Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oceans Discussion at G7 Summit in Quebec to Replace Usual African Focus

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oceans Discussion at G7 Summit in Quebec to Replace Usual African Focus

Article excerpt

G7's oceans agenda replaces African outreach

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OTTAWA - The Trudeau government is shifting the G7 summit away from its traditional Africa outreach in favour of a session on ocean sustainability that will include the world's largest political and financial organizations.

Canada's summit organizer Peter Boehm says Canada is not turning its back on Africa, which has been the subject of G7 discussions for most of the last two decades.

The second day of the summit, June 9, will be devoted to a special session on oceans, a key theme for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It will include an expanded guest list, including the heads of several countries, some of them small island states that could be swamped by rising sea levels, and some African countries, Boehm told a recent gathering in Ottawa.

His office did not provide additional details of the expanded list.

Boehm said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, and the heads of the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development will be on hand.

The session will replace what has become a traditional piece of key outreach for the G7 for much of the past two decades -- an expanded meeting with African leaders.

Boehm said this summit session will be "thematically focused on oceans, rather than having a geographic focus as has been done in recent years."

Trudeau wants an in-depth discussion with an expanded group of world leaders on the plight of the oceans, Boehm said.

"For those who think we are turning our back on Africa because Africa has been the preferred region for outreach -- not so, we will have significant African leaders present at well," he said.

The G7 has offered African leaders their own session since 2001, when Italy held the group's presidency. Italy passed the baton to Canada in 2002 and then-prime minister Jean Chretien made African development a central theme of the summit he hosted in Kananaskis, Alta. …

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