G8 Muskoka Declaration Recovery and New Beginnings
G8 Muskoka Declaration Recovery and New Beginnings
Muskoka, Canada, 25-26 June 2010
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met in Muskoka on June 25-26, 2010. Our annual summit takes place as the world begins a fragile recovery from the greatest economic crisis in generations.
2. What binds the G8 together is a shared vision that major global challenges must and can be addressed effectively through focus, commitment and transparency, and in partnership with other concerned members of the global community. The G8 has demonstrated the capacity to design credible approaches to meet the challenges of our times. For over thirty years, it has shown that its collective will can be a powerful catalyst for sustainable change and progress. At Muskoka in 2010, we are focussing on an effective agenda to address key challenges in development, international peace and security, and environmental protection.
3. This economic crisis exposed and exacerbated vulnerabilities already embedded in integrated global economies, development efforts, and collective security. Progress is being made, through the work of the G20, towards the sustainable recovery of our global economic and financial system. For development, a decade of policy commitments and joint efforts with our partners has brought significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but both developed and developing countries must do more; meanwhile, the crisis has jeopardized advancement toward meeting some of the 2015 targets. Renewed mutual commitments are required. We must also ensure that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and organized crime, as well as many other challenges faced by states to address their security vulnerabilities, including climate change, remain at the forefront of public policy. We, the G8, are determined to exercise leadership and meet our obligations.
4. Moreover, and beginning at the 2008 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, we have recognized the importance of demonstrating that the G8 is committed to reporting transparently and consistently on the implementation of its commitments. In 2009 at the L'Aquila Summit, we tasked senior officials to report on the implementation of our development and development-related commitments with a focus on results. We welcome the Muskoka Accountability Report: Assessing action and results against development-related commitments and will ensure follow up on its conclusions and recommendations. It shows that important progress has been made in many areas, but more needs to be done. We emphasize the importance of regular reports on the progress made in implementing our commitments and in this regard will focus the Accountability reporting in 2011 on health and food security.
5. As recovery takes hold, we are at an important crossroads where nascent hope and optimism must be channelled into building more secure, equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies globally, where greater attention is paid to improving and effectively assessing the well-being of people.
6. Support for development, based on mutual responsibility, and a strong partnership with developing countries, particularly in Africa, remains a cornerstone of the G8's approach. We will pursue our comprehensive approach to development aiming at sustainable outcomes. We reaffirm our commitments, including on ODA and enhancing aid effectiveness. We call on developing country governments to meet their primary responsibilities for social and economic development and good governance, in the interests of their citizens. Since the most vulnerable states have made the least progress towards the MDGs, we will place special emphasis on helping them build the foundations for peace, security and sustainable development.
7. The global community is now at the two-thirds point between adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the target date of 2015. To achieve the MDGs the effort needs to be truly global, encompassing a comprehensive, whole-of-country approach, including actions not only from all governments, but also from the private sector, foundations, non-governmental organizations and civil society, as well as international organizations, focussing more on the protection and empowerment of individuals and communities to improve human security. In this regard, we welcome the UN Secretary General's report "Keeping the Promise" and the UNDP International Assessment on meeting the MDGs. The G8 supports the priorities outlined in the Assessment, and reaffirms the view that progress must be driven by domestic strategies, policies and interventions and national ownership. We call on all development partners, at the September 2010 UN High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs, to strengthen the collective resolve to accelerate progress towards these targets and call for an action-oriented outcome. Consequently, all public and private financial resources should be mobilized efficiently, and enabling conditions created for private and financial sector development and investment and resource flows.
8. Progress towards MDG 5, improving maternal health, has been unacceptably slow. Although recent data suggests maternal mortality has been declining, hundreds of thousands of women still lose their lives every year, or suffer injury, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Much of this could be prevented with better access to strengthened health systems, and sexual and reproductive health care and services, including voluntary family planning. Progress on MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is also too slow. Nearly 9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. These deaths profoundly concern us and underscore the need for urgent collective action. We reaffirm our strong support to significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths as a matter of immediate humanitarian and development concern. Action is required on all factors that affect the health of women and children. This includes addressing gender inequality, ensuring women's and children's rights and improving education for women and girls.
9. G8 members already contribute over US$4.1 billion annually in international development assistance for maternal, newborn and under-five child health (MNCH). Today, we, the Leaders of the G8, working with other Governments, several Foundations and other entities engaged in promoting maternal and child health internationally endorse and launch the Muskoka Initiative, a comprehensive and integrated approach to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 that will significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths in developing countries. The scope of the Muskoka Initiative is specified in
Annex I. Our collective undertaking will support strengthened country-led national health systems in developing countries, in order to enable delivery on key interventions along the continuum of care, i.e., pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, infancy and early childhood.
10. To this end, the G8 undertake to mobilize as of today $5.0 billion of additional funding for disbursement over the next five years. Support from the G8 is catalytic. We make our commitments with the objective of generating a greater collective effort by bilateral and multilateral donors, developing countries and other stakeholders to accelerate progress on MDGs 4 and 5. We therefore welcome the decisions by other governments and foundations to join the Muskoka Initiative. The Governments of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain and Switzerland, subject to their respective budgetary processes, and the Bill and Melinda Gates and UN Foundations have now or have recently committed to additional funding of $2.3 billion to be disbursed over the same period.
11. We fully anticipate that, over the period 2010-2015, subject to our respective budgetary processes, the Muskoka Initiative will mobilize significantly greater than $10 billion.
12. As a consequence of the commitments made today towards the Muskoka Initiative, this support, according to World Health Organization and World Bank estimates, will assist developing countries to: i) prevent 1.3 million deaths of children under five years of age; ii) prevent 64,000 maternal deaths; and iii) enable access to modern methods of family planning by an additional 12 million couples. These results will be achieved cumulatively between 2010-2015. We will track progress on delivering commitments through our accountability reporting, which, in 2011, will focus on health and food security. In line with the principle of mutual accountability, we expect these joint commitments will encourage developing countries to intensify their own efforts with regard to maternal and child health, leading to the saving of many more millions of lives of women, newborn and young children.
13. It is possible to build a broad coalition of the committed. We the partners to the Muskoka Initiative trust today's launch will give added momentum to the UN-led process to develop a Joint Action Plan to Improve the Health of Women and Children, and make a key contribution towards the September 2010 UN High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs. Given the interconnected nature of the Goals, we expect that our commitments will have positive impacts on the other MDGs.
14. We will also focus efforts on training of medical personnel and on establishing stronger health innovation networks in Africa and other regions.
15. We reaffirm our commitment to come as close as possible to universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support with respect to HIV/AIDS. We will support country-led efforts to achieve this objective by making the third voluntary replenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in October 2010 a success. We encourage other national and private sector donors to provide financial support for the Global Fund. We commit to promote integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health, rights and services within the broader context of strengthening health systems. G8 donors also remain steadfast in their support for polio eradication and remain committed to a polio-free world. We continue to support the control or elimination of high-burden Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
16. Food security remains an urgent global development challenge, exacerbated by climate change, increasing global food demand, past underinvestment in the agricultural sector, and extreme price volatility which has strong damaging impacts on the most vulnerable. In 2009 in L'Aquila, we together with other countries and organizations adopted fundamental principles to enhance food security: use a comprehensive approach; invest in country-led plans; strengthen strategic coordination; leverage benefits of multilateral institutions; and deliver on sustained and accountable commitments. We launched the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) based on these principles and ultimately mobilized with US$22 billion for sustainable agriculture development over three years, while maintaining a strong commitment to ensure adequate emergency food aid. The initiative helped achieve a wide consensus and enabled progress to be made in reforming the Committee on Food Security and advancing the Global Partnership for Agricultural and Food Security. As of April 30, 2010, we have disbursed/allocated USD $6.5 billion and remain committed to disburse/allocate the full amount of our individual commitments by 2012. We are working actively to ensure a coordinated approach nationally, regionally and globally, while maintaining our focus on country-led initiatives. We are pleased with the launch of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program hosted at the World Bank, which has $880 million in commitments, and other mutually complementary initiatives or mechanisms, such as the African Agriculture Fund. We underline the critical importance of accountability for ensuring that these collective commitments are met. We underline the key contribution of research to fight hunger and poverty, notably by increasing sustainable agricultural productivity and reiterate our support to the ongoing reform of the global research networks. Reduced malnutrition is a primary outcome of our Food Security Initiative and will contribute to improved maternal and child health.
17. Reflecting the key connection between cross-border investment and development and the fact that official development assistance alone is not sufficient to achieve global food security, we stress the importance of enhancing international investment in developing countries in a responsible and sustainable way. In this context, we support continued efforts to develop principles for investment in the agricultural sector undertaken by the World Bank, regional development banks, FAO, UNCTAD, and IFAD.
18. The G8 remains concerned about the illicit exploitation of and trade in natural resources - including minerals and timber. These activities play a major role in fuelling conflict. We support efforts of regional mechanisms and organizations to prevent, curb and eradicate these illegal activities. We support efforts of the Kimberley Process to manage the trade of rough diamonds and ensure compliance by all participants with its standards. The illicit exploitation of and trade in natural resources from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has directly contributed to the instability and violence that is causing undue suffering among the people of the DRC. We urge the DRC to do more to end the conflict and to extend urgently the rule of law. We welcome the recent initiatives of the private sector and the international community to work with the Congolese authorities and to enhance their due diligence to ensure that supply chains do not support trade in conflict materials. We also urge candidate countries to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), including the DRC, to complete the EITI implementation process as a mechanism to enhance governance and accountability in the extractive sector. The recent inclusion of coltan and cassiterite in the DRC's EITI reporting is a step in the right direction. Further, we welcome the ongoing research and advocacy of international NGOs and local civil society as an important contribution to reducing the conflict opportunities of natural resources.
19. G8 Leaders met in Muskoka with the Heads of State or Government of Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia (as Chair of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee), Malawi (as Chair of the African Union), Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. G8 Leaders welcome the increased ownership that Africa has over its development process and, with African Leaders, noted the high economic growth rates that had been attained in Africa immediately prior to the onset of the global economic and financial crisis. Leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to continued collaboration between G8 and African partners in support of African-led efforts to build a more stable, democratic and prosperous Africa, to advance economic and social development, and to promote the rule of law.
20. G8 and African Leaders recognize that the attainment of the MDGs is a shared responsibility and that strategies based on mutual accountability are essential going forward. They noted that, while significant progress has been made in some areas, greater efforts are required by all actors in order to achieve the MDGs in Africa. In this regard, African Leaders expressed support for the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Muskoka Initiative. Mindful of the central importance that maternal and child health has to development and Africa's ability to achieve the MDGs and of the consequent need for urgent action, Leaders undertook to explore how to accelerate progress in the implementation of their respective commitments in Africa. African partners also welcomed the G8's continued efforts to help strengthen the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), including institutional capacity, to prevent and manage conflict through, inter alia, peacekeeping training centres in Africa. G8 Leaders acknowledged the important contribution of African Leaders to the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative.
Environmental Sustainability and Green Recovery
21. Among environmental issues, climate change remains top of mind. As we agreed in L'Aquila, we recognize the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Achieving this goal requires deep cuts in global emissions. Because this global challenge can only be met by a global response, we reiterate our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050, recognizing that this implies that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible and decline thereafter. We will cooperate to that end. As part of this effort, we also support a goal of developed countries reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050, compared to 1990 or more recent years. Consistent with this ambitious long-term objective, we will undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions, taking into account that baselines may vary and that efforts need to be comparable. Similarly, major emerging economies need to undertake quantifiable actions to reduce emissions significantly below business-as-usual by a specified year.
22. We strongly support the negotiations underway within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We reiterate our support for the Copenhagen Accord and the important contribution it makes to the UNFCCC negotiations. We urge those countries that have not already done so to associate themselves with the Accord and list their mitigation commitments and actions. Recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, we also call for the full and effective implementation of all the provisions of the Accord, including those related to measurement, reporting and verification thereby promoting transparency and trust. In this context, we are putting in place our respective fast-start finance contributions to help address the most urgent and immediate needs of the most vulnerable developing countries and to help developing countries lay the ground work for long-term, low-emission development. We express our commitment to cooperate actively and constructively with Mexico as the President of the sixteenth meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties on November 29 - December 10, 2010. We support related initiatives, including the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Group on identifying long-term public and private financing, and the Paris-Oslo Process on REDD+. We want a comprehensive, ambitious, fair, effective, binding, post-2012 agreement involving all countries, and including the respective responsibilities of all major economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
23. While remaining committed to fighting climate change, we discussed the importance of ensuring that economies are climate resilient. We agreed that more research was needed to identify impacts at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels, and the options for adaptation, including through infrastructural and technological innovation. We particularly recognize the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable countries. We will share our national experiences and plans for adaptation, including through a conference on climate change adaptation in Russia in 2011.
24. To address climate change and increase energy security, we are committed to building low carbon and climate resilient economies, characterized by green growth and improved resource efficiency. We recognize the opportunities provided by a transition to low carbon and renewable energies, in particular for job creation. We encourage the IEA to develop work on an International Platform for low-carbon technologies, in order to accelerate their development and deployment. The elimination or reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in environmental goods and services is essential to promote the dissemination of cleaner low-carbon energy technologies and associated services worldwide. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon emitting economy. We welcome the progress already made on our Toyako commitments to launch the 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects globally by 2010 and to achieve the broad deployment of CCS by 2020, in cooperation with developing countries. Several of us commit to accelerate the CCS demonstration projects and set a goal to achieve their full implementation by 2015. We also recognize the role nuclear energy can play in addressing climate change and energy security concerns, acknowledging the international commitment to safety, security and safeguards for non-proliferation as prerequisites for its peaceful use. We also recognise the potential of bioenergy for sustainable development, climate change mitigation and energy security. We welcome the work of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) and commit to facilitating swift adoption of voluntary sustainability criteria and indicators, as well as on capacity building activities.
25. In 2010, the UN International Year of Biodiversity, we regret that the international community is not on track to meeting its 2010 target to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity globally. We recognize that the current rate of loss is a serious threat, since biologically diverse and resilient ecosystems are critical to human well being, sustainable development and poverty eradication. We underline our support for Japan as it prepares to host the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity this October and in particular we underline the importance of adopting an ambitious and achievable post-2010 framework. We recognize the need to strengthen the science-policy interface in this area, and in this regard we welcome the agreement to establish an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Trade and Investment
26. As a means of sustaining recovery from the global economic crisis, the G8 affirms its longstanding commitment to free and open markets. G8 members of the WTO renew their commitment to the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda, building on the progress already made. We direct our representatives to engage in the spirit of give and take through all negotiating avenues with the goal of achieving the increased level of ambition necessary to facilitate an agreement, recognizing the changes in the global economy since the launch of the Agenda. We will continue to resist protectionist pressures, and to promote liberalization of trade and investment under the WTO, through the national reduction of barriers, as well as through bilateral and regional negotiations.
International Peace and Security
27. We, the Leaders of the G8, remain deeply concerned about serious threats to global peace and security. We are all affected by threats from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international organized crime (including drug trafficking), piracy and from political and ethnic conflict. Prosperity, development and security are inextricably linked, and the economic well being and security of our own countries and those around the world are therefore interdependent. We share a vision of a peaceful world, based on the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and remain ready to continue to work on this basis in partnership with each other and other concerned countries to address security challenges that affect us all.
28. We cannot be complacent about the grave threat posed to the security of present and future generations by the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We therefore welcome the outcome of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and will pursue the follow on actions it recommended by consensus. We call upon all states to do the same. We are committed to seeking a safer world for all and to creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the Treaty. We will pursue concrete disarmament efforts to this end. In this respect, we particularly welcome the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed by the Russian Federation and the United States. We call upon all other states, in particular those possessing nuclear weapons, to join these disarmament efforts, in order to promote international stability and undiminished security for all.
29. We urge all states to take and support resolute action to address non-compliance with the Treaty's non-proliferation obligations, including safeguards obligations. We call upon states that have not yet done so to conclude a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, together with an Additional Protocol, which will become the new universally accepted standard for the verification of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We support the exchange, in conformity with the obligations of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in particular for developing countries. We reiterate our commitment as found in paragraph 8 of the L'Aquila Statement on Non-Proliferation. As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident in 2011, we will take the necessary steps to complete the final stages of the Chernobyl safety and stabilization projects, and we urge all entities to pursue the highest levels of nuclear safety, security and safeguards when developing new civil nuclear installations.
30. We face a new era of threats from non-state actors, particularly terrorists, who seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction and related technology and materials. The consequences of failing to prevent this could be severe. We reaffirm our commitment to work together for our shared security, including fulfilment of the commitments we made at the Washington Nuclear Security Summit, especially to work cooperatively to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years.
