The White House
President George W. Bush
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President Bush hosted the 30th G8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia from June 8-10, 2004. The United States assumed the Presidency of the G8 from France at the beginning of 2004. President Bush, Chairman of the 2004 G8 Summit, met with the G8 Leaders in the informal and relaxed setting of Sea Island, Georgia.

The G8 Summit brings together the Leaders of the world's major industrial democracies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union also attends the G8 Summit, represented by the President of the European Commission and the Leader of the country holding the Presidency of the European Council. At previous Summits, Leaders have discussed a wide range of international economic, political, and security issues.

The G8 began with a 1975 Summit in France of six countries ( France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States). Canada joined the group at the San Juan Summit of 1976, and the European Community began participation at the London Summit of 1977. Starting with the 1994 Naples Summit, Russia attended the political sessions and at the 1998 Birmingham Summit, Russia began participating in all sessions.

The Presidency of the G8, and responsibility of hosting the G8 Summit, rotates each year. Italy hosted the G8 Summit in Genoa in 2001, Canada hosted in Kananaskis in 2002, and France hosted in Evian in 2003. The United Kingdom will host the G8 Summit in 2005 and Russia will host in 2006.

Sea Island is located on the southern portion of the Georgia coastline, 80 miles from Savannah, Georgia. Previously, the United States hosted G8 Summits in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico (1976), Williamsburg, Virginia (1983), Houston, Texas (1990) and Denver, Colorado (1997).


President Bush led the G-8 Leaders in endorsing a series of initiatives to address some of the most pressing challenges facing developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. Specifically, the G-8 committed to:

  • Launch a G-8 Action Plan on Expanding Global Capability for Peace Support Operations to train 75,000 peacekeepers over 5 years;
  • Establish a Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise to accelerate HIV vaccine development;
  • Launch an initiative to End the Cycle of Famine in the Horn of Africa and help 5 million food insecure people attain food security by 2009;
  • Ensure full funding for the final stage of the Polio Eradication Initiative;
  • Fully implement the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, work to extend it through 2006.

President Bush led the G-8 in a meeting with African Leaders from Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. Their discussion focused on the challenges faced by Africa, including promoting private sector-led growth, combating HIV/AIDS and poverty. President Bush is leading global efforts to meet those challenges through his $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, of which South Africa and Uganda are focus countries, and the Millennium Challenge Account, for which Senegal and Ghana recently qualified.

Peacekeeping: The G-8 Leaders endorsed a G-8 Action Plan on Expanding Global Capability for Peace Support Operations, with a particular focus on Africa. The G-8 Leaders committed to:

  • Train and equip 75,000 troops by 2010 to increase global capacity to conduct peace support operations with a focus on Africa;
  • Create a "clearinghouse" function to exchange information and coordinate G-8 efforts to enhance peace operations training and exercises in Africa;
  • Develop a transportation and logistics support arrangement to help provide transportation for deploying peacekeepers and logistics support to sustain units in the field; and
  • Establish a Gendarme (Constabulary) Center of Excellence in Italy to increase capabilities and interoperability of gendarme forces for peace support operations and support other existing centers dedicated to that purpose. President Bush has proposed a program that would provide approximately $660 million over the next five years to increase U.S. funding for peace support operations, including those established under this initiative.

HIV/AIDS: President Bush is leading the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and his $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will help millions affected by the disease. President Bush today secured G-8 endorsement of the establishment of a Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a virtual consortium to accelerate HIV vaccine development by enhancing coordination, information sharing, and collaboration globally. The Enterprise will develop a strategic plan to:

  • Prioritize the scientific challenges to be addressed;
  • Coordinate product development efforts; and
  • Help align and channel existing resources to the needs at hand.

The United States will host later this year a meeting of Enterprise participants.

President Bush announced plans to establish a second HIV Vaccine Research and Development Center, in addition to the one at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The United States is already investing $488 million in HIV vaccine development in FY2004, and has requested $533 million in FY2005. President Bush urged his G-8 counterparts and other donors to increase their commitment.

Famine: The United States is the world's leader in food aid, having provided more than $1.4 billion in emergency aid and 56 percent of all contributions to the U.N.'s World Food Program in 2003. President Bush is determined to do more. At Sea Island, the G-8 agreed today to launch a new initiative on Ending the Cycle of Famine in the Horn of Africa to:

  • Assist Ethiopia to attain food security for 5 million chronically insecure people by 2009;
  • Improve emergency assessment; and
  • Raise agricultural productivity.

Polio: The United States is the world's leading supporter of polio eradication efforts, contributing more than $1 billion since the launch of the Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Today, President Bush and the other G-8 Leaders committed to take all necessary steps to eradicate polio by 2005. To that end, the G-8 Leaders announced that they had closed the 2004 funding shortfall for the Polio Eradication Initiative and committed to close the 2005 funding shortfall by their next Summit.

HIPC: The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) has to date provided $31 billion in debt reduction to 27 countries pursuing economic reform programs, 23 of them in Africa. The G-8 Leaders committed to fully implementing the HIPC initiative and to supporting debt sustainability in the poorest countries through debt relief and grant financing. The Leaders asked their Finance Ministers to:

  • Work with other donors and the international financial institutions to extend the sunset date of the HIPC initiative until December 31, 2006, and to provide the necessary financing for completion of the initiative, including topping up where appropriate;
  • Consider additional measures that can further help the poorest countries address the sustainability of their debt.

The G-8 Leaders asked for a progress report on these efforts by the end of the year.

Jim Wilkinson
Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications

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