Press Releases

Former President Clinton Opens Clinton Global Initiative Asia Meeting in Hong Kong

December 02, 2008

Hong Kong – Former President Clinton opened the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Asia meeting today, bringing together current and former heads of state and the region’s leading figures from business and non-profit sectors to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

"I am excited to host this Clinton Global Initiative meeting focusing specifically on Asia, and thrilled to be joined by so many distinguished leaders who bring their unique expertise and resources to bear in addressing the most pressing challenges facing the region," said President Clinton. "Asia has a strong history of social responsibility and we have a unique opportunity to work together in innovative and effective ways to achieve positive change during a time of great uncertainty for the world."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the CGI Asia meeting’s opening plenary session on Tuesday with a video message.

"In recent decades, Asia has achieved remarkable gains in economic growth and development," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "This progress has offered valuable lessons to the rest of the world. It is no coincidence that the Clinton Global Initiative is holdings its meeting in Asia."

Minister Mentor & Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew joined President Clinton for a discussion of pressing global issues.

President Clinton was also joined by over 400 of Asia’s leading voices as he unveiled the practical steps, known as Commitments to Action, made by members to affect positive change in CGI’s three areas of focus: education, energy & climate change, and public health. All commitments announced at CGI Asia are available online at

President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005 as a project of the non-partisan William J. Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The CGI community includes: CGI University, a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; CGI Asia, a CGI regional meeting; and,, an online portal where anyone can commit to helping improve lives. 


Today’s commitments included:

Standard Chartered Bank and The Vital Voices Global Partnership commit US$3 million over three years to empower women throughout Asia by providing them with key educational opportunities and financial skills training that will enhance their participation in society. It will build the capacity of women to become economically literate, manage their finances, and start and grow Small and Medium Sized Enterprises through an annual training summit.

Graeme Reading, chair of the Café Deco Group, commits US$125,000 over 2 years to establish a Hong Kong beach authority, which will coordinate both public and private efforts to clean up Hong Kong’s beaches. By helping clean Hong Kong’s beaches, this initiative is expected to positively impact the lives of 191,000 students, an additional 100,000 residents in beach communities, as well as Hong Kong’s 7 million residents and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Big Brother Mouse announced their intention to improve literacy in Laos by helping 90% of villages have access to a wide range of books by 2016. It will establish a series of locally-owned libraries that will provide reading materials to over 5 million, of which half are children. Valued at US$2 million over 7 years.

The Henderson Group and the Chi Heng Foundation commit US$640,000 over 3 years to help AIDS-impacted children and youth directly by enhancing their access to a quality education and participation in community self-help support programs. This commitment will impact more than 10,000 children whose parents have died of AIDS. Children affected by HIV/AIDS themselves will also benefit from this initiative.

The Noble Group, one of the world’s largest supply-chain managers whose operations involve many of the earth’s natural resources and raw materials, announced a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2008. In addition to going carbon neutral, the Noble Group will also generate an awareness-raising campaign targeting its 10,000 staff members and more than 4,000 business partners. Valued at US$10 million over three years.

The ZeShan Foundation, the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and China Center for Disease Control in coordination with other partners announced a global coalition to eliminate the transmission of hepatitis B and reduce discrimination among those infected with the virus. They will focus on the 41 countries in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions – which account for 76% of the global burden of hepatitis B. Valued at US$4 million over 5 years.

The Hunt Family Foundation, Australian Doctors International, Wayside Chapel and Sydney World Vision commit more than US$500,000 over 1 year to provide financial support to fight homelessness in Sydney, conduct a medical feasibility study in Papua New Guinea, and expand educational opportunities in Tanzania. Over the next year, the Hunt Family Foundation will help refurbish the Wayside Chapel, which provides assistance to over 10,000 homeless and disadvantaged people in the inner city of Sydney.

The Louise and Arde Bulova Fund, UNICEF, Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunizations, and Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust commit US$500,000 over five years to enhance access to vaccinations for preventable diseases for children under five years old in Timor Leste. By improving transport and distribution mechanisms and leveraging support from existing health care staff and clinics through UNICEF, this commitment will reach 200,000 additional children over the course of five years.

Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, Director General of The International Rice Research Institute, commits US$2.2 million over four years to develop a new technology that will produce carbon-dioxide free energy from rice residues such as straw and husks, helping create additional income for farmers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in India and Cambodia.

Heartfile and the Rockefeller Foundation commit US$440,000 over one year to develop a health financing program that will help protect poor families in Pakistan who may otherwise spend catastrophically on health care needs. This commitment will ensure the delivery of targeted cash transfers to vulnerable households and improve the lives of 1,000 people.

Putera Sampoerna Foundation commits US$7 million over three years to develop and implement a rich, non-religious curriculum for disadvantaged Muslim students enrolled in Madrasahs across Indonesia that will improve the quality of their education and provide professional development services.

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) China is committing US$12.5 million over one and a half years to rehabilitate three communities that were heavily affected by the disastrous earthquakes that struck the Sichuan Province of China in May, 2008 by constructing 924 houses, three nursery schools, health clinics, libraries, and outdoor exercise areas. This commitment aims to improve the lives of 3,200 people.

The SAGE Foundation, along with its partners, is committing US$8 million over four years to establish a self-sustaining village model in Maharashtra, India that will ensure that local, disadvantaged communities have access to relevant educational and training opportunities, helping to improve the lives of 30,000 people.

Jim and Sally Thompson commit US$100,000 over one year to enhance access to relevant educational opportunities by developing an education center for 700 disadvantaged children who are 6 to 15 years old, and 150 HIV/AIDS orphans; in an effort to improve their well-being and integration in society.

The Orr Foundation, and its partner, is committing US$300,000 over two years to strengthen the capacity of information and communications technologies (ICT) entrepreneurs in Bangladesh and Nepal to deliver sustainable and affordable ICT solutions--computers, networks, access to the Internet--to NGOs that provide education, health care, relief and economic development services to remote, rural and under-served communities.

Hang Seng Bank, along with its partners, is committing US$150,000 over one year to build 300 biogas toilets for 1,700 people in Yunnan, China that will store methane gas produced by humans and poultry to provide local communities with alternative forms of energy for daily use, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

ICNEER, along with its partners, is committing US$1 million over two years to raise awareness of the dangers posed by climate change in India and Mozambique, engaging 60,000 students in renewable energy discussions in 600 schools to demonstrate that a positive change in individual and community behavior can result in energy efficiency and resource conservation.

The Jal Bhagirathi Foundation (JBF), along with its partners, is committing US$7.6 million over six years to implement projects in 400 villages in the Thar Desert of India that will improve underserved populations’ access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities; in an effort to reduce their vulnerability to climate change

Over the course of three years, Practical Action commits US$27 million to help disadvantaged, rural communities develop their capacity to use innovative agricultural techniques that will reduce their vulnerability to disasters and risks associated with climate change, aspiring to improve the lives of 700,000 people.

AIDFI commits US$260,000 over two years to provide access to clean drinking water for disadvantaged, rural communities by developing their capacity to manufacture and install AIDFI’s hydraulic ram pump in Colombia, Indonesia, Madagascar, and the Philippines, in an effort to improve sanitation and agricultural activities for 3,600 people.

The SMILE Foundation, along with its partners, is committing US$925,000 over three years to enhance opportunities for social research on the impact of rare diseases in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region, in an effort to improve the well-being of affected children and families. In its first year of operation, this CGI commitment will help improve the lives of 1,000 children currently suffering from rare diseases.

The Amity Foundation, in partnership with the Ghizhou Ministry of Health, is committing to improve the delivery of health care services in one of China’s poorest rural provinces by building 100 clinics that are cost-effective, and better respond to the needs of poor villagers and health workers. The five year, US$645,000 commitment aims to improve the lives of 170,000 villagers.

Mercy Malaysia, along with its partner, is committing US$149,426 over one year to enhance access to and the quality of general health services in the Kampong Leaeng, Cambodia; in an effort to improve the well-being of over 40,000 underserved people.

PHFI is committing US$2.9 million over three years to strengthen the capacity of rural, public health centers in Northeast India to deliver quality health services to local, disadvantaged communities, aiming to improve the lives of more than 30 million people.

TheMalaysia AIDS Council (MAC), along with its partners, is committing US$1 million over two years to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among sex workers and transsexuals in Malaysia through prevention campaigns, as well as other community outreach and empowerment programs.

Filligent Limited and the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, along with their partners, are committing US$500,000 over two years to empower more than 67,000 migrants in China by enhancing their access to quality education and healthcare, and helping stimulate key behavioral changes among migrant workers. It will partner with corporations, NGOs and the Chinese government to provide migrant workers with “tools for change” or incentives that can motivate them to lead healthier lives.

Mr. Wee Lin is committing US$99,000 to enhance access to environmentally-friendly and affordable food for underserved and poor communities in Singapore by hosting a series of events and engaging stakeholders in dialogue. Over the span of nine years, this CGI commitment will improve the lives of 2 million people.

The World Toilet Organization (WTO), along with its partners, is committing US$1.2 million to expand access for more than 750 million people in Cambodia and India to basic sanitation by improving the current market structure of the sanitation sector. The WTO will work to better match supply for sanitation products with demand and provide training programs for business leaders who wish to tap into the USUS$1 trillion global sanitation marketplace.

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