Wildlife trafficking undermines security and funds criminal networks. It seriously challenges national development by undermining economic growth and corroding the rule of law. Reductions in biodiversity have longer term consequences for development.
Of the many challenges we face as a global community – and there are many – health crises constitute among the most serious. Today, the headlines tell us of the toll that Ebola has taken in West Africa. Not long ago the world faced repeated outbreaks of SARS, multiple influenzas, not to mention the continued threat posed by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, measles – I could go on. But I won’t. What I do want to point out is that our single greatest defense against these threats is our health workers. These men and women fight on the front lines every day at great risk to themselves to protect us. Helping them to become a coordinated, disciplined, qualified, and effective fighting force is what this gathering is all about.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Bangkok for the Asia Urban Futures Workshop. I’d like to start by giving special thanks to our partners at UNDP, UN Habitat and UN Global Pulse, as well as to the USAID staff in Bangkok and Washington’s Global Development Lab who all worked so hard to make this Conference a reality. They’ve brought together two groups of key people who don’t get a chance to talk with one another as much as they might: first, outstanding experts from the technology and development fields; and second, city leaders and planners. I’m sure both will learn much from one another over the next couple of days about dealing with the challenges and opportunities with a rapidly urbanizing Asia.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first global comprehensive international instrument that protects and advances the rights of persons with disabilities, and it represents an important opportunity for Vietnam to express a united commitment to rights as it completes its first year as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. That opportunity was highlighted in the visits last spring by Senator Patrick Leahy and Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judy Heumann, who play important roles in our bilateral cooperation.
I am profoundly honored by the invitation from the Embassy of Finland to make some remarks this morning at this roundtable. I would also like to thank Madame Ambassador Sirpa Mäenpää, USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller and colleagues Michelle Chen and Demissie Legesse for making my participation possible. And it would be remiss of me not to thank my friend and comrade, Kalle Könkköllä.
Today’s ceremony is a testament to the resiliency and courage of those who refuse to allow crisis to deter them from the path of progress. In times of crisis, despite the danger and hardships, there is also great opportunity for communities to grow together and build back better.
The findings of the “Women and the Web” study, commissioned by Intel in collaboration with the U.S. Government, show that we have an enormous opportunity to realize economic growth and productivity in African countries by closing the gender gap that currently exists in accessing the Internet.
It’s tough to look around the world today and think about achieving great moral aspirations that we set for ourselves—like ending extreme poverty—when we face unprecedented and immediate humanitarian challenges, from West Africa to Syria to Iraq. The truth is that the poverty, instability, and the sheer human need we are witnessing today challenge us to bring greater—not less—commitment to this mission.
Greetings to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub. I would like to welcome all of our callers who have dialed in from across Africa. Today, we are joined by USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Earl Gast and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Florie Liser. They are speaking to us from Washington D.C. We will begin with remarks from Assistant Administrator Gast, followed by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Liser, and then we will open it up to your questions
Last updated: December 08, 2016