Press Releases

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama Address the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

September 25, 2008

New York – President Clinton opened the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting by introducing both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, who delivered remarks to CGI members and those viewing online. The two presidential candidates spoke about issues related to CGI's focus areas: education, energy and climate change, health, and poverty alleviation.

"The fact that both candidates for president addressed CGI's Annual Meeting demonstrates the importance of the issues we focus on and the non-partisan nature of our work," said President Bill Clinton. "The next president will face unprecedented global challenges requiring international collaboration that transcends borders, politics, and religion. It is in this same spirit that we join together each year to commit to take action in response to the urgent challenges of our time."

Among the commitments announced today were several new mega-commitments in the fields of climate change, global health and education. They will: create large scale climate change awareness campaigns reaching well over 150,000 people; bring groups together to address the problems of sanitation and clean water in developing nations, including providing over 1 billion liters of water; and create and improve school feeding and deworming programs, in an effort to keep over 20 million children healthy and in school.

Additionally, Dana Freyer, a CGI member, updated President Clinton on the progress of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan's 2006 commitment. The Partnership committed to launching 100 commercially viable orchards and woodlot businesses in Afghanistan-but its growth has far outpaced its commitment. Already it has engaged more than 9,000 enterprise farmers, helping alleviate reliance on the poppy trade and improve financial stability.

Several of today's commitments, including further information on mega-commitments, is attached.

Information about the Clinton Global Initiative and CGI member commitments is online at www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.


Commitments announced by President Clinton:

  • Barclays, CARE, Accenture, and Plan International committed $20 million over 3 years to improve the quality of life for poor people by enhancing, innovating and accelerating sustained access to savings and other financial services. This commitment is expected to provide 800,000 people with access to financial services.
  • Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the University of Colorado Foundation, committed $1 million over 2 years to support the development of the Consortium for Capacity Building, helping developing countries to use science to forecast and withstand droughts, floods and other climate-related hazards.
  • Standard Chartered Bank, Intel Corporation, Seva Foundation, Al Noor Magrabi Foundation, Aravind Eye Care System, Kilimanjaro Center for Community Opthamology, Lumbini Eye Institute, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Vivekanada Mission Association Netra Niramay Niketan Chaitanyapur, Visualiza, Seva Canada Society, International Association for the Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organization, and Aravind Eye Care System committed a combined value of over $32 million to reduce the incidence of blindness and improve eye care for low-income people around the world.
  • Broad Foundation, Harvard University, Departments of Education for the Cities of Chicago, New York and the District of Columbia committed $44 million over 3 years to create the Harvard Innovation lab for the study of urban public schools, providing a place for innovation and objective measurement of urban school district programs for grades K-12.
  • Wal-Mart, in cooperation with the Environmental Defense Fund, committed to reduce Wal-Mart's global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of a third per store by 2013, resulting in a potential reduction of 290,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year-roughly the equivalent of taking more than 53,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

This year a number of CGI members have come together to launch several impressive awareness initiatives reaching specific constituencies with a combined commitment value of more than $6.5 million and the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people. They include:

  • The Energy Action Coalition will convene a conference in Washington, DC with more than 10,000 young people from across the country and around the world to call for governmental action to address climate change.
  • The League of Conservation Voters will engage major labor unions and directly reach at least 150,000 members across the country.
  • The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will launch the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change.

The following individuals and organizations committed to improve access to safe drinking water and effective sanitation. When fully implemented, these commitments will reach 8.5 million people, providing over 1 billion liters of clean water:

  • Pepsico and Water Partners have teamed up to invest $4 million in WaterCredit, an innovative model that uses microcredit to expand access to safe water and sanitation in India.
  • Through a second commitment to partner with the Safe Water Network, PepsiCo will also provide 200,000 people in Ghana, India, and Bangladesh with village water and rainwater harvesting systems.
  • Three foundations – the Hesperian, Gates, and Kind World Foundations – will work together to translate, print, and distribute lifesaving educational resources on water, sanitation, and health in 20 different languages.
  • Shaped by his own experience of overcoming polio, musician Feliciano Dos Santos will use the power of song to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene to 50 villages in his home country of Mozambique.
  • Population Services International will distribute integrated health care packages-including safe drinking water, treatment for diarrheal disease, and malaria prevention and treatment--to half a million children in Madagascar.
  • The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council has committed to mobilize an additional $30 million dollars for the Global Sanitation Fund, which invests in sanitation interventions for poor people worldwide. When implemented, this commitment will provide 2 million people with proper sanitation and hygiene.
  • In collaboration with the Ministries of Health of ten Latin American countries, the Pan American Health Organization will implement a comprehensive maternal and child health program, promoting water, sanitation and nutrition for 2 million women and children.
  • Procter and Gamble and its partners will supply 1 billion liters of safe drinking water worldwide, and launch a media and awareness-raising campaign that will reach over 300 million households in the United States and Europe.
  • Building upon the success of their award-winning sanitation technologies and social movement in India, Sulabh International Social Services Organization will help five developing country governments adopt their model.
  • OneXOne and H20 Africa have committed to raise at least a million dollars to WaterPartners International, providing safe water and sanitation to over 55,000 people.
  • Representing a collaboration of 24 companies, non-profits, health organizations, and foundations, the Global Water Challenge will secure funding for the winners of a global competition to promote innovations in water and sanitation.
  • The Robert Hernreich Family Foudantion and Global Action will add water purification practices to an existing micro-nutrient fortification program for 25,000 children living in Tanzania.
  • The Aquaya Institute will validate a financially sustainable approach to providing community-level water treatment in rural western Kenya.
  • Through a partnership with Direct Relief International, Napo Pharmaceuticals will develop and provide at cost a new pharmaceutical to treat pediatric diarrheal diseases in low income countries.

The following education mega-commitment has grown to include more than 16 commitments that will reach more than 20 million children in over 30 countries:

  • World Food Program commits to expand its school meals program, in part through the generous support Yum! Brands, who commits to provide $80 million for school meal and nutrition programs over the next 5 years.

    Further, the WFP commits to provide a half-a-million school meals per day to children sourced from local, low-income farmers.

  • The WFP and the World Bank commit to open its $1.2 billion global food crisis fund, providing more than 5 million children school meals and school deworming.
  • Digicel will provide school meals and nutrition to 14,000 students in more than 30 Haitian schools.
  • Feed the Children, Deworm the World, Save the Children, and American Institutes of Research commit to deworm 10 million school children in 19 countries.
  • Joint Aid Management will provide school meals to 1 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2012.
  • Mercy Corps and Best Buy will prepare 375,000 young Americans to fight hunger through a new Action Center to End World Hunger in Lower Manhattan.
  • Akshaya Patra and the Deshpande Foundation, after fulfilling last year's commitment to feed one million Indian school children daily, will further expand the capacity of their kitchens to produce an additional 100,000 meals a day.
  • Booz & Co. will build a "mega-community" of Italian leadership to increase awareness and funding for the World Food Program
  • The International Rescue Committee will pilot a school meals and nutrition program for displaced children in Colombia and apply the lessons learned to programs for children of conflict in 20 countries.
  • Rica Rodman Orszag will commit to provide pro bono public relations services to promote the World Food Program Global Red Cup Campaign
  • The Global Foodbanking Network will use foodbanking to link surplus food to 500,000 school children in Colombia, Argentina, Jordan, South Africa, and India.
  • East Side Entrees commits $9 million to ensure 600,000 students in disadvantaged American schools start the day with a nutritious breakfast in the classroom.

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