My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. The Statement is as follows:
“With your permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a Statement on the G8 Summit, which took place under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Fukuda between 7 and 9 July in Toyako, Japan. It was a summit that was unique not just for the range of issues discussed in three interlocking summits—the African outreach, the G8 plus 5 and the major economies summits—but also for the large number of countries—14—whose presidents or prime ministers took part.
“Let me first draw the House's attention to the unprecedented G8 statement on Zimbabwe. In the face of the deepening tragedy in Zimbabwe—the intimidation, the violation of human rights and the detention of political prisoners—the G8 made clear that we do not accept the legitimacy of the Mugabe Government and that the UN Secretary-General should now appoint a special envoy both to report on human rights and to support regional mediation efforts to bring about change. The G8 also called for the immediate resumption of humanitarian operations essential to prevent further suffering and loss of life, and we resolved that we would take further steps to take financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for the violence.
“As the House will know, we have followed this up with a UN Security Council resolution now being discussed in New York. We propose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe, including a ban on all supplies of any arms, weapons, ammunition and military equipment, and we list 14 named members of the Mugabe inner cabal against whom travel and financial sanctions should be imposed by the whole international community.
“We have now set in train work to identify in Africa, Asia, America and Europe, through a forensic assessment, both physical assets and bank accounts of these 14 people. The UN resolution also establishes a committee to monitor these sanctions. With worldwide sanctions and a worldwide arms embargo, our aim is that there be no hiding place and no safe haven for the criminal cabal that surrounds Mugabe. Now that the G8 has taken its decision, we propose that the United Nations puts the full weight of the international community against the actions of an illegitimate Government.
“At the heart of the summit's other considerations and conclusions were the triple shocks hurting the world economy: the doubling of oil prices; rising food prices; and, because of the credit crunch, the rising cost of money. They are three shocks that, it is now agreed, cannot be solved by traditional monetary means alone but require direct action that will tackle the sources of oil and food inflation and make for more stable commodity, agricultural and financial markets. The summit also reflected a world that is changing fast, with a consensus about the new economic power of Asia; that oil, commodity and food price rises represent global problems that require global solutions; that there is an economic as well as an environmental imperative to break our dependence upon oil; and that we should act in Africa and on international development for moral reasons, but also because developing countries hold the key to addressing our food shortages and will be the ones most affected by climate change.
“First, while, as the summit noted, there are many explanations for the doubling of oil prices—the scale of change is now greater than the oil shock of the 1970s—the basic challenge, which cannot be resolved by one country or group of countries alone, is that now and in the future oil demand exceeds oil supply.
“So while Governments are taking action domestically—Britain with special winter payments for old people, new help for low-income families and the current freeze in fuel duty—the G8 agreed that the global conditions for ensuring a more stable international energy market are as follows. First, expanding nuclear power, with the International Energy Agency suggesting that we will need a thousand new nuclear power stations over the next four decades; secondly, accelerating the expansion of renewables; thirdly, radical measures to improve energy efficiency; and, fourthly, co-operation between oil producers and oil consumers to ensure greater understanding of the balance between supply and demand and then new investment in all sources of energy.
“Britain reported that, for our part, we are following up changes to the North Sea licensing structure with a review of the current fiscal regime with the aim of increasing recovery from new and existing oil fields. In addition, we will be discussing with the President of Nigeria next week how the UK can work with the Nigerian authorities to address security problems in the Nigerian Delta which are costing 1 million barrels of oil a day. We are working with the Iraqi Government to build capacity in the Iraqi oil sector. We are also discussing with Gulf states and others how sovereign wealth funds and oil revenues can be recycled into wider energy investments.
“Global action to improve energy efficiency and reduce our dependence on oil will not only help reduce energy and fuel bills for households and industry but will help us fight the battle against climate change—essential to the future prosperity and security of the whole world.
“For the first time, the G8 agreed not just to consider but to adopt, as part of an international agreement, a long-term goal of a cut of at least 50 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. For the first time, we also agreed on the need to have interim goals and national plans to achieve them. So I welcome the fact that the major economies group, which includes China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea as well as the G8, agreed to continue to work together in the UN to achieve an international agreement on climate change next year; and that the major emerging economies have agreed to adopt appropriate mitigation actions with a view to reducing their emissions below business as usual.
“As a measure of our shared commitment to meet these challenging goals, the G8 also agreed to 25 energy efficiency recommendations from the International Energy Agency, including an agreement that each country will put in place car and consumer goods standards—standards that if implemented globally could cut global oil consumption by 15 per cent and energy-related carbon emissions by 20 per cent, equivalent to all the emissions of the USA and Japan combined.
“As I told the summit, these standards include Britain pressing in the European Union for an average fuel efficiency target of 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2020. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport is today publishing a consultation paper in support of this target. Britain will also work with countries in the EU and beyond on the scope for commercialising the production of electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicles.
“To make a reality of, and to monitor, higher energy efficiency standards, we will also set up a new G8 energy forum which will meet in the autumn and examine how we can globally adopt new standards and new technologies. This will feed into the next meeting of the consumer-producers dialogue that, following its first meeting in Jeddah, we will convene in London before the end of the year. We will seek to make permanent these initiatives by setting up an international partnership for energy efficiency co-operation as a high-level forum to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and greater energy efficiency.
“We also know that to adopt alternative energy sources, Africa and developing countries must have greater access to funds. So it has been a British initiative to create what are called the Climate Investment Funds at the World Bank. We agreed measures at the G8 which will now provide over $120 billion in public and private finance for alternative energy and other environmental investments: $117 billion through the existing clean energy investment framework and $6 billion of new funding through the new Climate Investment Funds—a huge new global investment in tackling climate change and in alternatives to fossil fuels.
“With rising food prices having an impact at home and abroad, particularly for the poorest, the need for co-ordinated global action is clear. So the G8 agreed to invest over $10 billion dollars not just to meet short-term humanitarian needs, including increases in food aid, but to improve food security and agricultural productivity over the longer term.
“One major element in reducing food prices, as well as generating wider benefits to the global economy, will be a successful outcome of the Doha trade round where lowering trade-distorting subsidies and import restrictions could increase global GDP by as much as €120 billion a year by 2015. The Doha trade round is primarily a development round that will benefit the poorest countries most, but if we are to break the year-long deadlock in negotiations, the upcoming WTO ministerial on 21 July will be critical: a make-or-break meeting about the trade deal.
“I discussed the importance of this with all participants of the summit, including President Bush and the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa and the Prime Minister of India. We agreed that the biggest signal we could send that the present challenges must not be an excuse for a renewed bout of protectionism was signing a world trade deal. I hope all sections of this House will agree that all countries should show the resolution to achieve the breakthrough we want and need. To support the WTO deal, the G8 also reiterated our commitment to investing $4 billion in Aid for Trade to help poor countries take advantage of the new trading opportunities.
“As part of this year of action on the millennium development goals, the G8 signed up to new action to meet the goals on health, and reaffirmed commitments made at Gleneagles to provide $25 billion in aid to Africa and $50 billion globally and to establish universal access to AIDS treatments by 2010. How the world achieves further major advances in alleviation of poverty, disease and illiteracy is the subject of the UN Millennium Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General for 25 September.
“My aim was to turn generalised commitments that were not time-specific into concrete action and delivery to address poverty, disease and illiteracy. We agreed that over the next five years we would deliver the commitment made at Heiligendamm of $60 billion to tackle infectious diseases and to strengthen health in Africa. Some other countries will provide additional resources for health systems.
“We also agreed to help fund, in 36 African countries, the World Health Organisation target of 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people—in total, an additional 1.5 million new doctors, nurses and health workers, including a substantial increase in the number of skilled midwives so that women no longer have to die unaided in child-birth.
“The G8 also committed to financing, by 2010, 100 million bed nets for the prevention of malaria, which could save 600,000 lives, and $1 billion of new funding for the education Fast Track Initiative will immediately help a further 10 million children go to school.
“During the summit, I had a number of key bilateral meetings with other leaders, including the new President of Russia, where we agreed on co-ordinated international action on Iran and the Middle East peace plan. I raised all the major issues between our two countries: our position on the Litvinenko case, the treatment of the British Council and the withdrawal of visas for BP employees.
“The G8 agreed that in a world of global financial flows it is essential that immediate action to tackle the impact of financial instability at home is accompanied by clearer standards for valuation, changes in the role and use of credit ratings, the better management of liquidity, and, more generally, concerted global action to reform the IMF. There was agreement that the IMF should become a better early warning system for the world economy and that the international institutions set up in the 1940s were in need of fundamental reform to ensure they are fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Further work will be done over the coming year to produce proposals for their reform and renewal.
“Just as on Zimbabwe where we have seen the growth of an international coalition for change, there is growing agreement on the need for detailed collaborative actions on energy, climate change, trade and international development. I commend this Statement to the House”.
My Lords, that concludes the Statement.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement. She deserves a medal for her endurance. It is clear from contemplating the menus published in the press that a good time was had by all and, after his strictures about food being wasted in our fridges, I hope that the Prime Minister took a doggy-bag with him. But there is a serious point in all this because we should thank the Japanese people for their exquisite courtesy and hospitality, and whose firm friendship we appreciate so much. Equally, however, I wonder whether it is tolerable in the present state of the world that any Government should feel the need to spend £283 million to enable a few selected political leaders to meet. Have we not drifted too far from the original intention of an informal gathering of world leaders to enable them to exchange ideas informally and away from the glare of events? Should we not perhaps go back to something like that? There are already enough gala events on the international merry-go-round with pre-cooked communiqués to justify far more informality.
Turning to some of the outcomes, I congratulate the Prime Minister on at long last getting Zimbabwe to the top of the G8 agenda. The communiqué says that the G8 does not now recognise the legitimacy of the Zimbabwe Government. Does that mean that the defeated presidential candidate, Mr Mugabe, will no longer be addressed as “President” by the UK Government? There is talk of an arms embargo, but is not even that a little late after Mr Mugabe’s arsenal, despite the stand of South African trade unionists, was replenished with Chinese arms? There is also some talk of travel restrictions. If she is able to, can the noble Baroness expand on what these will mean? How many members of the murderous Mugabe clique will now be targeted, and what will be done about the weakness of the UN in allowing Mr Mugabe to attend UN gatherings? Can we be assured that there will be no repeat of the recent shaming events at the Food and Agricultural Organisation conference in Rome? Will there be a UN commission to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, because talk is poor medicine for that country’s woes? Another southern African country cries for action, and it has waited too long for justice.
On Africa more widely, I ask about the vital issue of access to HIV and AIDS treatment. Last year, when Mr Blair was Prime Minister, he said that the G8 had reiterated,
“its commitment to delivering universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010”.—[Official Report, Commons, 11/6/07; col. 514.]
Yet now, with just two years to go, the G8 says that it is merely “working towards the goal” of universal access. Has this vital goal been diluted, because it does not sound to me like a very concrete proposal? No interim targets have been set in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and if one looks at the statements on climate change, one sees that the details are, as is often the case with Mr Brown, not as impressive as the headlines. The emissions target is for “global emissions”, not G8 emissions, and it is not clear what the figure for developed countries will be. The target is 42 years away and there are no clear interim targets. The declaration issued by the wider group of economies on Wednesday includes no specific figures at all, so progress since last year has been painfully slow. Did the Prime Minister take the opportunity to explain his policy on motoring, and whether he has yet been able to retract his assurances that the majority of drivers in the United Kingdom would be unaffected by the increase in vehicle excise duty?
On the world economy, I welcome a reassertion of the importance of globalisation and the breaking down of trade barriers. A renewed commitment is given to the Doha negotiations, but what specific progress can we expect, and when? Is not the unedifying public spat between President Sarkozy and Commissioner Mandelson a matter of some concern? It is worrying if a representative of one of the prime protectionist bodies in world trade is taken to task for being too open. Did the Prime Minister have a bilateral discussion with the President of France to take this up with him, and did he tell him to lay off his friend the Commissioner?
What conclusions were drawn on oil prices, given the Prime Minister’s discussions with the Russian President, and on food prices? Do the Government have a view on oil prices? Do they now believe that they will go up or down over the next quarter, and what steps have been taken to reduce food prices? Do the Government believe that there will be a reduction in the year ahead? Do not the Government now regret their negotiating error in giving up Britain’s EU rebate before securing reform of the protectionist CAP?
France and the United States are cutting taxes to boost people’s living standards, but Britain has no such freedom. Thanks to the Government’s policies we now have the biggest budget deficit not only of G8 countries but of all the 55 large economies except Hungary, Egypt and Pakistan. I doubt that the Prime Minister gave the G8 leaders a lecture over the sushi about no more boom and bust.
