Saturday

13th Aug 2022

Opinion

Russia and the G8

At the beginning of 2006, Russia assumed the G8 Presidency. We understand very well that this requires serious work and implies a great deal of responsibility.

It is not the organisational activities alone that lie ahead. More importantly, we will need to discuss and jointly determine the priorities and substantive areas of work for this highly respected forum, which has served as a key mechanism for coordinating approaches to meeting the most significant challenges of world development for more than 30 years.

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We have suggested to our partners that we should focus on three serious and pressing issues: global energy security, combating infectious diseases, and education. These three priorities are oriented towards achieving an objective which we hope is clear to all our partners, namely improving the quality of life and living standards of the present and future generations.

The establishment of a reliable and comprehensive system of energy security is clearly one of the strategic goals for the G8 and the world community as a whole. Today, global energy is an important and true engine of social and economic progress. This is why it directly affects the well-being of billions of people around the globe.

A policy for the long term

During the Russian presidency, not only will we seek to develop fundamental approaches to meeting current challenges in this field but also outline our coordinated policy for the long term.

Today, the lack of stability in the hydrocarbon markets poses a real threat to global energy supply. In particular, the gap between supply and demand continues to widen.

The apparent increase in energy consumption in Asian countries is caused not only by market fluctuations but also by a host of other factors related to policy and security. In order to stabilize the situation in this field, coordinated activities of the entire world community are needed.

The new policy of the leading world countries should be based on the understanding that the globalisation of the energy sector makes energy security indivisible. Our common future in the area of energy means common responsibilities, risks and benefits.

A strategy for global energy security

In our view, it is especially important to develop a strategy for achieving global energy security. It should be based on a long-term, reliable and environmentally sustainable energy supply at prices affordable to both the exporting countries and the consumers.

In addition to reconciling the interests of stakeholders in the global energy interaction, we will have to identify practical measures aimed at ensuring sustainable access of the world economy to traditional sources of energy, as well as promoting energy-saving programmes and developing alternative energy sources.

A balanced and fair energy supply is undoubtedly a pillar of global security at present and in the years to come.

We ought to pass on to the future generations a world energy architecture that would help avoid conflicts and counterproductive competition for energy security. This is why it is essential to find common approaches to creating a solid and long-term energy base for our civilisation.

In this connection, Russia calls on the G8 countries and the international community to focus their efforts on developing innovative technologies. This could serve as an initial step in creating a technological basis for energy supply of mankind in the future, when the energy potential in its present form is exhausted.

Billions lack access to electricity

Global energy security will also benefit from an integrated approach to enhancing energy efficiency of the social and economic development.

The G8 made important progress towards elaborating it last year in Gleneagles, including, in particular, the adoption of the Plan of Action aimed at promoting innovation, energy saving and environmental protection.

We find it crucially important to engage non-G8 countries, especially fast-growing and industrialising economies, in participating in the G8 initiatives and, particularly, in implementing the document adopted at Gleneagles.

The way most people see it, energy security has mainly to do with the interests of industrially developed countries.

It should be kept in mind, however, that almost 2 billion people in today's world do not enjoy modern-day energy services, while many of them lack access to even electricity.

Their access to many benefits and advances of civilisation has been virtually blocked.

Needless to say, energy alone would not solve the poverty problem. At the same time, lack of energy resources throughout different regions significantly hinders economic growth while their unsustainable use may result in an ecological disaster on a global rather than local scale.

Lately, experts have been actively discussing ways of increasing energy use in developing countries through a more intensive development of non-conventional energy sources. And this is where assistance rendered by the G8 in developing and introducing alternative power facilities becomes ever so important.

Energy egoism

Generally speaking, all of us should recognise and admit that "energy egoism" in a modern and highly interdependent world is a road to nowhere.

Therefore Russia's attitude towards energy security remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief that energy redistribution guided wholly by the priorities of a small group of most developed countries does not serve the goals and purposes of global development.

We will strive to create an energy security system sensitive to the interests of the whole international community.

Basically all it takes is for the mankind to create a balanced potential in order to provide every state with sustainable energy supply, and international cooperation opens all avenues for that.

Along with the three priorities on the agenda of the Russian presidency mentioned above, the G8 will continue in 2006 its work on such key issues as the fight against international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The group [G8] will remain focused on the problems of development assistance as well as the prevention of environmental degradation and critical issues of the world economy, finance and trade. And certainly, as before, our efforts will remain focused on the settlement of regional conflicts, primarily in the Middle East and in Iraq, and on stabilising the situation in Afghanistan.

We fully realise that not a single presidency is capable of offering comprehensive solutions to the problems of the modern world being discussed by the G8.

At the same time, from summit to summit, the group is getting a better vision of these problems and strives to find the most workable approaches to their solution through its joint efforts.

Russia is ready to contribute actively to further progress in this direction. Continuity and evolution - these words are the motto of the Russian presidency that has commenced.

Vladimir Putin is president of the Russian Federation

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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