News / USA

Obama Announces New US Development Policy

President Barack Obama Wednesday announced a new U.S. international global development policy focused on incentives for economic growth, rather than outright grants of food or financial aid. His address came at the end of a three-day United Nations summit on the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals.

Mr. Obama is making clear that the United States is not abandoning its role as a leading provider of emergency aid, as seen in its recent response to natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

But in his address to the closing session of the review conference on Millennium Development Goals, he said the U.S. foreign assistance program will henceforth focus on helping low-income countries actually develop - moving from poverty to prosperity.

"Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn't always improved those societies over the long-term," said President Obama. "Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for decades. That's not development, that's dependence, and it's a cycle we need to break. Instead of just managing poverty, we have to offer nations and peoples a path out of poverty."

The themes sounded by the President in the address to the 140-country gathering are not entirely new, and incorporate some initiatives begun by the previous Bush administration including its Millennium Challenge grants to countries that commit to good governance and self help.

But the approach has now been incorporated in an unprecedented presidential policy directive on global development signed by Mr. Obama earlier Wednesday.

The directive declares that development in the world's poorer countries is vital to U.S. national security and is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States.

In the speech, Mr. Obama defended his roll-out of the new policy at a time of hard economic times in the United States. He said progress in the poorest countries can advance the interests of people far beyond their borders, including Americans.

"When millions of fathers cannot provide for their families, it feeds the despair that can fuel instability and violent extremism," said Mr. Obama. "When a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger the health of millions around the world. So let's put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests. And let's reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty."

Mr. Obama said the new U.S. strategy will seek to break down trade barriers and combat official corruption, which he said in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity, and a profound violation of human rights.

The U.N. summit delivered a mixed report on fulfillment of the Millennium Development goals set by the world body ten years ago.

Most advanced economies including the United States failed to reach the goal of devoting seven tenths of one per cent of their annual gross national product to development aid, though officials say the U.S. remains by far the largest single donor in terms of total assistance.

Leaders of developing countries urged rich countries to stay committed to development goals, with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, among others, complaining of a protectionist trend spawned by the global economic downturn.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Wednesday launched a $40-billion global strategy to make headway on maternal and child health, one of the slowest moving sectors of the Millennium goals - aimed at saving the lives of 16 million woman and children over the next five years.

The summit countries have set a revised 2015 deadline for fulfilling the millennium goals.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid