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
Good morning everyone. I see that most, if not all prosecutors from BiH Prosecutor’s Offices, have come to this conference. This is very encouraging since the topics you will discuss today are critical in reducing corruption, political patronage and crime; all three cited as the key problems facing the citizens.
As we know recurrent crises affect countries around the world, and last year alone killed more than 20,000 people. Today we are focusing on Asia, and I will briefly provide some relevant data points to help set the stage for our discussion. First, in Bangladesh, rising sea levels threaten to drown one-fifth of the country’s landmass, where 18 million people now reside. In Nepal, over 2 million live on potentially hazardous fault lines, where earthquakes could cause severe damage. According to the World Bank, $1 out of $3 dollars in development funding is lost as a result of recurrent crises, totaling $3.8 trillion over the last 30 years.
Last updated: February 24, 2017