Upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg:
At the beginning of 2006, Russia
assumed the G8 Presidency. We understand
very well that this requires serious work and implies a great
of responsibility. It is not the organizational activities
alone that lie ahead. More importantly, we will need to discuss
and jointly determine the priorities and substantive areas
of work for this highly respected forum, which has served
as a key mechanism for coordinating approaches to meeting the
most significant challenges of world development for more
than thirty years.
suggested to our partners that we should focus on three serious
and pressing issues: global energy security, combating infectious
diseases, and education. These three priorities are oriented
towards achieving an objective which we hope is clear to all
our partners, namely improving the quality of life and living
standards of the present and future generations.
of a reliable and comprehensive system of energy
clearly one of the strategic goals for the G8 and the world
community as a whole. Today, global energy is an important
and true engine of social and economic progress. This is why
it directly affects the well-being of billions of people around
Russian Presidency, not only will we seek to develop fundamental
approaches to meeting current challenges in this field but
also outline our coordinated policy for the long term.
lack of stability in the hydrocarbon markets poses a real threat
to global energy supply. In particular, the gap between supply
and demand continues to widen. The apparent increase in energy
consumption in Asian countries is caused not only by market
fluctuations but also by a host of other factors related to
policy and security. In order to stabilize the situation in
this field, coordinated activities of the entire world community
policy of the leading world countries should be based on the
understanding that the globalization of the energy sector makes
energy security indivisible. Our common future in the area
of energy means common responsibilities, risks and benefits.
In our view,
it is especially important to develop a strategy for achieving
global energy security. It should be based on a long-term,
reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supply at prices
affordable to both the exporting countries and the consumers.
In addition to reconciling the interests of stakeholders in
the global energy interaction, we will have to identify practical
measures aimed at ensuring sustainable access of the world
economy to traditional sources of energy, as well as promoting
energy-saving programmes and developing alternative energy
and fair energy supply is undoubtedly a pillar of global security
at present and in the years to come. We ought to pass on to
the future generations a world energy architecture that would
help avoid conflicts and counterproductive competition for
energy security. This is why it is essential to find common
approaches to creating a solid and long-term energy base for
In this connection,
Russia calls on the G8 countries and the international community
to focus their efforts on developing innovative technologies.
This could serve as an initial step in creating a technological
basis for energy supply of mankind in the future, when the
energy potential in its present form is exhausted.
security will also benefit from an integrated approach to enhancing
energy efficiency of the social and economic development. The
G8 made important progress towards elaborating it last year
in Gleneagles, including, in particular, the adoption of the
Plan of Action aimed at promoting innovation, energy saving
and environmental protection. We find it crucially important
to engage non-G8 countries, especially fast-growing and industrializing
economies, in participating in the G8 initiatives and, particularly,
in implementing the document adopted at Gleneagles.
most people see it, energy security has mainly to do with the
interests of industrially developed countries. It should be
kept in mind, however, that almost two billion people in today’s
world do not enjoy modern-day energy services, while many of
them lack access to even electricity. Their access to many
benefits and advances of civilization has been virtually blocked.
to say, energy alone would not solve the poverty problem. At
the same time, lack of energy resources throughout different
regions significantly hinders economic growth while their unsustainable
use may result in an ecological disaster on a global rather
than local scale.
experts have been actively discussing ways of increasing energy
use in developing countries through a more intensive development
of non-conventional energy sources. And this is where assistance
rendered by the G8 in developing and introducing alternative
power facilities becomes ever so important.
speaking, all of us should recognize and admit that “energy
egoism” in a modern and highly interdependent world is
a road to nowhere. Therefore Russia’s attitude towards energy
security remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief
that energy redistribution guided wholly by the priorities
of a small group of most developed countries does not serve
the goals and purposes of global development. We will strive
to create an energy security system sensitive to the interests
of the whole international community. Basically all it takes
is for the mankind to create a balanced potential in order
to provide every State with sustainable energy supply, and
international cooperation opens all avenues for that.
its history, the human race finds itself fighting against a
genuine threat to its survival – that of the spread of
diseases. The progress made might seem encouraging:
smallpox was eliminated once and for all throughout the world
while fight against poliomyelitis is drawing to a close. Yet
our times are also plagued by the outbreaks of both known and
new and highly dangerous diseases such as AIDS, exotic viral
hemorrhagic fever, microplasma infections, and bird flu. Today,
infections account for every third death in the world. According
to experts, in the years to come there is a high probability
of a new strain of pandemic influenza that would claim millions
like to suggest the reactivation of efforts in this regard,
including the adoption of a strategic action plan of the G8
to fight bird flu and prevent new human flu pandemics.
the Group should not and must not stay indifferent to such
enormous challenges as combating infectious diseases. The uneven
development of health systems as well as unequal financial
capabilities and scientific potential required to fight epidemics
lead to uneven distribution of global resources allocated to
the fight against infections.
a different degree of intensity in different regions, infectious
diseases, working as a litmus test, expose social and economic
problems, aggravate social inequality and contribute to discrimination.
Thus, people infected with HIV and other dangerous diseases
find themselves in an alarming situation as they are essentially
marginalized and have to cope both with their disease and the
difficulties of adapting to a full life in society.
another fundamental aspect. In recent years, our world has
suffered the devastation of earthquakes, floods and tsunamis
with increasing frequency. Urbanization, wider transport networks
and industrial infrastructure make us much more vulnerable
to these emergencies than before. They cause damage not only
to the economy and social sphere; their heaviest toll is the
outbreaks of infectious diseases, which claim thousands of
lives. Therefore we view as another priority the establishment
of a global system for natural disaster warning and mitigating
their epidemiological consequences.
also be given to the possibility of creating a unified infrastructure
capable of responding to the emergence and spread of epidemic
in a prompt manner. This infrastructure must include a monitoring,
information and scientific methodology exchange system that
can promptly respond to emergencies.
humanitarian crises, in particular related to military conflicts,
are the root cause of many large-scale diseases. As a result,
the threat of effective disease area spread is increased many
times over. I am convinced that the G8 will be able to consolidate
international efforts in dealing with such emergencies and
give a strong impetus to multilateral interaction in this area.
the G8 should continue to promote scientific capacity-building
and pool together intellectual and material resources of the
world community for the development of new safe vaccines and
promising highly sensitive means to diagnose infectious diseases,
as well as for the implementation of education and prevention
tasks in the area of education deserve serious attention. In
a post-industrial information society, education becomes a
prerequisite for success in the daily life and a major input
into the economic development. It is one of the most important
elements of a growing social identity, moral values and stronger
democracy. Moreover, as technologies improve, labor market
favors higher-skilled specialists, and education requirements
are constantly increasing as a result. Its goals and content
are consequently changing. Today, possessing a certain amount
of knowledge and skills is not enough; one has to be ready
to constantly upgrade and adapt them to new requirements.
global wealth of information dramatically changes education
methodologies themselves. Transfer to continuous education
is taking place now. Preconditions are in place to form a common
education space. Certainly, these trends are gaining momentum,
primarily in developing countries. At the same time, many nations
and regions still face an acute problem of accessibility of
even the basic education. We view this as a true "humanitarian
disaster", as a serious threat to the world community.
Widespread illiteracy is a breeding ground for the advocates
of inter-civilizational strife, xenophobia and national and
religious extremism, and in the final analysis for international
In this context,
it is important to formulate a wider and more systematic approach
to education in both developing countries and the world at
large. In particular, if the employment problem is to be successfully
resolved, the notion of education must, as it seems, include
not only general education but also vocational and technical
training encompassing all levels of education, from basic to
In the conditions
of growing mobility of world population and steady increase
in migration, the problem of integration into a different cultural
environment acquires special importance. Obviously, it is education
that makes possible mutual social adaptation of various cultural,
ethnic and confessional groups. Hence, special attention should
be paid to upgrading education systems for the attainment of
these goals both in developed and developing countries.
countries experience serious difficulties with introducing
advanced education methods and information technologies. In
this respect, it is necessary to make more efficient use of
the most advanced resources, including the Internet and other
newest means of information and knowledge distribution, in
the field of education. A fruitful debate on this subject took
place last November in Tunisia during the second stage of the
World Summit on Information Society; we have been carefully
reviewing the Summit outcomes and intend to use them.
ready to assist in mobilizing the world community’s efforts
aimed at raising the quality and compatibility of requirements
to professional education as a key condition for the use and
propagation of innovations. All stakeholders in global economic
development and the international labor market in general are
interested in this. The responsiveness of educational institutions
to the demands of high-tech sectors is a necessary precondition
for the competitiveness of national economies.
the three priorities on the agenda of the Russian Presidency
mentioned above, the G8 will continue in 2006 its work on such
key issues as the fight against international terrorism and
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Group
will remain focused on the problems of development assistance
as well as the prevention of environmental degradation and
critical issues of the world economy, finance and trade. And
certainly, as before, our efforts will remain focused on the
settlement of regional conflicts, primarily in the Middle East
and in Iraq, and on stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan.
realize that not a single Presidency is capable of offering
comprehensive solutions to the problems of the modern world
being discussed by the G8. At the same time, from summit to
summit, the Group is getting a better vision of these problems
and strives to find the most workable approaches to their solution
through its joint efforts.
ready to contribute actively to further progress in this direction.
Continuity and evolution – these words are the motto of the
Russian Presidency that has commenced.