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2016年5月27日 (金)

持続する世界 G7の決意が問われる

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 26
EDITORIAL: Are G-7 leaders still up to task of making world a better place?
(社説)持続する世界 G7の決意が問われる

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations gathering for the Ise-Shima Summit have a broad range of topics on their agenda that are not limited to short-term questions like how to respond to the weakening of the global economy.

The ultimate question confronting them is devising ways to overcome widespread famine and poverty in the world to create a global community where people everywhere can live in peace and quiet and pass this legacy to future generations.

The United Nations has adopted a set of goals to end poverty and ensure a sustainable future for the human race by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were unanimously adopted by the member countries during a U.N. summit last September. This marks the first year to start trying to achieve those goals.

This will require economic growth, technological innovation and infrastructure development. It is also crucial to redress economic disparities, realize gender equality, promote public health and welfare, expand and upgrade education and respond to climate change. The SDGs include 169 specific targets in 17 areas.

Given the wide scope of the goals involved, this ambitious initiative could simply fizzle out.

It requires united efforts among all countries, from major economic powers to developing countries and poorest nations. The agenda will test the international community’s commitment and ability to take the necessary actions.

In particular, the G-7 nations, which led international development with their economic might, will have to play the central role in the quest.

Solving serious global problems created by market capitalism, such as inequality and decay, will help ensure stable economic growth.

The G-7 leaders are expected to address these development goals, focusing on targets related to public health and women. Japan, which is hosting the summit, has set up a government task force to support the efforts to accomplish these goals and decided to provide funds for measures to promote stability in the Middle East and public health in the world.

It is vital to make steady, long-term efforts to achieve the targets under specific plans.

The G-7 nations should announce their solid commitment to the agenda, develop plausible plans to raise the necessary funds and take actions according to the plans.

It would be desirable if the G-7 nations steadily increased their official development assistance. But all these nations are facing a fiscal crunch.

Germany and France have long proposed the introduction of a financial transaction tax, a low-rate levy imposed on a wide range of financial transactions like share sales. But the proposal has been put on ice due partly to economic stagnation in Europe.

The efforts to raise funds for the U.N. initiative should first be focused on cracking down on tax avoidance by multinationals and rich people around the world.

This approach would help narrow income gaps and at the same time secure money needed to achieve the development goals.

From this point of view, the G-7 needs to tackle the problem of tax havens used by people and companies all over the world to evade or reduce their tax payments in response to revelations in the Panama Papers.

Even if the development of specific measures to deal with this problem may be left to entities like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the G-7 should still take the leadership in establishing an effective global network for monitoring and preventing tax avoidance while securing cooperation from major emerging countries like China, Russia and India.


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