Finally, the G8 expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear non-compliance and called on the Iranian Government to act in a more responsible and constructive manner, particularly in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. How do the Government now assess the responsibility and constructiveness of the salvos of long-range missiles fired off by Iran in the aftermath of the G8? In view of its threats to respond against coalition forces in the event of something that none of us wants to see—a strike by a foreign power on Iranian nuclear facilities—how do the Government assess any potential threat in the coming months?
At the summit there was unquestionably a lot of talk, which has led to a lot of conclusions. It remains to be seen whether any of this will result in action or benefit to the world, or whether any good at all will come out of it.
My Lords, I will not follow the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, down the path of making cheap remarks about the sushi or the menu and, despite urging from the Benches behind me, I would not dream of making a Heathcliff joke in front of Cathy. But I can speak from personal experience on what the noble Lord said in that I was a spear carrier at the first G6 summit at Rambouillet and the subsequent summits in the 1970s. I remember that Mrs Thatcher—now the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher—always followed them up by saying that they were talking shops and a waste of time. So, in a way, nothing much has changed, although we all need to take stock.
When one looks at the immediate post-war world and how the giants at that time responded to the massive problems facing them with such courage, vision and imagination, and even in the 1970s when the oil shock was upon us, one sees that the major economies seemed to have a clear cohesion and sense of purpose. Watching the events in Japan from afar, there was a worry of rabbits caught in headlights and the need for a sense of urgency. It underlines again the problem of whether the machineries set up in the immediate post-war world are now adequate for the challenges, and whether they are sufficient to meet those challenges to allow the G8, like Topsy, to keep on growing and growing. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, is right: those first meetings genuinely were small gatherings—with the Heads of Government and one other sitting around the table talking about the issues—and all the better for it. The meetings are now mega-jamborees that seem to have a momentum all of their own.
One wonders whether most of the discussions about individual agenda items have the right people there—for example, whether climate change needs Brazil, China and India; whether oil prices need the Saudis; whether Africa needs the South Africans and the Nigerians. Somewhere between the machinery created in the immediate post-war world and the G8, there is an urgent need for reform, but not much sign that that urgency is being acted on. I see the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, in his place; I hope that I am prompting him to intervene later.
Obviously we welcome the statement on Zimbabwe, but I again echo the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde: people want to see real and specific action against those named individuals. The City of London has a role to play, as does the EU. It is an affront to see this illegal regime attending international meetings. It is also time for some really candid talk with South Africa about the damage that Zimbabwe is doing to the whole region.
The bilateral talks with Russia were interesting. There is a lot of machismo in the British press about who wins and who loses in such discussions, but I always recall an old mentor I had in the Foreign Office, Sir Frank Roberts, who used to say that with the Russians you are engaged on all issues at all levels at all times. That is still very good advice even with the new Russia.
I again have to echo the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, who asked about the Doha round. It is a bit wrong that our gallant new hero—as we heard from all parts of the House at Question Time—Commissioner Mandelson, should be going into battle with a feeling that his sword may have been blunted by the President of the EU for the time being. We need that enthusiasm for the Doha round if it is to be carried through.
Of course we welcome the various and many initiatives listed. For me, they underline some of the debates we had on the Lisbon treaty. Surely this report underlines the fact, if that were needed, that the EU should get on as quickly as possible with the real issues facing the citizens of Europe, rather than being paralysed by constitutional navel-gazing. I hope the Minister will assure us on that.
I am a little worried about the second to last paragraph in the Statement—that the IMF will be a better early-warning system for the world economy. I have always liked the definition that economists are men trained to predict the past. There is certainly a need for a better early-warning system, but simply to rely on the IMF goes back to the question in my original point about whether the international institutions set up in the 1940s are in need of fundamental reform, and what priority the Government will give to that reform.
My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords for the advice they have given me throughout their comments. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, that on behalf of this Government we should thank the Japanese Prime Minister for his hospitality. Whatever may have been written in the press, it is important to recognise the effort that nations put in to ensure that these occasions achieve the best that they can.
