September 28, 2015
Sep 28

2015 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting Continues with Announcements of New Commitments to Action

New York, NY
Press Release

New York, NY – Today, at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton announced new Commitments to Action that will address pressing global challenges. Speakers discussed ways to empower individuals to create wealth and break cycles of inequality; the impact of innovation on our societies, environment and economies; and climate change and resiliency.


Highlights included:

·         A morning Plenary Session moderated by Rana Foroohar, Assistant Managing Editor and Economics Columnist, Global Economic Analyst, TIME, CNN, about ways to promote quality lifelong learning, adequate nutrition, and improved health outcomes, starting with early childhood development. Participants Jessica Biel, Ambassador to the "Then Who Will" Campaign, WomanCare Global; Robert Collymore, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom Limited; Maryana Iskander, Chief Executive Officer, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator; Art Peck, Chief Executive Officer, Gap Inc.; Hanne Rasmussen, Chief Executive Officer, The LEGO Foundation; and Joseph Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, discussed how CGI members can empower individuals to build wealth for their families by connecting them to the formal financial system and eliminating barriers to asset and property ownership.

·         A CGI Conversation moderated by CNBC's Becky Quick, Co-anchor, Squawk Box, CNBC, on “Making the Economy Work for People,” which was streamed live online. The session featured Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President of Industry, Box, Founder, Box.orgJim Brett, President, West Elm; John Chambers, Executive Chairman of the Board, Cisco; Erica Kochi, Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director, UNICEF, Co-founder and Co-lead, UNICEF Innovation; and John McFarlane, Chairman, Barclays; concluding with a one-on-one conversation with President Clinton.

·         The afternoon plenary session moderated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History, which discussed access to and use of today’s innovations in underserved communities to ensure benefits can be shared by all. Participants Sangeeta Bhatia, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group and Virgin Unite; and Fereshteh Forough, Founder and President, Code to Inspire, emphasized the importance of investing in research and development to advance new ideas and technologies for social and environmental change. The session also featured a special appearance by Pepper, Social Humanoid Robot, Aldebaran and SoftBank.

·         The last plenary of the day focused on creating incentives and reducing risk for all sectors to invest in clean and renewable energy, and energy efficiency programs. The session was moderated by Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, and featured a discussion between Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Republic of Colombia; Pelenise Alofa, National Coordinator and Country Manager, Kiribati Climate Action Network and Live & Learn Environmental Education; Theresa Jester, Chief Executive Officer, Silicor Materials, Inc.; and Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group.

·         The Clinton Climate Initiative, in partnership with Conservation International, Esri, Federated States of Micronesia, Global Environment Facility, GPC Group, GRID-Arendal, Republic of Seychelles, Saint Vincent And The Grenadines, SIDS DOCK, The Nature Conservancy, Waitt Institute, and World Bank Group, joined a DigitalGlobe commitment, “Blue Guardians: Protecting Oceans & Enabling Blue Economies.” The partnership committed to providing resources needed to develop national climate resilience strategies and an associated pipeline of investment projects related to increasing coastal resiliency to climate change, marine and fisheries conservation, and renewable energy.

·         Aclima and Google announced that google street view cars will be outfitted with aclima technology and will drive throughout california cities’ streets at different times throughout the day to gather data on local air quality and pollution levels. The information will be analyzed by scientists and ultimately mapped on Google Earth for public access.

·         Five commitments made as part of the 2014 Energy Poverty Call to Action were announced. These commitments concentrate on providing clean energy to the 1.3 billion people who lack access to electricity, as well as the millions more whose livelihoods are limited by expensive, unreliable energy sources.

·         A group of seven commitments were announced in response to the 2014 Water Scarcity Call to Action. These commitments address water availability and quality issues across the globe, including industrial and agricultural water use, contamination of water supplies, and lack of access to clean water for underserved communities.


Additionally, President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and CGI commitment-makers announced new Commitments to Action and reported progress of commitments made at past CGI Annual Meetings.


Commitments announced in Plenary Sessions today include:


Books For All: A Digital Library for 5 Million People

Commitment by: Worldreader

Partner(s): United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Penguin Random House, Inc., Longhorn Publishers, Pratham, Microsoft, Rosetta Books, Cisco Foundation, Vodafone Group Foundation, Hesperian Books


In 2014, Worldreader committed to provide 5 million people with increased access to digital books in the next three years. The organization will quadruple the size of its digital library by 20,000 book titles, adding titles in English and local languages, with a particular focus on STEM and health content, as well as increase the number of distribution channels available by creating Android-based and web browser mobile reading applications. Worldreader announced today that as of March 2015, 4,230 books have been added to its global library, with a focus on reading materials that are about girls’ empowerment and STEM. Worldreader has reached 489,725 more readers since the CGI commitment was realized.


