Thursday, November 13, 2014
Today, as you know, the world faces the largest and most-protracted Ebola epidemic in history. This devastating virus has infected more than 14,000 people and killed more than 5,000 people across West Africa. The epidemic has spread through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—countries with fragile health and economic systems and recent histories of civil war or political instability. In addition, the Ebola virus has spilled over into three neighboring countries where the response has been swift.
Most of the families that have been affected already live in desperate circumstances, where securing clean water and food is a daily struggle. In Liberia alone, 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty with very few assets to help them cope. It is within this context that Ebola has emerged—threatening our global security and economy. It represents a national security priority for the United States and every other nation in the world.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The United States has been combating the Ebola epidemic since the first cases were reported in March, and we have expanded our efforts and increased personnel in the region as the crisis has unfolded. More than 120 specialists from across the U.S. government are on the ground in West Africa to prevent, detect, and stop the spread of this disease. USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team—or DART—to the region to oversee and coordinate the U.S. response, providing logistics, planning, program, and operational support to the affected countries; drawing forth critical assets and resources from several U.S. departments and agencies.
Through a whole-of-government approach, we’re mounting an aggressive U.S. effort to fight this epidemic and have devised a clear strategy with four key pillars to stop this epic crisis: controlling the epidemic; mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls; coordinating the U.S. and broader global response; and fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
We share your concern about the attacks on Christians and other vulnerable populations, who are suffering unimaginable horrors from the systematic violence carried out against them by the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). USAID remains committed to providing assistance to all those in need in Iraq and will hold true to our mission to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.
USAID’s targeted response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is appropriately an immediate response to the crisis at-hand. However, there also needs to be longer-term response that reflects the importance of monitoring and diagnosing viral threats that originate in animals. Such a response is critical to ensure future reoccurrences of the virus are contained prior to transfer to humans, where possible. In addition, it’s critical that we build on ongoing health systems strengthening efforts, which help ensure a viral outbreak is contained at the earliest stages through improved access to care, health workforce training, and enhanced communication once diagnosis is made.
Two factors that are critical to spurring and maintaining economic growth and stability in developing countries are access to affordable, clean energy and the existence of social and institutional capacity to adapt to, mitigate and recover from shocks and stresses such as economic downturns and the adverse impacts of climate change. In particular, working with developing countries to help them deal with destabilizing climate change consequences, including water supply shortages, coastal flooding and droughts, is critical. Such work also protects our current and future development investments.
Today, I will highlight how the lack of clean energy access and the inability to address climate change risks can have a destabilizing effect on a country’s economy, security, and the well-being of its citizens. I will describe USAID’s efforts to address these challenges and discuss how our work on adaptation to climate change, water security, food security, and sustainable landscapes impacts security. Much of this work is embodied in USAID’s Climate Change and Development Strategy, which seeks to help developing countries speed their transition to climate resilient, low emission, sustainable economic growth. Stability and well-being overseas often directly helps ensure U.S. national security.
Africa is a continent on the rise, with growing economies and the youngest population in the world. With fifty percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 18, there is extraordinary potential for this generation of youth to shape the future of the continent in powerful ways. However, more than 200 million of these children currently live in extreme poverty, over 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and millions more are affected by conflict and natural disaster.
Pending final Congressional approval, USAID expects to implement up to $150 million in this fiscal year to address the root causes of crime and violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Of this amount, approximately $50 million is specifically designated programs for at-risk youth. Through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), we are investing in opportunities for youth and their communities and strengthening the institutions charged with administering justice to keep people safe. Our services for at-risk youth, job training, community policing, safe urban spaces and juvenile justice programs complement the youth-focused cultural and educational programs as well as the law enforcement and interdiction activities led by our inter-agency partners.
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.
Last updated: April 19, 2015