PART III: HIV/AIDS and Global Health - G8 Guidebook

11.G8 Summit: The Alternative Summit

The alternative summit has its roots in the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, organized by civil society organizations. Since then, alternative summits have become more organized and increased its impact. Alternative summits are held coinciding to the dates of the G8 summit in a location close by. This includes symposiums, round table discussions, and break out sessions such as skill building workshops. Participants largely include members of civil society with a sparse number of interested local citizens, government officials and members of the media.

If the alternative summit will take place and how it is organized is up to the members of civil society. Thus depends on the will and capability of the civil society organizations and groups of the host country to decide the magnitude of the alternative summit. Organizing groups include those that are interested in a certain issue or those who call for the end of the G8.

The People's Summit took place from July 6-July 8, mainly at the Sapporo Convention Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, 60 miles away from where the G8 leaders were meeting. The People's Summit is part of the Sapporo People's week on G8, taking place from July 1- July 10, with other events including Indigenous People's Summit, World Religious Leaders Summit, G8 Women's Rights Forum, Peace Walk and much more.

The People`s Summit was organized by GCAP Japan, who also served as the secretariat since the early stages of the G8 process.In the case of Japan, there was several motivation behind holding a summit. Many guests, both national and international will gather in Japan, and as the civil society of the host country, there was a need for all these guests to gather and speak, debate and campaign on issues or speak out against having the G8 summit. It provided a peaceful arena in which guests and civil society organization can make a forward moving political statement alongside other civil society members. The alternative summit in Japan was also held under the sort of obligation or duty to hold the summit as a place for members of civil society can gather.

As to the goal of this summit, was to create a place where civil society with different perspectives from overseas and national civil society members can have a place to meet and provide a creative and independent input of the G8. The alternative summit is a place where they can discuss "alternative" ideas or go against even holding the G8. It has also created a place where they can create the voice of the Civil society and provide clear and innovative policies in the backdrop of the actual G8 leaders failure to have forward moving policies and speak about real solutions to the current problems faced by the rest of the world. This was well picked up by the media, which have themselves notice the lack of initiatives coming out of the actual G8 - and paid attention to the civil society which was able to come up with ideas and policies that are real solutions or settlements to the current issues such as the food crisis, global health, and problems associated with financial speculation.

As to the outcome of this meeting, the Sapporo Declaration, (See: ) which was a declaration that compiled the issues and policies that the G8 must commit to, written and endorse by the participants of the G8 summit. The alternative summit was able to come out with concrete and realistic outputs such as this Sapporo Declaration. The media was also able to pick up on the intelligence and the organization of civil society, and civil society was able to receive a good coverage and good impression by the media.

In specifity of the HIV/AIDS and other global health issues, Noireene Kaleeba, board member of Action AID and the founder of TASO (The AIDS Support Organization) based in Uganda. We used our extensive network, held several symposiums including Tackling HIV/AIDS issues: From Africa to the G8 Summit, which also included civil society groups based in Hokkaido. As well in a related event called the G8 Women Rights Forum Part 2: Women in the World Speak Out, Noireene spoke that without the protection of women and girls rights, Universal Access and the Millennium Development Goals will be unattainable.

Civil Society Symposium on HIV/AIDS at the People's Summit 2008: Ms. Noeline Kaleeba and Ms. Sara Paterlini
Civil Society Symposium on HIV/AIDS at the People's Summit 2008:
Ms. Noeline Kaleeba and Ms. Sara Paterlini

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