31. In this respect, we welcome the concrete achievements and measurable results of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, launched at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002, and we remain committed to completing priority projects in Russia. We recognize the continuing global threats before us, and we all recognize the importance of continuing our joint efforts as partners to address them in the years ahead. Toward that end, we ask our senior experts to evaluate the results of the Global Partnership to date, as a point of departure for developing options for programming and financing beyond 2012, focusing on nuclear and radiological security, bio security, scientist engagement and facilitation of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, as well as the potential participation of new countries in the initiative.
32. The adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 1929 reflects the concerns of the international community on the Iranian nuclear issue, and we call on all states to implement it fully. While recognizing Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program, we note that this right comes with international obligations that all states, including Iran, must comply with. We are profoundly concerned by Iran's continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent, contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions and the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors. We call upon Iran to heed the requirements of the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. Our goal is to persuade Iran's leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran's international obligations. We strongly support the ongoing efforts in this regard by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union High Representative, and we welcome their commitment to the resolution of all outstanding issues through negotiation. We also welcome and commend all diplomatic efforts in this regard, including those made recently by Brazil and Turkey on the specific issue of the Tehran Research Reactor.
33. Recalling the concerns we expressed at the 2009 L'Aquila Summit, we urge the Government of Iran to respect the rule of law and freedom of expression, as outlined in the international treaties to which Iran is a party.
34. We deplore the attack on March 26 that caused the sinking of the Republic of Korea's naval vessel, the Cheonan, resulting in tragic loss of 46 lives. Such an incident is a challenge to peace and security in the region and beyond. We express our deep sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families and to the people and Government of the Republic of Korea, and call for appropriate measures to be taken against those responsible for the attack in accordance with the UN Charter and all other relevant provisions of international law. The Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group, led by the Republic of Korea with the participation of foreign experts, concluded that the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan. We condemn, in this context, the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan. We demand that the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea refrain from committing any attacks or threatening hostilities against the Republic of Korea. We support the Republic of Korea in its efforts to seek accountability for the Cheonan incident, and we remain committed to cooperating closely with all international parties in the pursuit of regional peace and security.
35. We call on the international community to ensure the comprehensive enforcement of all existing UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea. At the same time, we express our gravest concern that the nuclear test and missile activities carried out by the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea have further generated increased tension in the region and beyond, and that there continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security. We reaffirm support for efforts to achieve a comprehensive resolution to this threat and to implement the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks. Recalling the importance of full and transparent implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, we strongly urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to act strictly in accordance with its nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as proliferation activities, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea does not, and cannot, have the status of a nuclear-weapon state in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We also urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to take prompt actions to address the concerns of the international community on humanitarian matters, including the abduction issue.
36. The Kabul Conference in July will be an important opportunity for the Government of Afghanistan to present its detailed plans and show tangible progress in implementing the commitments made in the January 2010 London Conference Communiqué, including measures to combat corruption, address illicit drug production and trafficking, improve human rights, improve provision of basic services and governance, make concrete progress to reinforce the formal justice system and expand the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to assume increasing responsibility for security within five years. To this end, we fully support the transition strategy adopted by International Security Assistance Force contributors in April, as well as the on-going efforts to establish an Afghan-led national reconciliation and reintegration process. In this respect, the June Peace Jirga was an important milestone. Clear steps by Afghanistan towards more credible, inclusive and transparent parliamentary elections in September will be an important step forward in the country's maturing democracy. We reaffirm our commitment to support Afghanistan in this process of transition and development.
37. We welcome and encourage Pakistan's ongoing efforts to root out violent extremists, especially in its border areas with Afghanistan. We underscore the need for a broad regional approach to countering violent extremism. It is essential that Pakistan be supported by the international community as it addresses its political, economic and social reforms. We welcome and encourage the recent steps taken by the Governments of Pakistan and India to advance their bilateral relationship, and urge all countries of the region to work together actively in the interests of regional peace and stability.
38. We are pleased that progress is being made, in association with multilateral donors, on two key projects under the G8 Afghanistan Pakistan Border Region Prosperity Initiative: a Peshawar-Jalalabad expressway and a feasibility study for a Peshawar-Jalalabad rail link. We are confident that these projects and others - realized with the efforts of the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan - will deliver tangible benefits to the Afghan and Pakistani people and help to foster regional stability.
