Richard Branson (CEO of Virgin Group) Commits $3 Billion toward Bio-fuel Initiatives; Siemens Commits $10 Million toward Medical Services and Technology in Rural China; Sustainable South Bronx & Bradco Supply Commit $100K Toward Developing Urban Green Space.
President Clinton announced four new commitments at this morning’s plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The session, entitled Manging Diversity in a Globalized World, was attended by panelists President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria moderated the panel discussion.
Following the plenary session, President Clinton joined Richard Branson (CEO, Virgin Group), Klaus Kleinfeld (President and CEO, Siemens), Majora Carter (Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx) and Barry Segal (CEO, Bradco Supply) at a press conference.
Branson announced an estimated $3 billion commitment toward bio-fuel initiatives. Over the next ten years, Virgin Group will invest all future profits from its airline and train businesses into renewable energy initiatives both within the company, as well as further investments in new bio-fuel R&D, production, distribution and other projects to tackle emissions related to global warming.
“We know that there’s a lot of work to do around the world, and a lot of good to do in fundamentally different ways,” said President Clinton. “That’s why it’s hard to overstate the importance of individuals taking action in whatever way they can. I'd like to thank Richard Branson for joining more than 100 individuals and organizations that have committed to change. Richard’s commitment is groundbreaking not only because of the price tag – which is phenomenal – but also because of the statement that he is making: Clean energy is good for the world and it's good for business.”
“We have to limit our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Branson. “We hope that this contribution will help in some small way to enable our children to enjoy this beautiful world.”
Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Siemens, announced Siemens’ commitment of $10 million toward improving the health of rural Chinese by bringing innovative medical technology, including CT scanners, X-ray equipment, and ultrasound technology, to areas that have never had it before.
Majora Carter, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx and Barry Segal, CEO of Bradco Supply announced a partnership to train and manage six to ten “Greenway Stewards” – South Bronx community members, who will manage and protect the new greenway areas that are slowly returning to their community. Segal has committed $100,000 for the first year of this five year project.
The four commitments announced by President Clinton at the plenary session this morning, along with three commitments announced at the press conference, bring the current total of commitments to 114, amounting to $5.7 billion. Last year’s total was $2.5 billion.
The four commitments President Clinton announced at the morning plenary session include:
- Climate Change: To help cut the 190 million tons of pollution that is pumped into California’s air every year by cars, trucks and buses running on gasoline and diesel, Steve Bing is contributing $40 million to “Yes on Proposition 87,” the campaign for the California Clean Energy Initiative. Proposition 87 is a $4 billion effort to reduce California’s dependence on petroleum-based fuels by 25% over the next 10 years. Funded through a fee placed on oil drilling in California, Proposition 87 will be on the state’s ballot in November.
Global Health: In an effort to encourage HIV testing among young people in Africa and the Caribbean, HBO, 70 top African and Caribbean broadcast companies, and the Kaiser Family Foundation have partnered together to produce a set of TV and radio public service ads (PSAs) featuring high-profile, entertainment personalities. HBO has pledged up to $500,000 to cover production costs, while the African and Caribbean broadcasters have contributed the airtime and the Kaiser Family Foundation will provide substantive and messaging support. The ads will debut across 46 African and Caribbean countries on World AIDS Day 2006, and will continue to air throughout 2007, with the possibility of renewal.
Poverty Alleviation: Beginning in October 2006, Standard Chartered Bank will provide development organizations and fund managers in 16 countries across Africa and Asia with $500 million to use to finance microfinance institutions (MFIs). This funding will be distributed in $100 million increments over the course of five years and will benefit 4 million people across Africa and Asia, who are currently excluded from participation in the financial sector. The Bank also aims to support capacity-building programs for MFIs and skills development for loan recipients in these countries.
Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict: The International Peacebuilding Alliance will partner with the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Kigali, Rwanda to establish uruvugiro — permanent forums for debate at the local, provincial and national levels. These forums will engage a wide range of Rwandans in the development of consensus-based solutions for the problems of rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda, including poverty and strengthening the rule of law. The outcomes of these forums, which will be prepared, organized and facilitated by IRDP, will be disseminated throughout Rwanda on radio and television, as well as in the press. This program will begin in November 2006 and cost $580,000 over 3 years ($160,000 in 2006, $205,000 in 2007 and $215,000 in 2008).
The Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan catalyst for action with an emphasis on results. During the three-day annual meeting, attendees participate in workshops and meetings focused on four main topics: Energy & Climate Change; Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict; Poverty Alleviation; and Global Health. Attendees will make specific commitments to address one of the topics covered and will report to President Clinton on the progress made throughout the course of the coming year. Attendees who do not make or keep their commitment will not be invited to attend future meetings.
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