The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, questioned the cost of such events, but both noble Lords questioned their relevance. My view is that we need all the different kinds of events: the informal bilaterals, the telephone conversations, the informal talks among world leaders in the margins of meetings, and the formal sessions. Speaking more humbly, I have not even been a spear carrier at these events but I have, as noble Lords know, attended the Peru summit on behalf of the Prime Minister and the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council. There was never a meeting that I went to, and sometimes I went tired and reluctant, where I did not benefit from the ability to talk face to face to someone—often a meeting that took place spontaneously, but which achieved a great deal. We have to make sure that the context in which world leaders are able to discuss issues together is an important one. Events in individual nations prevent leaders, Ministers and politicians doing many things, and without these scheduled meetings it would be much more difficult. I am sure that noble Lords opposite, some of whom played eminent roles when they were in government, will well remember the difficulties of trying to find the time to have this kind of discussion and debate. The point is well made, none the less, that one always has to look at these events in that context.
Institutional reform is one of the issues that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have said is important. The IMF needs to become that early-warning device. I know that that area was discussed, and it is something the Prime Minister feels strongly that we need to consider.
I am grateful for the congratulations that were given on getting Zimbabwe to the top of the G8 agenda. We await what will happen in New York. In the Statement I described 14 named people who are part of that inner cabal of the Mugabe “Government”, as it were, on whom we are looking to impose travel and financial sanctions. That will be done, as I said, through a forensic assessment of these people’s bank accounts and so on.
I say to the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that the Prime Minister and the other G8 leaders had a frank discussion with President Mbeke at the G8 Africa Outreach session on the first day of the summit. I am sure that many of the points that have been raised today, at Question Time and elsewhere, were raised with President Mbeke. We understand the position that noble Lords hold on that.
With regard to access to HIV treatment, the deadline is 2010, which is not very far away. The tenor of what I was trying to put across in the Statement was that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was keen to turn dates and rather nebulous commitments into action plans that gave not only interim goals, where that was appropriate, but also the action plans to support them from each country. He will continue to push for that.
We cannot deal with climate change without working together with all the major global economies. That is being done partly through the Gleneagles dialogue and the Major Economies Meeting. It is important for the G8 to act as a group but within the context of recognising the importance of working together. All these international organisations—the European Union, the G8 and the UN—have a part to play in trying to keep the pressure on ourselves and each other, as well as in finding ways to implement the changes that will be needed.
With regard to the Doha round, my money is on Commissioner Mandelson. It is important that we continue to put pressure on trying to reach agreement. Without repeating everything I said in the Statement, I hope noble Lords will be assured of our commitment to trying to find a solution to break the deadlock that has been with us for some considerable time.
There was not a formal bilateral between the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy, but they discussed trade in the margins. The French President has said that he is committed to successful World Trade Organisation talks. We now have to look to what can be achieved in the WTO, but in the firm knowledge that this country will be pushing hard to ensure that we reach the best possible agreement.
With regard to the link between food production, climate change and poverty, it is important that we recognise that the poorest who are hit hardest by climate change are often hit hardest when they are trying to sustain food crops. We need to consider what food the world has to grow in order to feed all our people. It is important that the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food, which is not yet in detail but has set itself the vision to bring everyone together to work out precisely how we do that, is an important step in so doing.
We continue to impress on the Iranian Government the need for transparency in all its nuclear activities. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord McNally, on the importance of the continuing dialogue with Russia. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Russian President was important. The discussion was helpful, in that everything that could be raised was raised, but I agree that there need to be ongoing dialogues.
My Lords, how can we be assured that the monitoring committee responsible for monitoring the financial sanctions in the case of Rhodesia will be any more effective than the monitoring committee that was responsible for monitoring sanctions against Iraq? That turned out to be utterly useless, as proven in the report of the Volcker commission on the huge and widespread abuse of the sanctions regime?
My Lords, on monitoring sanctions, it will be important to pick up what my noble friend has said and look at what has been successful in the past. I do not pretend to have detailed knowledge of which of the sanctions regimes has been the most successful, but it will be very important to make sure that this is an effective method.
My Lords, the Leader of the House will recall that the Prime Minister’s Statement, which she kindly repeated, explicitly said that the accord on cutting back carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 was part of an international agreement. Can she confirm, therefore, that in the absence of such an agreement covering all the major emitters which would have to agree drastic mandatory and enforceable cutbacks of their carbon emissions—which so far China and India have understandably and, in my judgment, quite rightly declined to do—there can be no question of the Government requiring this country to cut back drastically on its carbon emissions, which would cause great damage to our economy, to no conceivable purpose?
