Government and Politics


What is the G-8?

It is the Group of Eight, an annual meeting of the world’s leading industrial democracies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as the Group of Six, with a 1975 conference in France, where representatives of six nations (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) met to discuss international economic and political issues. The goal of the meeting was to shore up cooperation on matters of concern to the member nations. Canada joined the group in 1976 and Russia in 1994 (though the nation did not participate fully in the sessions until 1998). Hosting responsibilities rotate among the eight member countries. In 2004 the United States hosted the 30th meeting, on an island off the coast of Georgia. Among the agenda items were the training of international peacekeepers, setting up a global initiative to develop a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, and developing a plan to end famine in the Horn of Africa (easternmost Africa, including Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti) by 2009. The leaders and representatives of non-G-8 countries were invited to participate in discussions relevant to them.


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