German NGO Forum Environment and Development
Speech at 'Delivering the 2006 G8 Agenda' final international NGO conference
For us in Germany it would be not too easy to meet all these high expectations that have been raised you have done here. I have listened closely to what all the speakers during the first session have proposed and of course, we’ll have to think hard about it, about how to include all your suggestions for the civil process of G8 2007.
I work for the German NGO Forum Environment and Development, I work on NGO - G8 relations there and I also coordinate something called G8 NG0 Platform. Now I would want to take the discussion to a different level because I think we’ll need to think about how to include all these issues, what we are going to do to get sure they will be heard.
Now I plan to give you an overview of we planned until now and I also will try to be frank about where we see our difficulties and the international community would help us. First of all, to make a little bit clear to you, in Germany there are a lot of very different unions and movements and groups of civil society, NGOs unions etc. We try to work together and to unit our efforts for the G8 summit that is going to take place in June, 2007 in Heiligendamme. And I’ll give you a short overview that we have done and what we have planned before the summit.
First of all, there will be a very important social Forum in Nairobi. It will take place from January 20th to 25th The unique nature of this Forum is that for the first time it’s being held in Africa. And for German NGOs it is very important to include the voice of the South, the African voice, the African ideas concerning G8. It would be at least 4 conferences and events on G8 at this Social Forum in Nairobi. A first high-level conference will take place in January, 21st. And it will concern to what the poorest countries expect of G8. We’ll have of course the representatives of African countries but not only. We’ll also have those representing India, Brazil etc. We’ll also have hopefully the German development Minister there and also somebody speaking for the German association of development NGOs. We’ll take into account the voices of the global South and we’ll also have a planned workshop on the preparation of the G8 activities and for alternative summit which will take place in Rostok in June, 2007. We’ll also have another panel discussion on the question of legitimacy of the G8.
So, the idea is to gathering voices, gathering the positions of African countries, of international society, as well. In April, 26, there will be a Sherpa meeting in Bonn We’ll also have a Sherpa stake-holder meeting. But it is not tightly clear yet what form this meeting will take. Will it be a plenary meeting, a small plenary meeting together with a few NGO representatives, We are still working on it. And the idea was to get some ideas, recommendations of the civil society. One more question is how we can involve the international civil society, there were some suggestions at the today’s sessions. It is not yet very clear for us how to do it, so we’ll appreciate very much your recommendations.
Now I want to present you what is going to happen around the G8 in Germany. The thing you need to know it is that not only NGOs are preparing things – it is a movement of tiny political groups. Some of them are rather radical and they plan some street actions. I’m not for or against it, I just want to show you a panorama of what is going to take place. Some activities will begin in May, 29, before the G8 meeting, because we have a problem of accommodating a huge mass of people. In June, 2, we plan to do a big international rally. We don’t know yet how many people will take part in it but we know there will be several thousand policemen. On Sunday the day after the international rally we [plan to organize a satellite alternative summit. We were told that maybe some people will come only for the rally because it’s a week-end. In June 3 and 4 we’ll also have something called international action. These two days will be concerned to important international issues. The 3rd of June, Sunday, we’ll discuss the global agriculture issues and the 4th, Monday, we’ll discuss anti-racism and migration issues.
On Tuesday we’ll see the start of an alternative summit. It will take place in Rostock, 15 km from Heiligendamme. On Wednesday it is a start of the official G8. There will be also some church activities. On Wednesday the whole day is for official G8 summit – there will be working groups, consultations etc. On Thursday it will be a main day of the summit and we’ll also see the end of the alternative meeting and there also will be another rally or a march. On Thursday there also will be a huge concert. The idea is to have music and messages there so it wouldn’t be only a concert. The main idea is to have issues on poverty and Africa.
On Friday there will be a last rally maybe. It is also the last day of the official summit. And the same day there will also be a protestant Church convention in Cologne. This is also a huge thing in Germany. There will be some 200.000 people and what we are going to do is to have some links between the Church Convention and the G8 summit, a direct video-link.
All the information you’ll need is available at www.G8-gårmany.info