Leaders of 7 of the world's most powerful nations and Russia, will focus their attention on the environment and the poorest countries in the world as they prepare for the G8 summit in Scotland. In Washington, US President George Bush outlined an ambitious plan to lift African countries out of poverty and urged other countries to follow suit.
The attention of the world will be drawn to this normally quiet golf course about an hour away from Glasgow. But instead of golf, climate change and Africa will dominate the agenda as leaders of the top industrialized nations gather for 2 days at Gleneagles in Scotland for the G-8 Summit meeting. US President George Bush is vowing to double US aid to the poorest countries in Africa. Among his initiatives, a 1.2 billion dollar pledge to reduce the number of deaths from malaria, which claimed one million lives last year.
President Bush said, "I will urge developed countries and private foundations to join in a broad, aggressive campaign to cut the mortality rate for malaria across Africa in half. And our nation is prepared to lead."
The malaria initiative will seek to eradicate the disease, first in Tanzania, Uganda and Angola, followed by at least 4 more countries in 2007 and 5 more countries by 2008.
President Bush says a healthy and prosperous African continent serves the greater interests of the world but he warns that financial aid and a 40 billion dollar debt cancellation plan for 18 of the world's poorest countries - are not blank checks.
President Bush said, "Overcoming extreme poverty requires partnerships, not paternalism. Economic development is not something we do for countries, it is something they achieve with us. Their leaders by definition, must play the main role as agents of reform and progress, instead of passive recipients of money."
There is wide agreement from other G8 nations including Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia on the need to reduce extreme poverty, but general agreement on global warming, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair says is the most serious threat facing the globe may be harder to reach.
The US remains at odds with other G8 nations who believe the world is getting warmer. President Bush restated his position saying the long-term solution to environmental challenges is rapid and sustainable growth. US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley explains: "For the President, there is an inter-related set of challenges. There is pollution, there is climate change, there is poverty alleviation
and we need a strategy that allows us to do both because we cannot consign large numbers of people in this world to poverty in the name of the environment."
The United States is currently the worlds largest producer of green house gases and many G-8 leaders say there can be no solution to global warming without the involvement of the Unites States.