Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Long reads
4 June 2007

Day one: on the way to the G8

In the first instalment in a series of articles on the G8 summit in Germany, Tamsyn from the World D

By Tamsyn East

As the G8 leaders jet into Germany to begin another barbed summit surrounded by thousands of feet of protective fencing (apparently costing 13 million euros!) and tens of thousands of angry protesters, Leila and I are frantically triple checking that our reports, leaflets and cameras are at the ready in time for our 7 o’clock eurostar.

Today is day three of a week of protest and debate in Rostock, the nearest accessible town to the summit, and we are on our way to make the World Development Movement’s presence felt.

The news coverage I have seen in the UK has been slim so far but it seems to have been dominated by the activities of some violent activists and Blair and Merkel statements that the summit will be critical for Africa and climate change.

On the former I have heard from activists on the ground who are saying that the demonstrations have so far been peaceful with a diverse group of people taking part, including many children. The violence so far has been undertaken by a small minority.

On the G8 summit itself, I don’t believe it will deliver for the 1.1 billion living in extreme poverty. The language of a recently leaked draft communiqué is pro-business and anti-development. It’s pushing for investment deregulation, strengthening of intellectual property rights and the opening of markets. These sort of measures are more likely to lock millions into poverty.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Bush’s recent proposal on climate change to set up long term voluntary goals for countries to reduce global green house emissions is nothing but an attempt to distract from the existing UN negotiating process. The US also opposes any mention of the need to stop average global temperatures from increasing beyond 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.

This kind of horse-trading over the G8 ‘text’ is par for the course. And at the World Development Movement we have learned not to expect much from the G8 . The G8 is not accountable to anyone, it is a self selecting group and rarely delivers on the promises it makes. You only need to look at Gleneagles – the year of Make Poverty History -where expectations on debt, aid and trade were high. The promises made were disappointing – promises that in many cases have not been fulfilled .

With climate change dominating the agenda it would seem strangely perverse to fly to the event, though many decision makers inevitably will. In the UK, international aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions, yet even though these are increasing, and have a 2-4 times greater warming effect because they are emitted directly in the atmosphere, the government is refusing to include them in their own emission reduction targets.

We will be attending the alternative G8 summit in Germany– taking part in a number of workshops, demonstrations, protests and cultural activities, as part of the anti-corporate globalisation movement, we will speak out about the illegitimacy of the G8.

Tonight we will be catching the overnight train to Rostock from London, joining other activists who are making their way by land to the summit. On arriving in Rostock we will be setting up camp with other activists, before what I expect will be a busy few days.