Clinton Global Initiative Launched by Former President


This is Shep O'Neal with the VOA Special English Development Report.

World leaders gathered in New York earlier this month for the sixtieth anniversary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. At the same time, another big meeting also took place in the city. It was the first meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Former President Bill Clinton organized the conference with goals in four areas. One is to reduce poverty. Another is to use religion as a force for understanding and conflict resolution. The third is to use business and technology to fight climate change. And the fourth is to strengthen governments.

More than one thousand people attended the three-day meeting. They included current and former leaders from different countries. They also included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Business leaders, educators and representatives of non-profit groups also attended.

Each person was asked to take action in the coming year in one of the four areas of the Clinton Global Initiative. By the close of the meeting, there were promises of more than one thousand million dollars in support.

Among the projects announced were two power stations in the Dominican Republic to produce energy from wind. They are expected to cost one hundred thirty million dollars. Also, an international effort was launched to finance projects around the world that use energy from the sun.

To fight poverty, the former chief of the African wireless-telephone company Celtel announced an investment program for Africa. Mohamed Ibrahim said he would launch the African Enterprise Private Investment Fund with a gift of one hundred million dollars. Money will be directed at small and medium-size businesses.

Another project brings together the Christian aid group World Vision and the Global Business Coalition. The plan calls for them to spend tens of millions of dollars in the next five years to help fight H.I.V. and AIDS. The work is to be done through small-business development.

Mister Clinton himself plans to work with Scottish businessman Tom Hunter to launch new development programs. Mister Hunter agreed to give one hundred million dollars to spend over the next ten years. The project will be launched in Africa.

Mister Clinton says he plans to hold a global initiative conference every year.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Our reports are on the Web at WWW.51VOA.COM. I'm Shep O'Neal.