39. We welcome the start of the proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel, and urge them both to create conditions conducive for direct talks, with the aim of the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with each other and their neighbours. We deeply regret the loss of life and the injuries suffered in the events off the coast of Gaza on May 31. We welcome the decision of the Israeli government to set up an independent public commission to investigate these events, which includes international participation, in the expectation that it will bring to light all the facts surrounding this tragic incident in line with the Statement of the President of the UN Security Council of June 1. We urge all parties to work together to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1860 and to ensure the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods and persons, to and from Gaza. The current arrangements are not sustainable and must be changed. We welcome the Israeli Cabinet's announcement of a new policy towards Gaza as a positive development. We urge full and effective implementation of this policy in order to address the needs of Gaza's population for humanitarian and commercial goods, civilian reconstruction and infrastructure, and legitimate economic activity as well as the legitimate security concerns of Israel that must continue to be safeguarded. We will continue to support the strengthening of Palestinian Authority institutions and the development of a viable Palestinian economy, and stand ready to provide further support for the economic, security and political development of the West Bank and Gaza in the context of a peace agreement once it is reached. We also call for progress in Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese relations, reiterating our firm commitment to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace solution in the Middle East. We call for the immediate release of the abducted Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
40. We urge the Government of Myanmar to take the steps necessary to allow for free and fair elections. Full and inclusive democratic participation is essential to this. We urge the Government to release without delay all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and engage the democratic opposition and representatives of ethnic groups in a substantive dialogue on the way forward to national reconciliation. We are also deeply concerned by the recent ethnic tensions in the Kyrgyz Republic resulting in death and injury to many, and appeal to all parties to show restraint. We urge the relevant parties to urgently resolve the conflict in Darfur and to pursue the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan, which is now entering a critical period. All Sudanese actors, and interested countries in the region and beyond, must do their utmost to preserve peace and stability regardless of the outcome of the referendum on the future status of southern Sudan. Recognizing the challenges faced by countries in the aftermath of natural disasters to provide security and basic services to civilians, we reaffirm our commitment to support Haiti and will work to strengthen existing international coordination mechanisms to improve the timeliness, effectiveness and coordination of the international response to such disasters and will continue to support the United Nations Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. To that end, we will convene a meeting of experts to consider what further steps we might take.
41. Conflict, crime, piracy and terrorism continue to threaten global stability, security and prosperity. We, the G8, are committed to helping partner states and regions to continue to build the civilian security capacities they need to deal with these vulnerabilities. G8 Leaders and African partners were joined by the Presidents of Colombia and Haiti and the Prime Minister of Jamaica to address security vulnerabilities such as terrorism, proliferation, drug trafficking, the flow of illicit funds and transnational organized crime. We therefore agreed to task our ministers to consult jointly with interested partners from Africa and the Americas, as well as other parties, and to consider additional steps that might be taken to address these security vulnerabilities. To this end, we commit to strengthening: the international availability of civilian experts to support rule of law and security institutions; the capacities of key littoral states and regional organizations for maritime security; and international peace operations. The scope of our on-going efforts is elaborated in Annex II.
42. We remain concerned about the continuing threat from terrorist groups, as well as their increasing presence in Yemen, Somalia and across the Sahel. Further, we are concerned about the threat of growing links between terrorists, other criminals and insurgents, and the increasing ties between drug trafficking organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa, as well as between those across Asia. Extensive concerted action among the G8 and across the international community has weakened the ability of terrorists to prepare and execute attacks, and of transnational organized crime groups to operate. However, we recognize the need to do more to counter crime and terrorism (including violent extremism and radicalization leading to violence, as well as recruitment), including through the strengthening of security institutions and governance institutions, by continued attention to combating the corruption that facilitates such transnational threats, and by addressing underlying political, social and economic factors in vulnerable countries. We emphasize that such actions must be based on the principles of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, which underpin our security. We are also concerned about cybercrime as a growing threat. We will deepen our work together to weaken terrorist and criminal networks, and have adopted a robust plan of action for this purpose. We have set out our views in a separate statement on countering terrorism.
43. Leaders welcomed the offer of the President of France to host the next Summit in France in 2011.