News / USA

Clinton Says Development Aid 'Central Pillar' of US Foreign Policy


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a Washington policy address Wednesday said the Obama administration intends to put development and foreign aid on the same level as diplomacy and military power in U.S. foreign policy.  She also said empowering women around the world is not just a personal priority but a strategic interest of the United States.

Clinton, in office now for nearly a year, has spoken frequently about the need to upgrade and modernize the U.S. foreign aid program. But her speech at a Washington policy institute was the first devoted entirely to the subject and she said it is time to elevate development as a "central pillar" of foreign policy.

The Secretary, speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, said the United States seeks a safer, more prosperous, more democratic and equitable world but it can't be assured of progress toward that goal as long as a third of mankind is mired in poverty.

"We cannot stop terrorism or defeat the ideologies of violent extremism when hundreds of millions of young people see a future with no jobs, no hope and no way ever to catch up to the developed world," said Hillary Clinton. "We cannot build a stable global economy when hundreds of millions of workers and families find themselves on the wrong side of globalization, cut off from markets and out of reach of modern technologies."

The Obama administration has already promised to double the non-military U.S. foreign aid budget to $50 billion a year by 2012 and Clinton's speech offered no new commitments.

But she said the U.S. Agency for International Development, which in the process of doubling its overseas staff, must be rebuilt into the world's premier development agency. She also said the U.S. aid community must have the courage to rethink its strategies and must not simply add up the dollars spent, but assure that the programs achieve lasting change in recipient nations.

"In countries that are incubators of extremism like Yemen, or are ravaged by poverty and natural disasters like Haiti, the odds are long," she said. "But the cost of doing nothing is potentially far greater. We must accept that our development model cannot be formulaic, that which works in Pakistan may not work in Peru. So our approach must be case-by-case and country by country, region-by-region."

Clinton paid tribute to two aid initiatives of the Bush administration - the Millennium Challenge Corporation - which makes grants to countries with concrete plans for good governance and fighting corruption, and PEPFAR - the anti HIV-AIDS program - which has provided millions of Africans and others with anti-viral medications while stressing AIDS prevention.

She also said the administration intends to better coordinate traditional aid programs with others aimed at boosting foreign trade and investment like AGOA, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. 

And she said the United States is moving to put women at the "front and center" of U.S. development work, saying women and girls are one of the world's greatest untapped resources.

"This is not only a strategic interest of the United States, it is an issue of personal importance to me, and one I have worked on for almost four decades," Hillary Clinton. "I will not accept words without deeds when it comes to women's progress. I will hold our agencies accountable for ensuring that our government and our foreign policy support the world's woman and achieve lasting, meaningful progress on this issues."

The Secretary of State said she is working to integrate U.S. aid efforts more closely with diplomacy and defense operations abroad without politicizing aid programs - saying the "3-D's" - development, diplomacy and defense - must be mutually-reinforcing.  She also said that advancing human rights is an "integral part" of the U.S. development agenda. 

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs