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Clinton, Obama Open CGI; Safe Water, Opportunities For African Women Commitments Announced

During opening remarks of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual summit in New York, former President Bill Clinton said more people are “attending this meeting than ever before,” Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal reports. “Despite record attendance and commitments made, Clinton addressed the reduction in global wealth upfront, urging leaders who have not yet identified which causes to support to instead support multi-year pledges already under way that have been restructured due to lack of funding,” according to the news service. President Barack Obama also addressed the summit, “[f]ollowing” a theme that encouraged meeting participants to take action (Banjo, 9/22).

Obama “said that between work to promote food security, establishing a global comprehensive health strategy and investments in clean energy, the U.S. was embarking on a new phase of global engagement,” RTTNews reports. “In short, we’re renewing development as a key element of American foreign policy,” he said, adding that the U.S. would work “not by lecturing and imposing our ideas, but by listening and working together; by seeking more exchanges between students and experts; new collaborations among scientists to promote technological development; partnerships between businesses, entrepreneurs to advance prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere” (9/22).

According to the Associated Press, the meeting’s Wednesday lineup is “expected to feature … a panel examining how to deal with gender inequality, while former Vice President Al Gore was to be part of a plenary session looking at the vital need for innovation to create sustainable development” (Hajela, 9/23).

Also on Wednesday, the founders of water.org, along with “actor Matt Damon and the organization’s executive director Gary White,” announced “a $2 million commitment to provide 50,000 people in Haiti with safe water and sanitation over the next three years,” Environment News Service reports. “The situation in Haiti is extreme. It’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and nearly half of its people don’t have access to clean water,” White said. The article includes additional information about the project. Coca-Cola announced a second commitment aimed at “alleviating poverty by increasing opportunities for women in the Coca-Cola distribution network in Africa,” the news service writes.

More than “60 current and former heads of state, 500 business leaders, and 400 leaders from nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations” representing 84 countries are expected at the meeting, according to Clinton (9/22).

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