My Lords, the noble Lord takes a different view from me on the subject and I hesitate to join him in debate at this point. It is important to ensure that in everything we do to protect the environment, we are mindful of our economic needs and our desire to continue strong economic growth. It has always been our view that these desires are not incompatible; the question is to make sure that everything is done efficiently and effectively, not least because of the economic opportunities for the development of alternatives and for renewables.
My Lords, will the Leader of the House say a few words about views on the size of this gathering? I refer to the number of countries represented at the meeting, not the number of people who attend, to which the noble Lord, Lord McNally referred. Has not the time come to look again at the limitation to the eight countries which currently go to these meetings? When they were set up in the 1970s, the countries which went represented a very large proportion of the world’s economic activity. Doing the same sums now shows that the figure is 15 per cent or 20 per cent lower, and it is going south all the time. Has not the moment come to think about bringing in countries such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa to this gathering? I am not talking about them coming for just a day or half a day, being politely received, and then going away and saying that they have nothing to do with the conclusions. Since the subjects that are being discussed are subjects to which the agreement of these countries is absolutely necessary, should not they be built into the whole process of preparation? How do we reach conclusions on climate change if we have half an hour with the Chinese President, who then goes away and says that he does not want anything to do with it? That surely demonstrates that this is not working very well.
On Zimbabwe, will the noble Baroness confirm that if there is a mandatory resolution in the Security Council, which I hope very much there will be in the near future, and President Mugabe is one of those whose travel is interdicted, it will override the arrangements which previously allowed him to abuse the generosity of the UN system and come to meetings from which it would have been much better if he had stayed away?
My Lords, on the second question, the noble Lord is far better informed on these matters than I am. However, that is certainly my understanding of the position, if we are fortunate enough to achieve what we want at the UN.
In terms of the G8, I am well aware that there are always discussions about whether the right players are in the room at any debate. There are other countries which are relevant and important when it comes to any of the issues debated at the G8. When any group of countries comes together that tension always exists. That is the case even within the European Union. When its 27 nations are discussing, for example, migration, countries on the border of the European Union have just as much input and are relevant. We should accept the limitations of the groupings that we have. Yes, we should keep them under review—I do not have any information as to whether any proposal to review has been made—but I agree with the noble Lord that it is important to know who else needs to be in the room when those big decisions are made and with whom we need to have dialogue.
My Lords, the main achievement of the G8 summits during the past few years has been to try to secure the best possible dialogue on and understanding of some of the global issues that face the nations involved. I talked about some of them in the Statement, be it climate change, the forces that are disturbing economies around the world and the action that needs to be taken. Achievement comes in two parts: the first is decisions that are made and then implemented—we have mentioned in the Statement moving forward on a number of practical issues, whether it is nets for mosquitoes that will save 600,000 lives or longer-term issues that could make a difference, such as carbon emissions. The second is the fact that the countries come together to continue that dialogue and make headway on some of the bigger issues. It is very rare on the international stage for one to be able to point to a moment of, or one thing that came out of, a particular summit, but when we look back we see that the progress made on a number of issues has been incredibly important.
My Lords, the emphasis given in the Statement to health workers in Africa and the need to increase their numbers significantly is extremely important. Health workers need training and education before they can work. As the noble Baroness the Lord President will know, the United Kingdom has an unrivalled track record in medical education and in education of other health workers internationally, particularly in the 37 Commonwealth countries in sub-Saharan Africa. There is an opportunity here for the UK to do something very positive and practical in supporting the training and education of those health workers. Will the Government ensure that the relevant departments of health, international development and universities mobilise the expertise and good will that exists to support the education and training that are needed during the next few years to deliver on this promise?
My Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord’s expertise in this matter. The UK Government have sought to try to tackle it, first, by being very practical—the practical propositions that the noble Lord puts forward are very important—and, secondly, by getting government departments to collaborate so that it is not just the Department for International Development trying to tackle these issues. We have sought to build on the opportunities which these issues afford the UK—for example, as the noble Lord has said, through the university system—and on our ability to take our expertise outside. I will certainly feed in the practical suggestion of the noble Lord. It will surprise me if we have not thought that it is a way in which we can help.
