Leaders of the world's eight richest nations -- the Group of Eight (G8) start three days of talks on Wednesday and these are the main issues to be discussed:
Global warming tops the agenda for German Chancellor Angela Merkel who wants G8 leaders to
endorse a goal of halving the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming this century by two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over 1990 temperatures.
But both figures have been bluntly rejected by US negotiators in the run-up to the summit.
A war of words between Russia and the US has erupted in the run-up to the summit over Washington's plans to base a missile defence system in central Europe. The spat is threatening to overshadow the rest of the proceedings in Heiligendamm.
Moscow sees the shield as an aggressive step which would threaten its security, while Washington argues it is designed to guard against attacks from 'rogue' states such as Iran and North Korea.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has threated to point his missiles at European targets if the US goes ahead. In the ensuing flare up, US President George W. Bush has hit back, taking Moscow to task for "derailing" democratic reforms.
Leaders of emerging nations including South Africa are also in Heiligendamm.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, attending his last summit before he steps down on June 27, wants his fellow leaders to make good on pledges to help Africa and the world's poor that were agreed at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005.
At that time, world leaders promised to double aid to Africa in order to tackle global poverty, but these promises have not been met so far.
Germany wants the G8 to boost private investment in Africa, and also spend more money to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis.
GLOBALISATION AND TRADE:
As in other G8 summits, the meeting in Heiligendamm has attracted thousands of anti-globalisation demonstrations, with protests deteriorating into violence in the days preceding the summit.
German Chancellor Merkel said she wants the summit to "give globalisation a human face".
Berlin is also hoping that the summit will provide new impulses for the stalled Doha round of world trade talks.
Germany's plans to regulate highly speculative hedge funds have fallen on deaf ears within the G8 and, even though Berlin wanted the issue on top of the agenda, it has been effectively swept under the carpet in face of stiff opposition from US and Britain, where most of such funds are based.
G8 leaders may express concern about the growing "global imbalances", such as the huge US trade deficit, and hint that further currency realignment might be necessary.
Friction might arise between Russia and other G8 countries on issues such as Kosovo.
Russia opposes a plan to give Kosovo effective independence from Serbia.
The issue of nuclear non-proliferation will also be discussed, with the focus on Iran and North Korea, and G8 leaders may also talk about the conflict in Darfur.