In Washington Tuesday, the White House hosted a summit on
international development. The White House says given the impact of the
financial crisis around the world, it is even more important to pursue a joint
development agenda, which includes lifting people out of poverty, increasing
educational opportunities and fighting disease.
those also addressing the development summit was Ambassador Mark Dybul, the US
Global AIDS Coordinator and head of the $50 million PEPFAR program, the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Ambassador Dybul spoke to VOA
English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about his message.
principle message is that development has been a huge area of success for the
American people over the last eight years under President Bush's leadership.
But with strong bipartisan support it's changed the view of many people around
the world of Americans and who we are. And it's literally lifted millions of
people up and saved their lives," he says.
Dybul says that success is based on a number of principles aside from a
commitment of resources. "And those principles are reaching out in partnership
to people around the world as friends and neighbors, insisting on achieving
results for them, good governance. There's got to be good governance and good
utilization of the resources. Economic development…is very important because,
ultimately, as we now know well from the last couple of weeks, the world is tied
together economically and politically. And so economic growth and development
is essential for our own global economic security and our own political
security," he says.
has hindered development in many countries.
is actually somewhat unique in development when you talk about disease anyway.
Most diseases kill young and old, whether it's cancer or heart disease.
HIV/AIDS uniquely infects and kills 15- to 50-year-old people. That means it's
knocking out a generation of the most productive and reproductive segment of
society. Most people actually have a misperception that HIV is a disease of the
very poor. It is not. It's actually a disease of people who have climbed the
first couple of rungs on the socio-economic ladder," he says.
Dybul says the disease targets parents, teachers, health care works and
peacekeepers and has created some 15 million orphans, most of them in
example, he says, "Two-thirds of new teachers in Zambia were dying from
HIV/AIDS. There's no hope for economic growth and development when two-thirds
of your new teachers are dying."
for the relationship between PEPFAR and development, Ambassador Dybul says, "In
the hardest hit countries, unless we solve the HIV/AIDS problem, we cannot
succeed as much as possible in development…. The President's Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief is the largest international health initiative for a single disease
ever…. But it's part of a new era in development…. A shift that focuses on
principles that utilizes resources in an effective way…. New thinking is needed
because the old thinking wasn't working. We had a lot of resources committed
and not always a lot to show for it."
There has been concern that
international aid from the United States and other rich nations could be scaled
back due to the economic crisis. Will the crisis affect PEPFAR funding?
Ambassador Dybul says, "We hope not…. If we do not maintain an emphasis on
global development, on ensuring a stable economic and political future for the
world, that risks the United States. So development is not just a humanitarian
exercise, it's a self-interested exercise and now is not the time to be looking
inward. Now is the time to be looking outward to ensure that we have a
long-term, stable economic and political future."