My Lords, further to the question of the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, and since the Statement takes global warming for granted yet again, perhaps I may ask a question which I have asked previously but which has always been treated with something approaching disdain. Do the Government have a plan B if it turns out that any recent warming of the planet was caused almost entirely by the activity of the sun and very little, if at all, by human CO2 emissions? To gauge how seriously the Government may or may not be taking this new scientific theory, supported by a large and growing number of climate scientists, perhaps I may ask whether they have read the regular articles of the redoubtable Mr Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph, which have given some of the theory’s detail? If they have not, will they undertake to do so and meet Mr Booker and his colleagues as appropriate? Of course, I appreciate that fossil fuels are finite and that energy conservation and diversification are in any case good for the soul, but surely policy should change if the planet is cooling down and if humanity is not responsible either way. Could we not at least drop the misguided wind power initiative, about which Mr Booker has also written persuasively? Surely things should change in the Government’s Statement and policy if, as even some of the global warmists admit, the planet is likely to cool for at least the next 12 years.
My Lords, I have not read the redoubtable Mr Booker and cannot say that I have much inclination to do so at the moment, as I have rather a lot on. However, to answer the noble Lord’s point in two ways, first, whatever the situation, helping people to insulate their homes so that their fuel bills fall is a good thing. Secondly, if we have what we currently have—rising oil prices—it is absolutely sensible to consider diversifying the way in which we get our energy.
My Lords, like so many other noble Lords, I express extreme satisfaction at the fact that the situation in Zimbabwe was given such primacy at the summit and congratulate the leadership shown by the Prime Minister in that regard. However, despite the strongest international condemnation, the situation still remains that de facto Mugabe exercises absolute dictatorial and tyrannical control in that country. Has the time not now come for the United Kingdom to press for a cutting off of foreign exchange that ultimately will bring this regime down and also, indeed, bring the indictment of Mugabe and others of his murderous gang before the bar of international justice? What do the Government estimate are the prospects of such an initiative succeeding in the Security Council and the General Assembly?
My Lords, I hesitate to pretend that I have the expertise to give a full assessment of what could happen at the UN. I am grateful to the noble Lord for his comments on the Prime Minister’s leadership, with which I concur completely. Within the Statement, we have tried to set out the road that we are going down in the support from the G8, which is now translated to the UN. Noble Lords have discussed with great knowledge and expertise on many occasions the issues in Zimbabwe. I sense and understand the frustration that we all share that we have not made the progress that we would like to make yet. However, all noble Lords will agree that there is no doubt of this Prime Minister’s commitment to continuing to find a way of dealing with this.
My Lords, most of us would endorse the sentiments of the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, with regard to the handling of the Zimbabwe issue. On a narrower aspect of its effectiveness, 14 is a surprisingly small number of people. I presume that it cannot include the dependants and spouses of the people listed. It has been suggested that most of them will long ago have transferred most of their wealth to their spouses and dependants, who are freely spending it abroad on their behalf and on their own benefits. Can the proscription, if that is the word, be extended to them? Otherwise, it will not be effective.
My Lords, I believe that it is extended to them. As the noble Lord will see in the Statement, when he has the chance to look at it, we describe the forensic work that will go on to try to track bank accounts and so on, precisely to deal with the point that he has rightly raised. In fact, I have just been told that the provision applies just to the individuals, so I apologise for what I have just said because I had understood that it was extended to the families, too. But the work that will go on in tracking into which bank accounts the money has gone, which is described as forensic in the Statement, will be essential to tackle the point that the noble Lord has made.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement and for letting us know about the proposal from the G8 to invest $10 billion on improving food security and agricultural productivity. Could she tell the House whether there is a practical programme attached to spending that money and what form it would take? It is all very well for us to say that a successful Doha round will reduce food prices—it might do so in Europe—but for the countries that will benefit from increased trade, it will increase food prices for a large part of the world.
My Lords, as I indicated in the Statement, the $10 billion package is meant both to meet the short-term humanitarian needs of which noble Lords will be fully aware and to improve security and output. That will be done through a new partnership which will come together to co-ordinate all of those with a stake in the food crisis, whether they be the consumer or producer.
With the $10 billion, we shall start by doubling agricultural productivity in Africa over the next few years. That will be important, because it will enable us to use this money to introduce new technologies.
My Lords, I apologise for bowling the noble Baroness a ball which does not fall within her department’s remit. If she does not have time to read the work of Mr Booker, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, could do so—or one of his officials—and meet Mr Booker as appropriate.