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

10.G8 Summit: International Media Center

  1. Broad Overview
  2. Preparation
  3. The International Media Center

1Broad Overview

After the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington ended in a failure with massive demonstrations and the 2001 Genoa Summit where large demonstrations and an massive crackdown by police ended in the death of one, recent G8 Summits has been planned far from city centers in remote resort areas at the insistance of the security officers. The 2008 G8 Summit that took place in Toya-ko is located 1000 Km from Tokyo and 100 Km from Sapporo, the major city in Hokkaido Prefecture, is another exemplary case of the remoteness of the G8 Summit locations.

The International Media Center is located approximately 20km northeast from Toya-ko, in Rusutsu Resort in the village of Rusutsu. Much of the media and NGOs working at the IMC stayed in hotels in Kutchan Town and Niseko Town, located more than 20km north over the Volcano Shiribeshi. Shuttle buses connected the hotels and Rusutsu IMC.

The G8 NGO Forum has been working long before the G8 Summit, with the Japanese Government on the participation and activities of NGOs at the International Media Center. As a result, the government set up in a set space for NGOs at the IMC, where NGOs can launch information and statements and hold small meetings. Furthermore, a space to hold press conference for NGOs was also set up, allowing NGOs a place to hold press conferences with the media. This is the first time in the history of the G8 Summit that such a corner for NGOs was established.

However, the number of NGO members that were allowed entry into the IMC was limited to 100 NGO members from overseas and 20-30 members of the G8 NGO Forum. The selection of those admitted were chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) using as a base, a list that has been created by the G8 NGO Forum.

2Preparation

The greatest task in the preparation for the IMC has been the creation of the list of nominees of NGO members from overseas (which has been limited to 100 people). The G8 NGO Forum wanted to create the list of the 100 possible nominees through a transparent, democratic and fair process.

MoFA held the final authority to select the NGO participants for the IMC. Civil Society finally decided to make a list of recommended participants for MoFA.

First, each Unit (Poverty and Development, Environment, Peace and Human Rights) of G8 NGO Forum called for applications for participation at the IMC using various e-forums from 19th to 23rd of May, and then made a list of all the applicants. During the calls for application, the Units set criterias for NGO participants to the IMC. The total numbers of applicants were more than 130.

The representatives of the Units reviewed the lists, cut the names of the applicants whose application forms were invalid or those who could not afford to come to Japan without financial support, and created the final list of 100 nominees, and submitted the list to MoFA. MoFA used the list to select the IMC participants.

3The International Media Center

The International Media Center was a home to many Japanese and international media. It is important to note here that members of the media actively engaged and held interviews with NGOs. Both regional and international papers, as well as TV stations, actively covered the advocacy activities of NGOs to the G8, resulting in several TV appearances and newspaper columns. One such reason for the large amount of coverage is that the only live interviews the media could have was with NGOs working at the IMC.

Using the advantage of the large amount of media members gathered in the IMC, the NGOs held many press conferences on various issues. On issues related to global health, on July 7, the first day of the Summit, NGOs gave a briefing on central issues within global health. On July 9, another press conference was held on NGO evaluation of the Toya-ko Framework for Action.

At the press conference, the NGOs used a "report card" to evaluate the results of the outcome documents of the G8. NGOs working on global health issues chose 10 major agenda items within global health, and on each issue, gave a grade of A, B,C, D and F. The media had highly praised the creation of this report card, resulting in 10 minute news coverage on Japan TV and NHK (See: REFERENCE: [ Ref.12 ] ).

In relation to HIV/AIDS, the following are the names of overseas civil society activists that have participated in the International Media Center:

These activists worked in cooperation with Japanese civil society working on issues of HIV/AIDS and global health to analyze the documents that came out of the G8 Summit and in the creation of civil society statements. Furthermore, these activists has furthered their interaction with other activists working on global health issues, as well as activists from Global Call to Action Against (GCAP), which is an world wide alliance campaigning in the fight against poverty. Thus, IMC has also provided the opportunity to bring together and create connections among activists working on various issues from all over the world. Final Statement of civil society working on global health (See: REFERENCE: [ Ref.13 ] ).

The results of the G8 Toya-ko Summit are attached in Part I.


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