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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Other Releases > 2006
USUN Press Release

United Nations, NYC
December 6, 2006


USUN Stakeout, December 6, 2006 (HIV/AIDS)

Madame President,

The United Nations Charter's mandate for economic and social development is found in article 55. It reads as follows: "…the United Nations shall promote higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development." "Conditions…of progress and development." It is clear from this phrase that the founders of this great institution saw development as a process, not a goal. Development is not something one achieves; it is something one does. It is a process of change, improvement and growth.

How strange our language is on this subject! We divide ourselves into developed countries and developing countries. What does it mean to be "developed?" Does the process of development stop? And why, when we speak of "developing" countries, do we automatically express concern? Do we not all strive to be "developing?" A continuing process of development is precisely what the UN Charter instructs us to promote.

It is not my intention to belabor a point of semantics. But I do want to note that our language is imprecise, and because of this, it is vitally important that our thinking be clear. Our concern here is not for developing countries per se, but rather for those that are not developing, not changing, not progressing, at least not fast enough to provide higher standards of living for their populations.

In economics, we measure the rate at which a country is progressing or developing primarily by measuring the rate at which its income per capita is growing. We achieve income growth by increasing productivity. We increase productivity primarily by improving health, education, and access to capital. The Millennium Summit's Millennium Development Goals reflect the international community's emphasis on the first two of these factors, health and education. They concentrate heavily in these areas. The United States interacts in many ways with countries that are not developing, or developing too slowly, to help improve the health and education levels of their populations.

During the Bush administration, U.S. Government international support for primary education has gone from $98 Million in 2000 to over $465 Million this year. The United States provides the highest dollar-level of Official Development Assistance for primary education of any donor, and at least 70% of all United States ODA to education goes specifically to primary education.

In the area of health, the United States has made the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease -- a five-year, $15 billion, multi-faceted approach to combat HIV/AIDS in over 120 countries. The United States has also been, by far, the largest donor nation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. During 2004 and 2005, the U.S. contributed $873 million to the Global Fund. The United States intends to contribute $844.5 million to the Global Fund for 2006 and 2007, bringing the total U.S. contribution to over $2.3 billion.

Through contributions such as these, the United States intends to combat ignorance, relieve suffering, help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and enable people in poorer countries to enjoy happier, more productive lives.

Surprisingly, the Millennium Summit paid little attention to the most significant factor that increases productivity: access to capital. In 2002, the UN addressed that oversight at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development. The Monterrey Consensus focused on ways to mobilize capital for development through domestic savings, international trade, foreign direct investment, debt relief, and official development assistance. The importance of domestic sources of capital was highlighted through path-breaking work by economist Hernando De Soto, who estimated, for example, that as much as $9.3 trillion of untitled real estate capital was owned by the poor in developing countries. What was needed to access and put this capital to work was regulatory reform, property rights, the rule of law, and a streamlined business environment. Globalization was recognized as a second extraordinary potential source of capital, with gains from trade in the hundreds of billions of dollars available in a liberalized trade environment. Other sources of public and private capital, like debt relief, foreign direct investment, and remittances, were also recognized as significant.

At Monterrey, President Bush called for the establishment of a "new compact for global development." By January 2004, this new compact became established as the Millennium Challenge Account, which offers help to countries that undertake regulatory and governance reforms that ensure the effective use of assistance. The goal is to help such countries integrate more fully into the global economic system and access the vastly larger sources of capital that are available in the private sector.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation has identified more than two dozen countries eligible for assistance, and signed multiyear commitments with ten of them. Just recently, Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world with only $380 in per capita income, signed on to a compact that will dedicate nearly half a billion dollars to irrigation, transportation, and industrial infrastructure development. In just two years, the Millennium Challenge Program has provided over $3 billion in foreign aid to countries that have taken ownership and responsibility for their own development.

The United States has also become the largest provider of trade-related assistance. In December 2005, at the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong, the U.S. announced its plan to more than double its contributions to the global Aid for Trade program, from $1.34 billion in 2005 to $2.7 billion annually by 2010. Net goods imports by the United States from the developing countries totaled $487 Billion in 2005- dwarfing the size of other financial flows to these countries.

Finally, non-trade private financial flows from the U.S. to poorer countries, in the form of personal remittances, net private investment, and NGO grants, total $119 Billion- 4 times the amount of U.S. ODA.

Madame President, in the beginning, I noted that development is a process, a process of change, improvement, and growth. Through programs and policies such as those I have described, the goal of my government is to help others, and particularly the poorest, to make that process as rapid and as profound as possible.

# 381(06)


Released on December 7, 2006

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