We are here at a pivotal moment in history. The world today faces increasingly complex challenges, from the worst refugee crisis since World War II to a changing climate. These challenges span across borders, and impact all sectors… They are too complex for traditional approaches… They are too enormous for any single funding stream to address alone, especially given our limited resources... And, the world’s population is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, putting an even greater strain on those resources. So, as we begin down our path to meet the future sustainable development goals, we must seek solutions that help us catalyze further investment, and make the most out of every single resource available to us.
Yesterday, I had the honor of joining Commissioner Mimica and Secretary Lew as they signed our joint commitment to supporting Africa’s power sector, which included an impressive financial commitment of $2.8 billion in grants for sustainable energy activities over the next five years. And, later today, Director-General Petri Gornitzka and I will sign a memorandum of understanding that solidifies Sweden’s commitment to catalyze more than $1 billion in investments to support Power Africa. These commitments will make our partnerships with the European Union and Sweden even stronger. And, they will keep us on a path toward achieving Power Africa’s goals of adding 30,000 megawatts of additional power capacity and bringing electricity to 60 million households and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States shares the African Union’s strong commitment to agricultural development and global food security, and we are proud to stand with you as partners in this important work. That is because we know what supporting agriculture and nutrition can do for a country and its people. Growth in the agricultural sector is at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. So, when President Obama called on leaders around the world to end global hunger and poverty, he emphasized agriculture as the best path to reach that goal. This is the idea behind the program—Feed the Future. Inspired by the African Union’s work through CAADP, Feed the Future promotes country-owned approaches and supports new opportunities and technologies for small-holder farmers.
Of course, we face a difficult road ahead. The new cases of Ebola discovered in Liberia just last week are a sobering reminder of the need for continued vigilance. Our response infrastructure is working, but we are not done yet. Still, when we look back at the past year, it is clear we have made substantial progress… New cases in the West African region are at about 20 per week, down from over 100 just four months ago. Without a doubt, the reason we have seen such results is because we stood as a united front in combating the disease.
The Philippines has experienced challenging times especially for those affected by natural calamities. Our experience with Super Typhoon Yolanda was a reminder on how disasters can impact our lives and hinder progress. As the Philippines is frequented by typhoons and other natural calamities, it is important that the national and local governments plan and prepare to minimize vulnerabilities and remain resilient.
The U.S. Government has been a long-standing partner of DENR in conserving biodiversity and supporting management of forests in the Philippines. USAID’s largest forestry and watershed program, B+WISER, has been closely working with the DENR Region IV-A since 2013 to improve the management of the 26,125-hectare Upper Marikina Watershed Forest Reserve (UMRBPL) and the 27,613-hectare Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve (KWFR) in the provinces of Rizal and Quezon. I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made towards our common goal to better manage forest resources and other environmental services from the watersheds.
It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you today to this workshop. Giving every Cambodian child the opportunity to complete their education and reduce the number who dropout is a priority for the country. Education is a pathway to better opportunities for every person, their community, and their nation. That is why USAID is an important supporter of education programs around the world.
It is my great pleasure to see all of you here today for the “Launch of the Prey Lang Landscape Biodiversity Assessment Report.” Protecting Cambodia’s natural resources is a priority for the U.S. government and we are proud to have supported this important initiative.
USAID works closely with the Cambodian government to preserve and sustainably manage its forests and rich biodiversity. Our Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project, which funds this Biodiversity Assessment, is one of the main ways that we do this.
Ramadan is probably best known for the ritual of daily fasting. But Ramadan is also a time for reflection, devotion, generosity, discipline, and sacrifice. And for all of us, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the values of peace, of sharing, of family and community are universal values that we all share -- regardless of faith or nationality.
It is a great honor for me to be in a room full of people committed to combating trafficking in persons. The United States Government and I, personally, care deeply about this issue. Let me first thank Microsoft and Ms. Tony Town-Whitley for hosting this conference and the United Nations agencies for their contributions. The United States is proud to join Microsoft and the UN in their commitment to combat human trafficking.
Last updated: July 25, 2015