion commitment to basic R&D, which is very important. U.S. has already given about $4 billion annually under President Bush. A commercialization focus unfortunately, from our perspective did not have a target on it. We wanted one we were unable to get it. Our Department of Energy has a $42.5 billion loan guarantee program for commercialization of greenhouse gas reducing technologies which we think is a good example of that kind of commercialization.

And with regard to deployment, a strong focus on reducing Tariffs on clean energy technology, goods and services. We have a joint proposal with the EU at the WTO negotiations that we think is an important way to do that. And as was already mentioned, The Clean Energy Technology Fund, which has been jointly a focus of efforts by the U.S., Japan and the UK and the leader statement there is a $6 billion commitment on that by the G8, which we think was an important outcome.

Just a few more quick issues, one that I want to highlight because I think it was particularly important and again, a great example of Japan's leadership at the Summit. But on the food security issue, there is a separate statement, there was only two real separate statements in the Summit documents, one on food security, one on counter terrorism.

And if you have not already done so, I would encourage you to take a look at that food security statement. We think that it is very action oriented, it embeds the idea of accountability, it embeds the idea of the G8 working with other important organizations, global organizations of course, other countries.

And it makes a lot of commitments and we think that, and I can tell you from being one of the negotiators, we work quite hard on that statement and we think that there is a lot there and it is going to be an important statement, and hopefully they will be strong follow-up on that that will help with regard to addressing what is a significant global problem with the dramatic rise of food prices, particularly for some of the poorest countries in the world. And I can talk about some of the specific aspects of that if you would like.

And similarly, as the Ambassador noted there was a strong focus on addressing high energy prices. Although, as we all know there is no quick fix to that, but basic focus on supply and demand elements of that. Maintaining commitments to previous commitments by the G8, particularly at St. Petersburg was also important.

And then finally, the fifth area as I mentioned as Mike noted, one area where the G8 consistently, I think plays a global leadership role and sets the agenda the rest of the world is on the commitment to open investment, strong trade liberalization focus.

And despite obvious head winds and challenges that we are now facing, as oppose to last year with regard to the global economy, there was still a very strong element of the commitment to maintaining open markets to a strong Doha which we think is giving as the Ambassador noted, impetus to the Ministerial negotiations going on literally as we speak in Geneva on Doha and expanding cooperation in important areas to the G8 economies, such as intellectual property rights.

So, that is an overview, again we thought it was a strong Summit, and Mike had mentioned at the outset even this idea of the international architecture, there is a paragraph in there recognizing that this is important, that there is ongoing work that the G8 and other countries need to continue to look at ways to make the international economic institutions as effective as possible.

So, thanks for your time, and again I really want to applaud this group, and host here for what I think is an outstanding event to follow-up on what the G8 does every year. So, thanks. [Applause]

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