Late last week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her global development agenda, promising to fight HIV/AIDS, end malaria deaths, continue her leadership on basic education for all, expand women's opportunity and children's health, eliminate poor country debt, and improve U.S. development assistance. Advance market commitments for vaccines and consideration of a cabinet-level poverty and international development agency are also part of her global development agenda.
The Clinton campaign says:
America has a long and proud history of fighting poverty and encouraging economic development around the world. But that commitment has lagged relative to our own wealth, and in comparison with other prosperous nations. We need again to reclaim this great tradition, which is a testament to the kindness, generosity, and wisdom of the American people. America has long represented the ideal of opportunity. We must once again reclaim our leadership in promoting opportunity around the world. We do this first and foremost because it is right. And we do it also because it is smart. Gnawing hunger, poverty, and the absence of economic prospects are a recipe for despair. Globalization is widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots within societies and between them. Today, there are more than two billion people living on less than $2 a day.
Committing to global development because it is right and it is smart are dual rationales echoed in the Center for U.S. Global Engagement's Impact 08 framework, Smart Power: Building a Better, Safer World, ONE Vote 08's campaign, and CGD's own Global Development Matters website.
Other highlights of Clinton's global development agenda include:
1. Investing $50 billion for global HIV/AIDS by 2013 to ensure universal access to treatment, prevention and care.
2. Committing to the goal of ending all deaths from malaria in Africa, beginning with a $1 billion per year investment in addition to U.S. commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and encouraging the use of research prizes and advance market commitments to spur innovation to address diseases in poor countries.
3. Continuing Hillary Clinton's leadership in achieving free basic education for all, with a specific focus on girls in poor countries and the opportunities created through secondary as well as primary education.
4. Increasing women's involvement in economic, political, and social sectors around the world as a tool for development and expanding access to health care, reducing maternal mortality and improving access to reproductive health and family planning services.
5. Improving health and opportunity for children through investments in nutrition, vaccines, public health and anti-trafficking.
6. Eliminating debts of the poorest countries including complete debt cancellation for all Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and expanding HIPC to an additional 20 poor countries.
7. Maximize the impact of U.S. development assistance by spending an additional 1% of the U.S. budget on foreign assistance; reviewing all U.S. foreign assistance efforts, in consultation with field experts, and considering consolidating program authority under a single cabinet-level poverty and international development agency; improving coordination with other donor countries; and better tracking, monitoring and evaluating U.S. funds for development assistance.
I again encourage my colleagues to comment further on the specifics of Clinton's proposals. I know they will applaud her support for advance market commitments for vaccines, and idea born out of CGD research, and will be interested in her consideration of a cabinet-level agency for development, and focus on girls' secondary as well as primary education. CGD senior fellow Kim Elliott has also taken notice of Clinton's trade policies that are not mentioned as part of her global development agenda, but will have a strong impact on poor countries (See: Senator Clinton's Disappointing Stance on Trade).
Clinton's global development agenda, released last Thursday, is a welcome addition to the proposals Obama announced two days earlier. I am reminded that John Edwards too put forward a global poverty proposal in March this year. So, we have three candidates talking about global development so far and three agendas we can now compare, discuss, and debate. I invite readers to send me any other statements they hear from the presidential candidates, and am hopeful that we will see similar announcements from the rest of the presidential hopefuls, on what we know is not a partisan issue.