Created as part of a French initiative to address the first oil crisis in 1975, the G8 is an informal group of advanced economies, which meets once a year at a Summit of Heads of State and Government.
G8 members include France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. Originally made up of six members at its creation, Canada was incorporated in 1976, and so was Russia in 1998. G8 members represent 15% of world population, 65% of GDP and two thirds of international trade.
The members of the G8 seek to identify measures they can take together, especially those concerning the political issues of security and globalisation. However, the G8 is not an international institution and does not take binding measures.
Over the past 30 years, G8 preoccupations have mainly focused on economy, development, peace and security, the environment and climate change. However in the last two years the G8 has been taking a new direction by deciding to focus on geopolitical and security issues, the partnership with Africa exploring political and economic dimensions, and on the subjects of common interest to the G8 countries facing specific challenges.