News / USA

Clinton Global Initiative Seeking New Anti-Poverty Plans

Peter Fedynsky
The Clinton Global Initiative or CGI is seeking new designs to help battle poverty and disease around the world, with a special emphasis on new ideas and approaches that will help women and children.  

The world’s urban population is expected to double in the next 20 to 25 years, which means an additional 2.5 billion people living in cities.  That prediction was shared at CGI Monday by Joan Clos, undersecretary general and executive director of UN-HABITAT.  He said the explosive growth will happen in the world’s poorest areas.

Clos added that women are likely to suffer most, because most have no title to property.  

“We cannot allow and give proper leverage capacity to families and to women if they don’t have titles," said Clos. "The question of access to titles by women, as you said, it’s very clear: only one percent of the titles [on] earth [are] owned by [a] woman.”

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, said most women in poor countries have no access to credit and saving programs, nor do they have the right to inherit property.  Granting such rights, he said, would help improve women's lives.

“If a girl doesn’t have a basic shelter in which to live, she’s not going to stay healthy, she won’t have a chance to go to school even if a school’s available, and then she won’t have the chance for a livelihood.  If there aren’t inheritance rights, she’s vulnerable, she’s physically vulnerable," said Reckford.

CGI also examined how health care and education programs can be designed as holistic systems for children, particularly in a newborn’s first 1,000 days. Carolyn Miles, who is CEO of Save the Children, said improper nutrition during that critical period of physical development is known to cause permanent brain damage.  This not only harms affected children, but reduces a nation’s economy by two to three percent.

“So this issue of early nutrition is not just an issue of ‘it’s the right thing to do and of course we should make sure that kids have the right food to eat.’ It’s an economic issue," said Miles.

The president of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Banda, took note of the connection between proper nutrition and the well-being of Africa as a whole.

“Africa has to make a choice [about] what kind of generation they want in the future.  Because a lot will depend on how we take care of our children in the first 1,000 days," said Banda.

This year’s CGI theme, Designing for Impact, also examined how mud brick, one of the world’s most common building materials, can be used to build more homes.  Another specific topic was improved design of kitchens, because many die in them of smoke asphyxiation because of a lack of proper ventilation.

The CGI wraps up Tuesday with scheduled appearances by an array of current and former political leaders, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, both U.S. presidential candidates, and the presidents of Mexico and Egypt.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs