The O5 Legacy

O5 symbol

O5 is a symbol of peace and freedom from the last century, carried into this era. The picture above is carved into the wall at Vergilius Chapel, Stephansdom, in Vienna.

It was used as code by the Viennese resistance during World War Two under occupation by the Nazis.

The 0 stands for the letter O, the 5 for the fifth letter in the alphabet E. When writing umlauted letters (basically vowels with two dots above them) the long way, the letter is written, followed by “e”. O+E=Ö, which is the first letter in Österreich, German for Austria.

In the 21st century, O5 has been given a new meaning in the pursuit of peaceful communication amongst the largest emerging markets.

It is known as Outreach 5, consisting of China, Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa. These five countries, under what is known as the Heiligendamm Process, will institutionalize high-level dialogue between the G8 and these five most important emerging economies.

In the past, talks between the two groups took place sporadically, but presently the G8 and O5 meet regularly. Innovation, freedom of investment, development in Africa, and technology for reducing CO2 emissions were the four main issues this process visited in 2008, 2009 and 2010. A progress report was presented at the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan and a final report on the results of the dialogue was put forward in Italy in 2009.

However, this initiative to cement O5 with the G8 formally has so far been delayed by the US and Japan, who have been against enlargement, while countries like Great Britain and France continue to press for it.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated:

We cannot get by, or shape globalization in a humane way, without each other“.

It is hoped that O5 continues to be a legacy for peace, hope and freedom