P.A.C.E. Academy: Programs to Advance Women and Girls

Commitment by: Gap Inc.

Partner(s): ICRW, Swasti, Health Resource Center, CARE


In 2015, Gap Inc. committed to adapt and expand its Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement Program (P.A.C.E.) to support a total of one million women and girls over the next five years. Having provided 30,000 women to date with transformational life skills education and technical training, Gap Inc. committed to increase the implementation of P.A.C.E. within its supply chain to support over 450,000 women garment workers. Initially a proprietary workplace program, Gap Inc. also committed to develop new curricula and pursue licensing agreements with NGOs, corporations, and schools to deliver tailored training to more than 500,000 women and adolescent girls in geographies and sectors beyond those where Gap Inc. has a direct interest. The expansion of P.A.C.E. in workplace and community settings will allow women and girls to acquire the confidence, life skills, and technical abilities needed to enhance their career opportunities and socio-economic mobility.


LEGO Foundation / BRAC Play Lab Project

Commitment by: LEGO Foundation

Partner(s): BRAC USA, BRAC International, BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University


In 2015, the LEGO Foundation committed to promote the importance of learning through play in the developing world through the BRAC Play Lab Project in Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania. The BRAC Play Lab Project is a partnership between the LEGO Foundation, BRAC International in Uganda and Tanzania, BRAC USA, and the Centre for Play at BRAC University’s Institute of Educational Development in Bangladesh. The Centre for Play adopts an ecosystem approach to program design and development to ensure that the most vulnerable children and families have increased access to quality early childhood development services and education. The three-year commitment includes developing and piloting the Play Lab, a model for integrating learning through play into the lives of young children. The pilot will include 240 new Play Labs for 7,200 children aged three to five, training for 480 adolescent girls as paraprofessional play-leaders, and sessions for 7,200 parents on the importance of play. The project will include the design of safe and sustainable play spaces and materials with low-cost materials for children from birth to ten years old. A play consortium of national and global play-based experts will collate best practices on learning through play to support the project development, and the initiative will be monitored, evaluated and researched to establish an evidence-based proof of concept of a scalable Play Lab model based on low-cost and high impact interventions.


Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator Program

Commitment by: Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

Partner(s): Yellowwoods Investments, Republic of South Africa National Treasury


In 2015, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator committed to scaling up its proven demand-driven model by providing: (1) job placements/work experiences to 50,000 young people (2) demand-driven work-seeker support to 250,000 young people and (3) investment in insights and research to transform the labor market. Specifically, job placements will include 30,000 jobs of one-year in length and 20,000 job experiences of at least three-months in length that are responsive to demand-side dynamics. Work seeker support includes providing youth with an assessment to provide them with a sense of direction, mentoring, guidance on developing a CV and interview preparation, digital citizenship including an email address, and linking and referral to a range of learning and work opportunities. Finally, collaboration with research institutions, universities, think tanks and youth program partners will continue to influence systemic change in the labor market by building the case for employers to invest in young, first-time work entrants. Ultimately, the commitment will impact the lives of 300,000 South African youth.  


African Rhino Protection Program

Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries

Partner(s): Peace Parks Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, South African National Parks, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Government of South Africa


In 2014, the United Postcode Lotteries and their partners, Peace Parks Foundation and World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands, committed to tackling and fighting rhino poaching crime syndicates through a multi-pronged approach. This approach will help conserve Southern Africa's rhino population, supporting countries and their conservation agencies, and ultimately securing vital and valuable rural livelihoods through their Rhino Protection Programme. This commitment also expands their successful rhino horn devaluation program in various parts of Africa. Under this commitment, World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands will establish a Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) in The Hague to reduce poaching and trafficking of threatened species by activating justice for wildlife crime in key countries and holding governments accountable for lack of action.


Gene-RADAR for Ebola: Stopping the Next Outbreak

Commitment by: Nanobiosym Diagnostics, Inc.


In 2015, Nanobiosym Diagnostics, Inc. committed to accelerate the validation, launch, and uptake of NBS’s XPrize winning Gene-RADAR technology platform to provide resource limited settings with the tools and data necessary to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to an Ebola outbreak before it becomes a pandemic. This commitment will involve a multi-phased approach that will fully leverage the breakthrough Gene-RADAR platform (for real-time, point of care, fully automated, quantitative, presymptomatic Ebola diagnosis) to create affordable access and adoption to the countries and programs in the most urgent need. NBS will pilot this work in Liberia but eventually hopes to make this technology available to all countries interested in building the capability to rapidly respond to Ebola and/or other infectious disease outbreaks.


New Financial Models for Humanitarian Response

Commitment by: Start Network

Partner(s): World Vision, Oxfam, Concern Worldwide, International Medical Corps, GlobalAgRisk, Box


In 2015, the Start Network and its partners committed to improving the way the humanitarian sector responds to disasters by developing a layered menu of funding mechanisms to enable faster and more effective response by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To do so, the Start Network will: 1) scale the Start Fund, the first NGO-managed pooled fund for rapid humanitarian response which releases funds within 72 hours of the declaration of a small-medium scale crisis, such as a landslide or flood, and 2) pilot and scale three new financial mechanisms to enable NGOs to respond to a high impact event, such as drought and epidemics. Over a three year period, the products will be tested and scaled, and they will be made available to the 24 NGOs that comprise the Start Network.  


Partnership to Map Air Pollution Across California Cities

Commitment by: Aclima

Partner(s): Google


In 2015, Aclima and Google Maps committed to using a newly-developed mobile sensor-based technology platform to measure and map air quality in at least three major metropolitan areas, including communities in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Central Valley regions. Aclima and Google will equip Google Street View cars with Aclima’s sensing platform, and drive city streets gathering measurements on air pollution, which affects human health and contributes to climate change. Once collected, the air quality data will be processed, analyzed, and aggregated by Aclima’s data platform, and made available on Google Earth Engine, Google’s geospatial analysis platform. The data will then be made available to scientists and air quality experts. They will explore ways to utilize this data at the community scale and explore its implications for human health and the environment. Community members will be able to access and view street-level air quality maps, overlaid on Google Earth and Google Maps.


Bringing Warmth to 100,000 Babies

Commitment by: Embrace Innovations

Partner(s): Embrace / Thrive Networks, Millennium Promise, Salesforce


In 2015, Embrace Innovations committed to help save the lives of 100,000 babies across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the Embrace infant warmer. Embrace warmers are an innovative solution to regulating the temperature of vulnerable infants; the warmers do not require a constant supply of electricity, and they cost a fraction of the prices of existing solutions. Embrace Innovations’ nonprofit partners will help with the implementation of the infant warmers on the ground in sites where they are working on newborn care, including government and NGO hospitals and clinics. Embrace Innovations will provide funding to partner organizations to procure warmers and to conduct all relevant training. To fund this initiative for the next three years, Embrace Innovations is launching a new line of baby products in the US called Little Lotus Baby. For every US product sold, Embrace will donate $25 to their nonprofit partners for one baby to be helped by the Embrace warmer in a developing country – covering all training and logistical costs.


Healthy Honey Bees: Linking Food Security & the Environment

Commitment by: Monsanto Company

Partner(s): National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance, Western Growers, American Honey Producers Association, American Beekeeping Federation, Eastern Kentucky University, National Cotton Council of America, Project Apis m., The Keystone Alliance, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Field to Market


In 2013, Monsanto committed to addressing the collapse of the honey bee population in United States through the implementation of on the ground solutions to restore and protect honey bee populations. This commitment will tackle four key issues: parasites and pathogens, poor nutrition, the use of pesticides, agricultural practices, and the economic empowerment of bee keepers. Today, Monsanto announced progress with their commitment, initiating a multi-stakeholder forum, discussing how organizations can provide forage for honey bees, and investing over $1 million in a research and development team that can develop novel varroa control methods.


EmPOWERing Africa – Bridging the Energy Poverty Gap

Commitment by: Fuel Freedom Foundation

Partner(s): IESE Business School


In 2015, Fuel Freedom Foundation committed to implementing EmPOWERING Africa: Bridging the Energy Poverty Gap, a graduate-level energy knowledge transfer program seeking to address Africa’s endemic energy poverty. Fuel Freedom will provide seed capital and significant knowledge transfer to IESE Business School, the graduate business school of the University of Navarra, to create a professorial “Chair in Energy.” Realizing the important gap in knowledge, practice, and infrastructure of managing large-scale energy systems, Fuel Freedom’s program curriculum will equip professionals in emerging markets with the tools needed to understand and improve their own energy landscapes. The program stands out as the first attempt made by a global institution to teach an energy program specifically tailored to the countries whose unique issues it seeks to address. Following its successful implementation in Kenya, the program will expand into two new countries annually through 2020.


Job Training and Clean Energy Access in Africa and Peru

Commitment by: Enel SpA

Partner(s): Barefoot College, ELIS (NGO)


In 2015, Enel Green Power committed to support community development in regions struggling with accessing reliable energy sources. The commitment comes in two parts: providing households in Africa with access to electricity, and industrial development in Peru. First, EGP is expanding their partnership with Barefoot College to Africa, supporting their programwhich empowers women from the poorest communities to become solar entrepreneurs. They will train five Masai women as solar engineers in Kenya and 40 women in Tanzania, resulting in the electrification of 750 households in two years. EGP will also construct the Barefoot College Training Center in Tanzania. EGP will also support the development of Peru’s San Juan de Marcona economy, where energy insecurity stalls economic growth in the community. Along with training local women as solar engineers, EGP will implement an off grid solution in the effort to redesign the fishing value chain in two steps. They will first enhance product value by introducing new techniques, followed by product diversification through creating an algae and urchin hatchery facility largely reliant on renewable energy.


Solar for Social Services & Sustainability Training at Grace Garden

Commitment by: Border Green Energy Team Foundation

Partner(s): Glow Group PLC., Planete d’Entrepreneurs


In 2015, the Border Green Energy Team (BGET) Foundation committed to providing sustainable solar energy systems to Thailand’s Tak Province, home to thousands of Karen refugees from southeastern Myanmar. The team will oversee the installation of thirty solar arrays on schools, medical clinics, childcare centers, and other public places in Noh Bo village and Mae La refugee camp. They will also recruit, train, and hire four local technicians to assist with the installations and provide ongoing maintenance services. In addition, BGET will host short- and long-term trainings on sustainable living, including solar energy technical skills and other income-generating skills at BGET’s Grace Garden Sustainable Living and Learning Centre (GGSC), a learning and vocational education complex for orphaned refugee children and other marginalized peoples living on the Thailand-Myanmar border.


Pay As You Go Energy: Supporting Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs With Scaling Finance

Commitment by: Lumeter Networks

Partner(s): Fosera, Boma Investments


In 2015, Lumeter committed to helping alleviate energy poverty in Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America by partnering with Fosera solar to expand its Pay-As-You-Go portfolio and recruit Renewable Energy Providers in 50 or more countries by the end of 2017. Additionally, Lumeter will work with partner Boma Investments to launch the Scaling Energy Access Loans (SEAL) platform to help residents and smallholder farmers access capital for solar energy. Lumeter plans to raise a minimum of $2,000,000 for SEAL by the end of 2017. With Pay-As-You-Go technology combined with SEAL, Lumeter and its partners will enable rural populations previously living without electricity to afford the critical service by paying over a period of time, and effectively minimize the risk for the customers, investors, and providers. SEAL could result in up to 30,000 households and 250 microenterprises and SMEs receiving access to electricity for the first time.


Scaling Up Power for All

Commitment by: Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA)

Partner(s): Practical Action, Solar Aid, d.light


In 2015, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) committed to supporting the scale-up of the Power for All campaign, which is a new and innovative approach to securing decentralized renewable energy solutions (DRE) as the preferred go-to approach to universal energy access. GOGLA will play a leading role in recruiting and training 100 organizations as partners in the Power for All Campaign. GOGLA and its founding partners have developed a unique grassroots and “grass-tops” approach to provide access to support collective action and common messaging. Starting with a focus on 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, it will engage the sector’s leaders and mobilize its manufacturers, distributors, developers, and consumers to disrupt business as usual approaches to electrification in the belief that universal energy access can be achieved before 2030.


Reaching 1 New Person with Clean Water Every 10 Seconds

Commitment by: World Vision

Partner(s): Procter & Gamble, Sesame Workshop, Coca-Cola, Grundfos, United Solar Initiative, University of North Carolina Water Institute, Denver Mattress, Kohler, Water Now, Water4, Well Spring for the World, Drexel University, Design Outreach, Desert Research Institute, Messiah College


In 2015, World Vision and partners committed to reaching one new person every ten seconds with clean water and sanitation on or before 2020, directly impacting 13 million people in 36 countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. To do so, World Vision will form committees in each of the communities in which they work which are responsible for managing the community’s water points, which may include traditional boreholes with a hand pump, mechanized boreholes with solar power, protected springs, and rainwater harvesting. As girls and women bear the burden of collecting water globally, World Vision will specifically engage women in leadership positions within the committees. This commitment scales upon World Vision’s 2011 commitment to provide water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in 10 African countries.  


