Under the leadership of President Obama, the United States has put gender equality and the advancement of women and girls at the forefront of the three pillars of U.S. foreign policy–diplomacy, development, and defense. This is embodied in the President’s National Security Strategy, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and the 2010 U.S. Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Women’s empowerment is critical to USAID’s core mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity and addressing pressing health and education challenges.
President Obama set forth a new vision of a results-driven USAID that would lead the world in development. We have risen to this challenge, pioneering a new model of development that emphasizes partnerships, innovation, and results. We are guided in these efforts by a new mission statement: we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. Combating wildlife trafficking and the promotion of conservation are critically important to USAID and our mission. Conservation, which includes combating wildlife trafficking, is fundamental to human development and in achieving sustainable development.
This afternoon, I want to share with you our perspective on the vital role of U.S. foreign assistance in this region and how USAID’s development programs address regional challenges and advance American interests. Across the East Asia-Pacific, USAID has eight field missions that provide support to 22 countries. By nature of our mission, to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, USAID advances U.S. security and prosperity while furthering the core objectives of the Administration’s Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. The President’s robust Fiscal Year 2015 budget request of $810.7 million for Department of State and USAID assistance in East Asia and the Pacific enables USAID to continue helping to lay the foundations for lasting progress in the region.
In Mexico, as in the rest of the region, USAID is increasingly focused on helping the region’s governments promote the rule of law and reduce crime and violence, while furthering respect for human rights. This is a matter of national security for the United States, as my colleagues have just noted, as well as an economic and political imperative for the affected countries. Continued insecurity is a severe drain on private and public investment in the Americas, a leading constraint to economic growth in some countries, and is also arguably the greatest threat to democracy in the affected countries.
USAID partners around the world to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, while advancing our security and prosperity. Our work in Northern Nigeria highlights the nexus between security, stability and poverty reduction. We are committed to working with Nigeria to build a peaceful society that promotes inclusive economic growth and lifts its citizens out of poverty.
One month ago, Boko Haram militants kidnapped more than 250 young girls from their school in an attack so shocking it mobilized the world behind returning these girls to their families. But this latest brutality was not an isolated incident. For years, Boko Haram has terrorized the people of Northern Nigeria through bombings, kidnapping, and sexual violence.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
In 2011, President Obama said: “Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.” With one-fifth of the world’s population—a third of which is living in extreme poverty—South Asia is a central focus of U.S. development assistance to ensure that the coming century is one marked by cooperation and human progress that extends mutual prosperity and security across the Asia-Pacific region.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
2014 is a pivotal year for Afghanistan as the country navigates a series of three transitions: the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history; the completion of the security transition, including the withdrawal of a majority of international troops; and the continuing effort to reduce Afghanistan’s reliance on international aid by facilitating private sector-led economic growth. This is a critical moment in Afghanistan’s history, and USAID is working with the Afghan people and our international partners to do all we can to ensure these transitions go as smoothly as possible, and that Afghanistan emerges as a stable country on a path toward self-sufficiency.
Nowhere in the world is development such an important part of U.S. engagement efforts as it is in Africa, and the changing tide on the continent requires a new style of engagement. Today, Africans are the architects of their development, not just beneficiaries. Donors support their plans, they do not dictate them. Citizens demand democracy, not autocracy, and they are seizing the opportunities that come with better education, better health, and better public services.
Alongside the investments the United States has already made in the Middle East and North Africa, the President’s FY 2015 budget request ensures USAID programs will continue to support the needs and aspirations of the region’s people during this critical period of change. Our continued engagement with the people of the region serves as the foundation of our partnership with the countries of the region and will allow us to contribute to lasting growth, prosperity and peace.
As President Obama said in the 2013 State of the Union address, “We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all—not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it’s the right thing to do.”
As we step forward to answer the President’s call with renewed energy and focus, we remain committed to engaging the American people and serving their interests by leading the world to end extreme poverty.
Last updated: February 27, 2015