The Freshwater Health Initiative

Commitment by: Conservation International

Partner(s): WWF-US, NASA, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)


In 2015, Conservation International (CI) and partners committed to developing the Freshwater Health Initiative, an open data resource, which will enable stakeholders to understand the relationships between healthy ecosystems and the benefits they provide. Over the course of two years, CI will conduct a series of case studies in river basins, including the Pearl River (southern China) and Lower Mekong (Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam), and host regional workshops with local partners, including universities, provincial and national authorities, and nongovernmental organizations. Results from the case studies will be disseminated and a website will host a toolbox for key stakeholders to conduct their own assessments. As a result, stakeholders will have access to information necessary to evaluate scenarios in other geographies, such as climate variability, population growth, and water allocation, to illustrate trade-offs and to assess the policies required to ensure that freshwater systems remain productive and their benefits accessible into the future.


Water Secure, Resilient Communities in Kenya & Uganda

Commitment by: Wetlands International

Partner(s): IRC, Netherlands Red Cross


In 2015, Wetlands International and its partners committed to improve water security and reduce water-related disaster risks in Kenya and Uganda, countries in which approximately one-third of the population lacks access to clean water, and two-thirds to improved sanitation. Over three years, Wetlands International will identify three hotspot watersheds where communities are vulnerable to water stresses and natural disasters and will strengthen civil society by training at least 180 individuals to advocate for their needs, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups such as downstream water users and women and girls. In addition, Wetlands International will engage key stakeholders at the watershed, national and international levels to make informed choices about investment plans such as irrigation and dams in the region.


Groundwater: Data to Drive Action Toward Sustainability

Commitment by: Qlik Technologies

Partner(s): Circle of Blue, Columbia Water Center, University of California, Irvine, Pacific Institute, Twitter


In 2015, Qlik and its partners committed to create dashboards and visualizations that display the groundwater supplies and related water flows in California and the American West in order to help inform and impact important water decisions such as allocation, policy changes, pricing, crisis response and infrastructure. To do so, Qlik and its partners, including Circle of Blue and Twitter, will utilize historical big data, real-time information, on-the-ground reportage, and public engagement. Over the course of three years, after mapping the groundwater and water flows in California and the American West. Qlik and its partners will expand its scope to national and then to global groundwater supplies, providing a visual, trusted, cumulative, and collaborative resource for decision makers, researchers, media, and the public.


Bringing Health to Idjwi: Partnership to Reduce NTDs

Commitment by: Amani Global Works

Partner(s): The END Fund, Segal Family Foundation, Vitol Foundation, Child Relief International


In 2015, Amani Global Works committed to decrease the prevalence of three Neglected-Tropical Diseases (NTDs), intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and lymphatic filariasis, through the treatment of at-risk communities on the island of Idjwi, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Simultaneously, Amani Global Works will educate the community and health providers on NTD treatment and prevention. The program adopts a comprehensive approach, including Mass Drug Administration, a school WASH program, and a bed net distribution program. With the help of 500 recruited and trained community health workers, this program will be implemented to treat virtually all 250,000 inhabitants of Idjwi across three years.


Engaging and Educating Investors on Water Risk

Commitment by: Ceres

Partner(s): Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk


In 2015, Ceres commits to launch the Investor Water Hub, a formal working group that will educate investors, such as pension funds and asset managers, how to better address water-related risks in their investment decision-making. The Hub will convene quarterly to promote peer-to-peer learning and will provide a platform for collective projects and research. As a result, over three years, five major investors will assess their water-related investment risks, Ceres will recruit an additional 15 members to the Hub beyond the initial 25 members, and will mobilize at least 20 investor leaders to advocate for water-related policy progress. In addition, Ceres will launch a web portal that will be accessible to the public, which will include a variety of water-related investor resources and case studies to facilitate investor education by highlighting the risks as well as the return benefits of water sustainability practices.


Expansion of LifeStraw® Follow the Liters Program

Commitment by: Vestergaard

Partner(s): EarthEasy, WaterNlife


In 2015, Vestergaard committed to expand its LifeStraw® Follow the Liters Program, providing access to safe water for over 200,000 primary school students by installing 2,549 LifeStraw® filters at 330 schools in western Kenya. This scale up is funded by a self-sustaining business model; for every LifeStraw® product sold, Vestergaard’s distributors, EarthEasy and WaterN’Life, provide a portion of the funds for the program. Schools are selected in consultation with Sub-County Education Officers according to safe water availability, funding, and poverty level. Local LifeStraw® staff will provide comprehensive education to school staff and students on maintenance and the importance of sanitation and hygiene, along with providing follow-up visits every term.




About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

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