Tag Archives: sustainable development

New York to Award $2.5 Million Prizes in Global Competition to Reimagine State’s Canal System for Economic Development, Tourism

Recreational uses on The Erie Canal like MidLakes Navigation’s canalboats have brought economic revitalization for canaltowns like Fairport in upstate New York © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York State is holding a global competition to find the best ideas to re-imagine the New York State Canal System so it becomes an engine for economic growth upstate as well as a world-class tourist destination. The competition, run by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation, is awarding up to $2.5 million to develop and implement the winning ideas.

“The Canal System is a vital part of New York’s storied past and it is critical that it continues to be an essential component of our state’s future,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “We’re looking for bold and innovative ideas that ensure the canal system and its surrounding communities can grow and prosper and with this competition, we encourage bright minds from across the globe to contribute their best ideas to help bring this piece of history to new heights.”

“Originally labeled Clinton’s Folly, the Erie Canal went on to become one of the most significant transportation milestones in our history, putting Upstate NY on the path to a century of prosperity,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “It is fitting that now, as we celebrate its bicentennial, we re-imagine how this iconic Canal can once again become an engine for economic growth across New York State.”

The competition was announced as New York continues the celebration of the bicentennial of the beginning of construction on the Erie Canal, in Rome, N.Y., on July 4, 1817. Next year, the State will mark the centennial of the 524-mile state Canal System, which includes the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego canals.

“There are many people in the public and private sector who are passionate about the canals,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, which operates the state Canal System as a subsidiary. “We want to translate that passion into sustainable projects that will make the canal corridor bigger and better.”

Quiniones unveiled the competition today at the World Canals Conference in Syracuse, where hundreds of canal experts and enthusiasts from three continents are meeting this week.

“The building of the Erie Canal took persistence, vision and overcoming deep skepticism, but its construction transformed this nation,” Brian U. Stratton, New York State Canal Corporation director said. “Now, we want to transform the canals so they become go-to travel and recreation destinations. The entries can come from anywhere. Good ideas have no boundaries.”

The goals of the competition include soliciting programs and initiatives that promote:

  • The Canal System and its trails as a tourist destination and recreational asset for New York residents and visitors;
  • Sustainable economic development along the Canal System;
  • The Canal System’s heritage; and
  • The long-term financial sustainability of the Canal Corporation

The competition will seek entries on two separate tracks, one for infrastructure; the other for programs that have the potential to increase recreation use and tourism.

In the first round, entrants will provide information about how their proposal meets core competition goals and outlines the applicant’s qualifications. Finalists will each receive $50,000 to implement their ideas for the second round, where they will partner with either a municipality along the Canal System or a non-profit engaged in canal-related work. A panel of judges will select two or more winners to receive between $250,000 and $1.5 million to plan their projects and implement them.

Submissions for the first round are due Dec. 4. The final winners will be announced next spring.

For more information, go to www.reimaginethecanals.com.

Climate Disasters Should Force Re-think of Trump (‘Cheater-in-Chief’) Tax Plan

How will the nation fund the recovery from the increasingly devastating climate disasters? The lates record-breaking climate catastrophes, Harvey and Irma, should cause re-thinking of the investment in climate action and Trump’s plan to cut taxes for the wealthiest © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Hurricane Harvey had just devastated Texas, the worst natural disaster up until two weeks later when the entire state of Florida was about to be destroyed by Hurricane Irma, as whole Caribbean island nations as well as the US territory of Puerto Rico had their infrastructure utterly decimated. And Hurricane Jose was on Irma’s tail. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Oregon were being consumed by record wildfires. Congress had authorized $15 billion toward Hurricane Harvey relief and to replenish the nearly depleted funds of FEMA.

Indeed, in North Dakota on September 6, as Hurricane Irma was barreling toward Florida, Trump, the Tax-Cheat-in-Chief, gave an incoherent speech touting his tax plan that began with his incredulity in discovering that North Dakota was undergoing a massive drought.

“I just said to the governor, I didn’t know you had droughts this far north.  Guess what?  You have them.  But we’re working hard on it and it’ll disappear.  It will all go away,” Trump said.

Accuweather is projecting the cost of Harvey and Irma alone at $290 billion, or 1.5% of total GDP, which would erase the growth of the economy through year-end, according to Dr. Joel N. Myers, president and chairman.

That’s also more than one-fourth of the $1 trillion that Trump proposed for a 10-year infrastructure plan. Where will the money come from? And if all infrastructure spending has to be directed to Texas and Florida, where does that leave the rest of the country? Not to mention the $1 billion Trump is demanding as down payment on a $70 billion border wall.

Does this get you thinking that Trump and his administration, especially EPA Administrator and shill for the oil industry Scott Pruitt, should rethink their self-serving notion of climate change denial (self-serving because it is used to fuel their argument that they can overturn environmental regulations on the massively profitable fossil fuel industry)? Of course not.

But it should also cause them to rethink their totally corrupt plan for tax reform which is intended to starve the federal government of funds, balloon the budget deficit and national debt, all to shift more of wealth to the already fabulously wealthy. Especially when so many people have lost their businesses and jobs, which will certainly impact tax revenues.

Let’s just consider for a moment what taxes are supposed to be for. And yes, a considerable amount goes to pay for interest on bonds, but bonds are what are used to pay for infrastructure – they represent an investment in the future. And as we are considering how to replace the destroyed and decimated infrastructure, why not build back with sustainability in mind.

Just as in his speech declaring his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement (forged with US leadership and signed by 195 countries), Trump, who took a $900 million tax deduction on his failed Atlantic City casino and probably has never paid 40% tax in his life,lies to rationalize his tax plan, beginning with the lie that the US is the highest taxed nation in the world (not true) and that workers wages will increase if only shareholders and CEOs and the wealthiest 1% could keep an even greater percentage of their money (history shows the opposite).  (See New York Times, The False Promises in President Trump’s Tax Plan)

Remember: the wealthiest people used to be taxed at 90% – that was after World War II when the nation had to rebuild its treasury. We were able to afford the GI Bill which probably did more to create a middle class than anything since the New Deal. Now the wealthiest pay something between 35 to 40% – except that they don’t.

Trump (and Ryan) want to give a $170,000 annual windfall to the wealthiest Americans, while crumbs ($700) to the middle class who will lose the only tax deductions they can use.  $170,000 times four years worth mean in terms of free money (from tax-paying schnooks) is a lot of dough to invest in politicians and policy with a spectacular return: policies like enabling Big Pharma Sharks to hike up life-saving drugs by 5000%; Oil Barons to make sure incentives for wind and solar energy don’t help these industries develop into competitors; real estate developers who can delight in the tax advantages that let them take a $900 million deduction and build without interfering regulations on lands that are needed to soak up flood waters and health insurance companies to raise premiums to pad profits.

Now this nation is looking at more than $290 billion just to recover from the climate disasters which are becoming more and more frequent, hitting the high density developed urban centers.

If taxes for those who have the means to pay don’t cover the cost, who does? Ryan and the Republicans love to talk about “sacrifice” but the only ones they demand sacrifices from are not the wealthiest or the corporations, but Social Security and Medicare recipients, struggling middle class kids who need to take out loans to pay for college. Their concept is to take money out of the consumer economy, which starts a downward unvirtuous cycle of economic contraction. How do we know?” Because we have seen this movie before: the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile, median income has risen to its highest levels in 1999 (under Bill Clinton) and 2016 (under Barack Obama) and their tax-and-spending plans.

The Trump/Ryan tax “plan” requires a federal budget that slashes spending for infrastructure, for research and development, for education, for environmental protection (and of course, eradicating any mention of climate change), even slashing spending for diplomacy and foreign aid. It depends on slashing Medicaid and subsidies to keep health insurance affordable (that’s why they are so desperate to repeal Obamacare).

It slashes the tax rate for corporations which already do not pay the nominal 35% rate. Many highly profitable corporations – including General Electric, Pepco Holdings, PG&E Corp., Priceline and Duke Energy – paid nothing into federal coffers from 2008-2015 yet benefit from all the services the government provides including roads, public safety, an educated workforce, mass transit, a military to defend their shipping.

To get to a tax cut without obscenely increasing the national debt, the Republicans say they will get rid of “loopholes” like the mortgage credit and property taxes – that would only complete the decimation of the Middle Class and destroy any semblance of an American Dream. What would make more sense, if they really cared to “reform” the tax code and stop the income distribution from middle class to the already fabulous rich, is to take away the mortgage tax credits on 2nd, 3rd homes and such, and take away the many special deductions that real estate developers like Trump has benefited from, as well as the loopholes that let hedge fund managers shield all but a fraction of their income from taxes that wage-earners pay.

Indeed, the policies that Trump are proposing – specifically, eliminating the tax deduction for state and local property taxes – would hurt blue-states that tend to have higher state and local taxes because they tend to have higher property taxes but provide more services and get less in federal payments than they send to the government, while red-states that have low state and local taxes (and crappy schools and health care) get more from the federal government (paid for by blue states) than they send.

And what about Puerto Rico. which already was in economic disaster – having defaulted on $70 billion in debt – and basically written off by the US government. It’s infrastructure is now totally destroyed. How will it be rebuilt? Here’s what I imagine:  Trump is so transactional, I can see a foreign country (China?) with big bucks and an interest in having a foothold in the Western Hemisphere buying Puerto Rico from the US. After all, what is $100 billion or $200 billion to put the island right?

Of course Trump’s tax “reform” plan – sketched out as if on the back of an envelope without any analysis – is really all about tax cuts to the wealthiest and to corporations. As Hillary Clinton said during a debate (which she won): “trickle down economics on steroids” from the guy who took a $900 million deduction for a failed real estate deal, which taxpayers – normal working stiffs – wind up paying for.

Those who have actually analyzed the plan have said that the wealthiest people – who have done astronomically well for decades, while middle class Americans have scarcely had a salary increase in 40 years, so that the gap between rich and poor has reached Grand Canyon proportions – would get a tax windfall of $170,000 a year, while middle class families would get something like $700. Where do the 1 percenters put that extra money which they scarcely need? Well, they invest in buying politicians and influencing policy, of course.

Tax “reform” figures into the Trump obsession with repealing Obamacare and leaving 32 million people without health insurance. It figures into the administration’s dismissal of the Gateway Tunnel project so important to the New York region’s infrastructure and economy.

But now, Trump’s Republican states are being whacked with climate catastrophes, and the money has to come from somewhere.

And let’s also be reminded that the growth in the economy – first, saving the nation from plunging into another Great Depression, and now rebounding to the highest median income, lowest unemployment rate ever and highest rate of health insurance coverage while reducing the poverty rate – happened because of Obama Administration policies and would have been even more effective in terms of raising wages and living standards if the Trump Administration did not steamroll back policies, like overtime pay, parental leave, and federal minimum wage and obstruct infrastructure development and the transition to clean, renewable energy.

People remark that the devastation in their neighborhoods from these massive climate disasters is like a bomb went off. Well, in wartime, taxes are raised – that’s how the rate on the wealthiest hit 90%, to pay off the World War II debt. This is wartime. This nation has to rebuild, and sustainably, responsibly. We need to invest in 21st and 22nd century technologies, to keep the United States a global leader. Otherwise, we will cede our leverage to China which has basically embraced the American model of spreading its political ideology (nominally, “Democracy”) through capitalism (nominally “free market” as opposed to centralized control) and is literally buying up influence over Africa and Asia.

Of course, Trump’s tax plan is Paul Ryan’s tax plan (Trump never actually had a plan), and the Republicans are content to let Trump destroy the nation and end the social safety net including Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and possibly embroil us in World War III, until they can get jam through the tax plan they have coveted since Reagan.

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Texas Catastrophe Points to Need to Prioritize Climate Action, Re-Prioritize Federal Budget (Mother Nature Can Be A Real Bitch)

The climate catastrophe in Texas should be a wake-up call to prod Trump Administration, Scott Pruitt of the EPA and Congress to prioritize climate action, not a border wall, in the federal budget © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

With Harvey reaping its terror and Hurricane Irma warming up for its debut, Texas’ climate catastrophe is the latest example of how tragically foolish it is to invest billions to combat ISIS (hardly an existential threat), $70 billion to build a wall along the Mexico border, $1 trillion to rebuild the nuclear weapons arsenal, yet deny the reality of climate change with the attendant costs in the multi-billions of every single one of these climate catastrophes – the cost to the Treasury and taxpayers to rebuild infrastructure, to pay for public health consequences, to lose the productivity of the workforce.

“This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, stated. “AccuWeather has raised its estimate of the impact to the nation’s gross national produce, or GDP, to $190 billion or a full one percent, which exceeds totals of economic impact of Katrina and Sandy combined. The GDP is $19 trillion currently. Business leaders and the Federal Reserve, major banks, insurance companies, etc. should begin to factor in the negative impact this catastrophe will have on business, corporate earnings and employment. The disaster is just beginning in certain areas. Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood.”

Meanwhile, around the globe there are even greater flooding disasters –1,200 have died so far and 900,000 homes destroyed in floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, taking with it farms and crops that will lead to the next climate catastrophe, famine.

Now Congress will soon take up a budget that proposes to slash the EPA into nothing (Scott Pruitt has already scrubbed any research and mention of climate change from the website and is doing his level best to stop any data collection), cuts to FEMA that was already $25 billion in debt before Harvey, cuts to Health & Human Services and every other social safety net. But Trump threatens to shut down government if he doesn’t get nearly $2 billion (a downpayment on $70 billion) for his border wall with Mexico.

Dozens of Long Islanders, constituents of Congressman Peter King turned out for a rally at his Massapequa office to demand he reject cuts to the EPA budget.

Which has posed more of a national security threat to Americans? Climate disasters or ISIS? The wrong-headed approach to national security came to a head with a rally that drew about 60 people on short notice on Thursday, August 31 at the Massapequa, Long Island office of Congressman Peter King, who makes a great show of concern for protecting national security but drops the ball on the national security implications of climate change.  (See story)

You only have to compare the horrid waste of blood and treasure because of a disdain for addressing the realities of climate change to the results of the efforts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) consisting of New York State along with eight other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states (not New Jersey because Governor Chris Christie thought it would better position him to become the GOP presidential candidate if he withdrew from RGGI and denied the reality of climate change). Founded in 2005, the RGGI, the nation’s first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, is updating its goal to lower carbon pollution by reducing the cap on power plant emissions an additional 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. With this change, the regional cap in 2030 will be 65% below the 2009 starting level.

RGGI has already contributed to a 50% percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from affected power plants in New York, and a 90% reduction in coal-fired power generation in the state. To date, New York has generated more than $1 billion in RGGI proceeds, which are applied to fund energy efficiency, clean energy and emission reduction programs.

RGGI continues to exceed expectations and has provided more than $2 billion in regional economic benefits and $5.7 billion in public health benefits while reducing emissions in excess of the declining cap’s requirements. Analysis by Abt Associates – found participating member states had 16,000 avoided respiratory illnesses, as many as 390 avoided heart attacks, and 300 to 830 avoided deaths by reducing pollution. The health benefits in New York alone are estimated to have exceeded $1.7 billion in avoided costs and other economic benefits.

And contrary to the lie that clean, renewable energy and sustainable development will hurt the economy and increase consumer costs, the economies of RGGI states are outpacing the rest of the country and regional electricity prices have fallen even as prices in other states have increased. So even as the RGGI states reduced their carbon emissions by 16% more than other states, they are experiencing 3.6% more in economic growth. Each of the three-year control periods contributed approximately 4,500 job years to New York’s economy and 14,000 to 16,000 job years region-wide.

Meanwhile, New York consumers who have participated in RGGI-supported projects through December 2016 will realize $3.7 billion in cumulative energy bill savings over the lifetime of the projects, according to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

New York is actively promoting clean energy innovation through its Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and initiatives. Additionally, programs including the Clean Energy Fund, $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, $1 billion NY Green Bank, $40 million NY-Prize competition for community microgrids, and others, ensure that progress toward reducing emissions will be accelerated.

New York has devised a host of programs to incentivize local projects aimed at developing clean, renewable energy and sustainability. Most recently, NYSERDA has developed a Solar PILOT Toolkit to assist municipalities in negotiating payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) agreements for solar projects larger than 1 MW, including community solar projects.

How ironic is the climate catastrophe in Texas, the leading proponent of fossil fuels and opponent of programs incentivizing the transition to clean, renewable energy (and the localized independence that wind, solar and geothermal bring), that Harvey has damaged its oil refining infrastructure, which is already resulting in higher gas prices, not to mention taxpayer money that will be channeled to rebuild the devastation. None of those private, profit-making companies which have gouged and inflicted public health horrors should get funding from taxpayers.

Now Texas will be coming to Congress for billions in aid.

Congress should pass a law: no federal help for states that deny climate change (Florida and North Carolina actually have legislation banning the use of the term) and therefore do nothing to mitigate the consequences, and which deny altogether the concept of a federal, “one nation” government to collect taxes and provide services on behalf of all. Texas, which has cheered the notion of secession, continually supports policies intended to shrink the federal government to a size it can be flushed down a toilet, including dismantling the Environmental Protection Administration and ending environmental regulations. So let them see what that actually means. Let’s also be reminded the Texas’ Republican delegation obstructed federal aid to New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.

Destruction at Breezy Point, New York after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Texas Congressmen voted against giving aid, now will seek tens of billions to rebuild after Harvey. But the Trump Administration and Congress fail to learn the lessons, reflected in policy and budgeting, that would mitigate such costly climate catastrophes © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Too harsh? The climate deniers are dooming the entire nation and the planet to such tragic, devastating and costly climate catastrophes. Hundreds of thousands of Texans will emerge from Harvey with their homes, retirement, college funds decimated, very possibly their jobs flushed away along with the floodwaters. Tens of thousands will become climate refugees – just a small fraction of the estimated 200 million worldwide who will be forced to flee flooded coasts as sea levels continue to rise, and storms continue to ravage.

But, since Trump is so keen to dish out taxpayer billions to those he considers his base (one wonders what would happen if and when California is hit with an earthquake), Congress should impose conditions on the billions that will be sent to Texas to rebuild its infrastructure and housing: Texas should do what every other community has done that underwent such devastation: rebuild and transition to clean, renewable energy sources and sustainable, climate-friendly, low-carbon emitting structures.

Congress, which Trump just dared to defy on his tax “reform” (that is, giveaway to the wealthiest 1% and corporations while starving federal government of funding), should make sure that EPA has the people and resources it needs, that climate action is a priority, that the Interior Department does not give away Americans’ legacy (and property) for environment-destroying development, that FEMA and Housing & Human Services (now in the command of a man who dismisses poverty and bad things that happen to some dereliction of personal responsibility) are properly funded and staffed.

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

NYS Governor Gives His Support for Long Island to Sign Deal for Offshore Windpower

Long Island activists rally for offshore windpower at LI Power Authority.
Long Island activists rally for offshore windpower at LI Power Authority.

 

Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

On January 25, activists who have been fighting for decades for clean, renewable energy in order to end our society’s dangerous addiction to fossil fuels, are hoping they will finally be able to pop the champagne corks when the Long Island Power Authority Board approves a power purchase agreement for off-shore wind power for the East End.

Indeed, just a week after the Block Island Wind Farm began producing power, New York labor unions, civic and environmental organizations and elected officials hosted a rally outside of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) praising LIPA for expressing support of offshore wind power and its anticipated vote on Jan. 25 to move forward on the nation’s largest offshore wind project. Over 100 gathered in front of LIPA, in the largest show of Long Island’s support for offshore wind to date.

Located off the east end of Long Island, Deepwater Wind’s 90-megawatt, 15-turbine project will produce enough energy to power about 50,000 Long Island homes by 2022. This pivotal decision, opening a new era for Long Island’s energy economy, would eliminate the need for LIPA to build a new fossil fuel-fired plant to meet the region’s energy needs. Keep in mind that Long Island officials keep saying the impediment to businesses coming here are the high energy costs.

Now the activists are calling on LIPA to move forward on the Island-Wide renewable energy Request for Proposal in early 2017 which could include another 210 MW of offshore wind off of Long Island’s south fork. (Europe already generates 12,100 megawatts of off-shore wind energy).

Meanwhile, in the waning days of the Obama Administration (and not a moment too soon), the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), awarded Statoil Wind US LLC, a private company from Norway that specializes in oil and gas, the lease to develop an off-shore wind farm on 80,000 acres some 12 miles off of Long Island’s south shore. Statoil’s $42.5 million bid beat out NYSERDA, the New York State energy research development agency, which had wanted to win so it could be the lead agency and expedite development of off-shore windpower for New York.

The project could provide 800 megawatts of offshore wind power in an area 17 miles south of the Rockaway Peninsula.

Now that it will be the domain of a private company, New York customers- like LIPA and Con Ed – will likely have to compete with New Jersey and others. LIPA needs to lock in supply, with a Power Purchase Agreement and details on where the company can run its cables on to shore, and do so before the Trumpsters try to overturn the lease altogether. Recall this is the same area where a private company wanted to site the Port Ambrose Liquified Natural Gas facility, which would have shut down the possibility of any wind farm.

The incoming Trump Administration’s determination to reverse course on a transition to clean, renewable energy, and return us to dependency on fossil fuels – no matter the impact on climate, the environment and ecology, no matter how it basically indentures residents and businesses to ever higher prices for energy, no matter how it endangers national security –  means it will be up to the states to continue progress.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a goal of producing 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 80% by 2050, with an ultimate goal of 100%. Developing offshore wind power – and a wholly new industry for Long Island – is essential for achieving those targets, along with solar, geothermal and hydro power sources (East Hampton has passed legislation that it would get 100 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources.)

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address at SUNY Farmingdale, Long Island, declares his support to develop offshore windpower, beginning with 90 megawatts to serve the East End, and ultimately 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030 © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address at SUNY Farmingdale, Long Island, declares his support to develop offshore windpower, beginning with 90 megawatts to serve the East End, and ultimately 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030 © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Cuomo made major news during his State of the State message at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island, announced that New York is committed to building 2,400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power by 2030 – enough to power 1.25 million homes. The Governor also pledged his support for New York’s first, and the nation’s largest, offshore wind project off the east end of Long Island.

“We have to start to do some big things, we have to do big things in renewable energy to get that cost to power down on Long Island,” he stated. “And we have wind power, we’ve had wind power for years. Offshore wind farms work. They can be done right, they can be done correctly, they don’t have to be an eyesore.

“I’m calling on LIPA to approve a 90 megawatt wind farm. It’s enough to support 50,000 homes. They will not be visible from the beach. They will be 30 miles southeast of Montauk. Not even Superman standing on Montauk Point could see these wind farms. But the upside is tremendous. It will be the largest offshore wind project in our nation’s history, not just in existence. It’s jobs. It’s clean energy and it’s inexpensive energy which then drives the economy. And we are not going to stop there. We have a mandate of 50 percent renewable power by the year 2030. We want to get 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 and we are not going to stop until we reach 100 percent renewable because that’s what a sustainable New York is really all about.”

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address at SUNY Farmingdale, Long Island says the ultimate goal is generating 100% of the state’s energy needs from renewable sources © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address at SUNY Farmingdale, Long Island says the ultimate goal is generating 100% of the state’s energy needs from renewable sources © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Offshore wind power is especially important in light of Cuomo’s pronouncement in his State of the State address that the Indian Point nuclear plant, which theoretically generates 2000 megawatts of energy, will be shut down by 2021.

The Atlantic waters off Long Island has some of the best conditions for off-shore windpower production in North America, if not the world. Dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of offshore wind” we could be the epicenter for a new American energy industry, already $20 billion globally. Scientists and engineers at SUNY Stony Brook are developing new battery storage systems and monitoring controls. Wind turbines need to be manufactured, installed, monitored and maintained, producing thousands of everlasting jobs along with the wind power.

And unlike fossil fuels, where the prices are unpredictable except they almost always go up (oil and gas, after all, are finite resources, costly to develop, process and deliver), wind power is a predictable, stable price that is on a trajectory to come down, not up.

“It’s been a marathon of work and effort to bring wind power to Long Island, but we are at the last mile and moving closer to the finish line,” Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said at the Dec. 20 rally. “Long Islanders are ready for offshore wind. We have assessed the science, the economics and the societal benefits and we concluded that wind works as an important mainstream energy source. We can longer be fossil fools and deny the consequences of climate change.”

“With Donald Trump about to occupy the White House, it’s essential that states like New York take the lead in transitioning from dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch stated. “Climate change could be catastrophic to New York, but with the fossil fuel industry poised to set federal energy policy, we need Governor Cuomo to lead a clean energy revolution. Having banned fracking, a next crucial step is for New York to move forward with the nation’s largest offshore wind farm.”

Come out to the LIPA board meeting on January 25 to show your support.

If they build it, we will come.

To learn more about Reforming the Energy Vision, including the Governor’s $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow @Rev4NY.

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

 

Clinton Global Initiative Ends 12-Year Run with Global Impact Affecting 435 Million People

 

President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments on behalf of Haiti © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments to rebuild Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

I am so sick of Donald Trump and his sleezy band of “surrogates” attacking the Clinton Foundation as if it were run in the same way and for the same purpose as the corrupt and self-serving Trump Foundation, rather than being the catalyst for sustainable development that has meaningfully lifted millions out of poverty, provided life-saving medications and vaccines, expanded health care and educational opportunities, fostered the cultural changes to lift up women and girls and reduce gender violence and inequality. And that’s just for starters.

At an emotional Closing Plenary Session of the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative – the annual meeting that brings together philanthropists, corporations, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to partner together on sustainable projects that actually help solve the intractable problems of the world, from poverty to gender inequality to conflict resolution -, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said.

During the three days of the gathering, CGI “members” (who are obligated to make and implement commitments) discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.

What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action.  When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGI members over the past 11 years will ensure that:

  • More than 52 million childrenhave access to a better education.
  • More than 33 million peoplehave increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  • More than 13 million girls and womenhave been supported through empowerment initiatives.
  • More than $1.6 billionhas been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Nearly 35 million peoplehave access to information technologies.
  • More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access toinputs, supports, and markets
  • More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
  • More than 401 million acres of foresthave been protected or restored.
  • Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
  • More than 114 million peoplehave increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
  • More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.

“I started CGI in 2005 because I believed people wanted to come together and work together to solve big problems and seize key opportunities.,” said President Clinton. “It has changed the landscape of modern philanthropy. Putting ideas into action is no longer the exception but the rule. I look forward to seeing new Commitments to Action announced which will continue to improve lives long into the future.”

“Every year, CGI’s Annual Meeting has been a place where we see unlikely partnerships form – in the hallways, at a discussion table, or right on stage,” said Chelsea Clinton. “I’m excited to see what partnerships emerge this year to tackle challenges in education, global health and development broadly – and to look back and continue to learn from the impact of CGI partnerships through the years on pivotal issues like Ebola relief, disaster response, increased opportunities for girls and women, climate change, and sustainable economic development.”

CGI built a forum for government, business, and civil society to come together and turn ideas into action through the Commitment to Action model — the defining feature of CGI. Since the first Annual Meeting in 2005, CGI has brought together nearly 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of business, philanthropic, non-profit leaders, and influential civic voices. Timed to continue the dialogue on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the CGI Annual Meeting has guided members to expand and replicate proven solutions to pressing challenges.

At the meeting, several CGI members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of CGI within their remarks, including:

Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, said, “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight. This may be the last Annual Meeting, but the work and the spirit of President Clinton’s mission and the CGI committed community will live on forever.”

The theme of CGI is “Turning Ideas Into Action,” and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever noted, “the Clinton Global Initiative has done much more than that. It has been an enormous convening power to bring people together who otherwise would not have come together.”

“The question you need to ask them is it’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea. Because innovation that nobody gets access to is not innovation,” said Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline

Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The truth is you cannot find a more dedicated group of problem solvers, visionaries and altruists anywhere in the world than at CGI,” Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, said. “The Clinton Foundation had done more to help alleviate poverty and disease, and further global development than any platform I know.”

(See: Clinton Global Initiative Has Been Catalyst to Solving World’s Most Intractable Problems)

21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The final CGI was a kind of valedictory, reflecting back on what has been achieved, and in some ways, ending up the way it started, with a strong focus on Women and Girls (because when women succeed, society succeeds), and conflict resolution, with extremely stirring presentations that featured Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister, Serbia, together with Camil Durakovic, Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica who have managed to come together 21 years after the massacre at Srebrenica, and Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, honored as with a Global Citizen Award for

Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

making peace after 50 years of civil war; Advija Ibrahimovic a survivor of Srebrenica, who presented a Global Citizen Award to Nadia Mura for the courage to tell her story of being kidnapped and exploited by ISIS who after her escape has become a voice for the thousands of women and children who have been trafficked in situations of conflict.

Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

(See: Five are Honored with Global Citizen Awards at Final Clinton Global Initiative)

 

What can the Trump Foundation show? It does not have a legal certificate to solicit the millions of dollars, does not spend Donald’s own money but takes credit for others’ contributions, uses contributions to bolster his business and his personal reputation. He went on TV to solicit funds for veterans groups (as an excuse to not show up at a Republican debate) but only actually gave up the money after being exposed by the press (illegal to do that). He used his contribution to sway the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating the Trump University fraud. Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack saying “follow the money”. Well here it is:

Among the new commitment announcements from the 12th and final Annual Meeting were those addressing critical issues such as the refugee crisis and the containment of infectious diseases like Zika, and a score of commitments aimed at addressing violence against women and gender inequality.

Here are details of just some of the commitments, in the hopes they will provide models for others to follow after there is no more Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze such partnerships, to inspire and to monitor and bring them to fruition:

  • U.ME.WE Campaign 
    Commitment by: Ubuntu Education Fund
    Partner(s): Colin Cowie Events; De Agostini SpA; Eastern Cape Province Department of Health; Knowledge is Power Program; McKinsey & Company

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to launch the U.ME.WE. Campaign, a three year, $25 million initiative to provide long-term financial stability and develop the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa into a world class health and education campus, transforming the lives of 2,000 children and their families from cradle to career.  Led by an experienced and dedicated medical team, the organization’s health program offered comprehensive HIV/TB services from testing to adherence support, sexual and reproductive health interventions, primary care, and nutritional support. Ubuntu has provided well over 24,200 medical services to 2,000 of Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s most vulnerable children, as well as piloted an early childhood development program that has grown from 38 to 148 children, created a university preparation program for Grade 12 scholars, and enhanced household security through Ubuntu’s Family Support Specialists.  Through this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the organization has ensured that the birthplaces of 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children living in Port Elizabeth’s townships do not have to determine their futures.

  • Amplifying the Voices of Poor Women to Create Inclusive Cities 
    Commitment by: Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC)
    Partner(s): Arghyam; Cities Alliance; Shack/Slum Dwellers International; Tata Trusts; United Cities and Local Governments Africa

    NEW: In 2016, the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and their partners committed to amplify the voices of slum dwellers in Odisha and Maharashtra, India. Over the next three years, SPARC, in collaboration with partners and local governments, will train local informal residents and collect previously absent and unattainable citywide slum data, while developing projects to address the priority issue areas articulated by residents in seven towns with the greatest demonstrated WASH and vulnerable housing needs in India. The participation and leadership of slum dwellers is key to demonstrating inclusive and equitable city development planning, which should incorporate the participation of and reflect the needs of resident slum dwellers, from start to finish. Ultimately, this Commitment to Action will impact more than 1,300,000 slum dwellers in more than 1,000 slum communities throughout India.

  • Increasing Adoption of Clean Energy Technology in Mozambique
    Commitment by: Edp – Energias De Portugal, S.A.
    Partner(s): OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento; Leigos para o Desenvolvimento; SAN-JFS

    NEW: In 2016, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. committed to launch a program that will promote community adoption and integration of electricity in the village of Titimane in Mozambique. Titimane will gain access to electricity for the first time through the development of a renewable-energy powered mini-grid. While this new access to clean energy will promote sustainable economic development, EDP is well aware of the challenges off-grid villages face in transitioning away from previous energy sources and adopting new clean energy technologies. Working with two local NGO implementation partners, EDP will develop an integrated behavior-based economic development approach that will enable all 4,000 members of the community to leverage this new access to electricity by providing comprehensive outreach, training and community programming over 2.5 years in four focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, and community empowerment.

  • Haiti Commitment Cluster
    PROGRESS REPORT: Approximately 30 organizations who have made commitments through the Haiti Action Network will announce progress and celebrate the over 100 commitments that have been made to benefit Haiti, including commitments made by Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Heineken, Marriot International, Inc., The Timberland Company, and West Elm. New commitments will also be announced to improve Haiti’s education, expand economic opportunity, and increase sustainability.
  • Tackling Childcare: Good for Business and Development
    Commitment by: IFC
    Partner(s): Aeromexico; Afrifresh; Axiata Group; Bauducco; Care.com, Inc.; Danone; Dialog Axiata Plc; EY; Grupo M; HBL Bank; HCL Technologies Limited; Institute for Women’s Policy Research; International Labour Organization; Kidogo; MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; Pepsico; Safaricom Limited; Sumimoto Chemical

    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

    NEW: In 2016, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), brought together a group of private sector companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. Private sector partners commit to at least three gender smart measures from a menu of options that focus on substantiating the business case for employer-supported childcare and putting this business case into practice. Strategic partners will provide knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and data to help the private sector commitment members realize their commitments. The Tackling Childcare Secretariat housed in IFC will provide technical expertise, host learning events, provide communications opportunities, and compile the group’s learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice “Tackling Childcare” report on employer-supported childcare. Ultimately, the commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in participating organization, improve learning and awareness about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare, and encourage others to start or scale up their own employer-supported childcare efforts.

    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • The New Luxury: Catalyzing Influencers to Curb Global Ivory
    Commitment by: Save the Elephants
    Partner(s): Tiffany & Co.; Marc Jacobs International; DNA Model Management; Edelman; Doutzen Kroes

    NEW: In 2016, Save the Elephants, in partnership with Elephants Action Network Members, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and leading industry influencers including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs International, DNA Model Management, Edelman, and Doutzen Kroes committed to the creation of a multi-stakeholder campaign leveraging their global taste-making status to curb the demand for elephant ivory in key buying markets. Fashion influencers, those brands and individuals who create and steward the goods and preferences that are so central to consumers’ identities, will communicate out their commitments to ivory-free products and lifestyles via a range of media platforms. Influencers will simultaneously drive $1 million in donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which supports anti-poaching efforts facing immediate need, via the unified #knotonmyplanet campaign. This messaging overtly links the consumption of ivory with the killing of elephants, and along with tailored influencer-created assets, will target populations in the United States and high-ivory demand East Asian countries at strategic intervals.

  • Igniting Ideas for Greece’s Future: The Angelopoulos 100 (CGI Annual Meeting 2016)
    Commitment by: Gianna Angelopoulos

    NEW: In 2016, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos committed to scaling up her efforts to develop young Greek social entrepreneurs by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting 100 Angelopoulos Fellows in implementing and sustaining projects that address Greece’s major challenges. Due to the financial crisis that has plagued Greece for almost a decade, career opportunities are limited and well educated young Greeks are quickly leaving the country. This commitment will connect young Greeks with relevant experts, mentorship opportunities, access to capital, and connections to international contacts and conferences to support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Creating an extensive, ongoing community network for the 100 Fellows will assist them in developing successful social enterprises that will positively impact communities across Greece.

  • Disabilities: Social & Financial Inclusion for Women & Girls
    Commitment by: Keystone Human Services
    Partner(s): Czech Development Agency; East European Foundation; Moldova, Republic of; National Agency for Employment; Soros Foundation; Step by Step Management, Inc.; Swedish Organization for Individual Relief; United States Agency for International Development; Winrock International

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, Keystone Human Services committed to improve social and financial inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the United States and Eastern Europe, specifically in Pennsylvania, Moldova, and Russia. Through this commitment, Keystone aims to deinstitutionalize young women with disabilities, moving them from state institutions to community homes, and provide them with the necessary, community-based support structures. A complementary program aims to establish an inclusive, family-oriented, workforce model that effectively reduces obstacles to employment for women with disabilities and women caregivers of children with disabilities. Initially, Keystone intended to impact that lives of 60 women and girls, but the program has seen incredible successful and far exceed expectations. In Moldova, The Equal Access to Education program, an inclusive education project, has been piloted in 22 schools, and is being promoted and replicated at the national level. This has benefited many girls who now have access to education, health services, orthopedic and optical items, rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, counseling, and psychological support.

  • Life Saving Healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
    Commitment by: Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA
    Partner(s): United Nations Refugee Agency

    NEW: In 2016, Unipol committed to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 refugees over two years in Lebanon, which is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees in proportion to its population size. Unipol will contribute a cash donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will provide treatment for emergency and lifesaving secondary and tertiary healthcare, such as normal and caesarian deliveries, as well as hospitalization costs and surgeries for emergency care. Rather than establishing new services, UNHCR will offset costs to ensure that Syrian refugees can access quality public healthcare. Complementing this donation, Unipol will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees in host countries by implementing a communication campaign in Italy. With approximately 15,000 employees and over 16 million customers, Unipol will give UNHCR the possibility to reach a widespread audience. In addition, clients subscribing to Unipol life insurances will be given the option to indicate UNHCR among their beneficiaries, providing a key fundraising opportunity for UNHCR.

  • Building Peace: Higher Education for Syrian Youth
    Commitment by: Syria Relief and Development
    Partner(s): University of Idlib

    NEW: In 2016, Syria Relief and Development (SRD) committed to supporting the University of Idlib in northwestern Syria over a period of two years to ensure continued access to higher education and prevent brain drain as a significant percentage of the population flees the country due to the ongoing civil war. Recognizing the vital – yet underfunded – role of tertiary education during times of crisis, SRD will provide free tuition to over 1,300 enrolled students (focusing on at-risk populations) and provide the departments of pharmacy, mechanical engineering, education, and agriculture with financial support, consulting services, educational technology, and assistance with curriculum development. Additionally, SRD will introduce a job training and internship program for more than 300 students, as well as reproductive health, family planning, and skills building courses for 500 women. As a result, SRD will ensure that the education of the next generation of Syrian doctors, civil engineers, and teachers will not be placed on hold.

  • Business and Employability Skills in Jordan
    Commitment by: City & Guilds Group; Near East Foundation

    NEW: In 2016, Near East Foundation (NEF) and Building Markets committed to providing business development and employability skills training to over 6,000 refugees and Jordanians over two years, addressing the economic vulnerabilities that refugees and Jordanians alike face. NEF and Building Markets will focus on women and youth, thus contributing to their financial self-reliance, and will prioritize areas in Jordan with a high number of refugees and concentrated poverty. NEF will deliver training in livelihood support hubs, or “Siraj Centers”, where local Master Trainers will help women and youth refugees to build skills to either find employment or to start their own micro-enterprises and generate stable income. In addition, Building Markets and NEF will provide advanced support to at least 300 participants who demonstrate high business growth potential to scale their ventures, increasing income and creating job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees.

  • FARMS: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development
    Commitment by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    Partner(s): Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation; Jordan River Foundation; Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan

    NEW: In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) committed to establish the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement, and Rural Stability (FARMS) to raise $100 million in new funds for agricultural development targeted towards rural communities, refugees, and displaced individuals. FARMS will support agriculture-related training, financial access and adaptation technologies to increase the self-reliance of refugees and strengthen the resilience of host communities. The commitment will focus on countries with large proportions of refugee and displaced communities and the initial focus will include Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, with planned expansion to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. In the long term, FARMS will support projects that focus on restoring agricultural productivity in origin areas from where refugees have fled so that people who have left are motivated to return to their native countries, and those who remain have a chance to rebuild their lives.

  • Transitioning Girls & Women from Cash to the Workforce
    Commitment by: Women’s Refugee Commission
    Partner(s): Danish Refugee Council; Mercy Corps; Norwegian Refugee Council

    NEW: In 2016, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) committed to safely transition refugee women and girls in Jordan and Turkey from cash assistance to the workforce in order to provide economic self-reliance and support women and girls as they re-connect or enter into the formal workforce for the first time. This will help to address a common sentiment among refugee women of powerlessness, hopelessness, high stress, and various protection risks, all of which are tied to a lack of financial resources. Over the course of two years, WRC will conduct research that builds on its current studies that demonstrate how cash-based initiatives can prevent gender based violence, and will build the capacity of partners in the private sector and non-governmental organization service providers to prepare displaced women and girls of working age to safely obtain formal employment. WRC will also build global awareness on issues such as the right to work and decent work legislation for refugee women and girls.

  • Reinventing Refugee Employment and Integration in Italy
    Commitment by: Kairos Rainbow Srl
    Partner(s): Centro Astalli; Istituto Massimiliano Massimo; Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED); Jesuit Foundation for Education; Ristrutturazioni Italiana Srl; SCM Srl; Tras. Co. Italia

    NEW: In 2016, Kairos Rainbow committed to address the gap that exists in Italy between skilled refugees and a lack of job opportunities by providing 180 refugees, including from Somalia, Pakistan, and Syria, with language courses, legal counseling, and job placements to facilitate their social and economic integration in the country. To do so, over a period of two years, Kairos will partner with Italian companies who will create tailored training programs and offer internships which will ultimately make it easier for refugees to obtain full time employment, as well as partner with local organizations that will provide social services, such as assistance to renew residency and work permits. Through this commitment, Kairos aims to change the perception of refugees in Italy from scapegoats to integrated and empowered participants in the country’s economy and society. The commitment will pilot in Rome and, based on its success, will expand to other cities in Italy.

    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • Turning Waste into Energy at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
    Commitment by: Solar CITIES
    Partner(s): Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Blueprint for Survival, Tamera ecoVillage; Foam Tech Insulation Services; HomeBiogas Israel; Schools for Sustainability; Solar CITIES – Palestine/Jordan Chapter; UNICEF

    NEW: In 2016, Solar CITIES committed to installing two biogas hubs and educating 50 new biogas technicians and closed-loop farmers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp over the next three years. The biogas hubs will turn food and animal wastes into clean and safe fuel and fertilizer, while eliminating pathogens that cause illness and attract disease-carrying animals. The hubs will provide access to energy and opportunities for residents to learn, share and implement clean and renewable energy solutions within Zaatari, with future plans to expand to Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The biogas technicians will become micro-waste management experts and closed-loop farmers will gain income by building farm- and community-scale biodigesters, selling the fertilizer and biogas, and working with Solar CITIES to schedule a series of workshops with local community members to scale biodigester construction. Increased access to renewable energy will reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution while controlling rodent and insect populations by better managing food waste at its source, ultimately impacting more than 11,000 residents and saving more than 100,000 KwH of energy.

  • SOS: Focus on Syrian Medical Students & Doctors
    Commitment by: Global Platform for Syrian Students
    Partner(s): American University of Beirut; University Dohok, Iraq; University Nova, Lisbon; The Hashemite University, Jordan; World Health Organization

    NEW: In 2016, The Global Platform for Syrian Students, established by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, committed to providing scholarships to 200 medical students who are displaced by the Syrian Civil War and to support specialist training programs for 200 Syrian doctors still working within the country in order to allow Syrians to continue their medical residency or post-graduate specialist training. This approach will help to address the challenges that Syrian medical students face both within and outside of the country, whose education and training have been interrupted by the conflict, and will invest in critical capacity building for the Syrian medical profession. The commitment will take place over three academic years and will begin with a pilot in 2016 with scholarships for 75 Syrian students in partner universities in Portugal, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which will be scaled to additional students over the next three years. The specialist training in Syria will commence in early 2017, and the goal is that at least 30% of the students and doctors will be women.

    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com 
  • Zika Prevention & Care
    Commitment by: Direct Relief International
    Partner(s): 3M Foundation; Ansell Limited; Asociacoin de Salud Primeria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR); Batey Relief Alliance; Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC); Fundacion Ruth Paz; FUSAL; Greenlid Envirosciences; Hopital Albert Schweitzer; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Jamaica; Medtronic, Inc.; Ministerio de la Primera Infancia, Argentina; Ministry of Health of Jamaica; National Association of Community Health Centers; Proyecto Aldea Global; Texas Association of Community Health Centers

    NEW: In 2016, Direct Relief, in partnership with International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Batey Relief Alliance, and others, committed to launch a multi-national response to the current Zika outbreak across Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. The multi-faceted response will focus on reproductive health and family planning, prenatal care, and the prevention of transmission through the distribution of essential commodities empowering communities to take preventative actions and make informed decisions about their health. This response will take the form of Zika Modules designed to protect against the transmission and the potentially devastating consequences of the virus. Direct Relief will distribute up to Zika Modules to partners involved in comprehensive, community-based Zika response efforts in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, the United States (specifically Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas), and Venezuela. Modules will include: insect repellent, biodegradable mosquito traps, digital thermometers, ultrasounds, fetal dopplers, and contraceptives.

         Women Deliver Young Leaders Initiative

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): European Parliamentary Forum; Global Fund for Women; Johnson & Johnson

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Women Deliver committed to expand the youth component of its programming by scaling up its engagement with a diverse cohort of young people early in their careers. As a result of this commitment, young leaders will receive the following skills: basic and intermediate advocacy skills; information and communications technology skills; technical skills related to maternal health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and networking and social media skills.  In addition to a first round of e-learning opportunities offered in 2012, Young Leaders participated in a second e-course focused on deepening their ability to design and implement projects in their communities.  The Young Leaders who successfully completed the e-course were eligible to submit a grant proposal to receive seed funding to implement a project in their community. Ten grants were awarded to Young Leaders in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Sixteen Young Leaders, including all 10 seed grantees, attended The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa as speakers, participants, facilitators, and bloggers, where they were able to share best practices, key learnings, and outcomes from their projects.  The work of the Young Leaders continues to receive media attention, particularly at the national level. All of this has led to the creation of the Young Leaders Program, which, apart from increasing the number of Young Leaders to 200, includes a robust recruitment process, advocacy training and opportunities, a Speakers’ Bureau, alumni network, mentorship network, and more.

         Global STEM Alliance (GSA) – 1000 Girls – 1000 Futures

Commitment by: New York Academy Of Sciences

Partner(s): AMIDEAST; AOL Charitable Foundation; ARM Holdings; British Council; Million Women Mentors; Motorola Solutions Foundation; Municipality of Barcelona; U.S. – Mexico Foundation; World Learning

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) committed to launch a three-year, $2 million mentorship program to increase girls and women’s participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The Academy developed a mentorship program that paired 1,000 high-school aged girls with mentors who study or work in STEM fields. The girls received year-long one-on-one mentor support, online training in foundational skills development, and the opportunity to attend an annual Program Summit.  All items in the Action Plan to date for the 2015 cohort were accomplished. More than 300 girls from 12 countries were nominated for the program’s first cohort, and in an overwhelming show of support, more than 500 applications were received from professional women seeking to be mentors.  As this first cohort of young women are now completing the online curriculum, Academy staff are actively preparing for the first Summit, scheduled to take place July 26-28, 2016, in New York City. Planning is also underway to offer the program to the second cohort of young women beginning in September 2016.

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Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Addressing Harmful Practices: FGC and Child Marriage

Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries

Partner(s): Amref Health Africa; Girls Not Brides; Tostan

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, The United Postcode Lotteries (UPL) committed, together with its partners AMREF, Tostan and Girls Not Brides, to work towards bringing an end to harmful practices affecting girls and young women, specifically child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC), with a specific focus on East and West Africa.  This commitment brings together a donor focused on girls’ and women’s rights, a global partnership of almost 300 organizations based in 50 countries focused on child marriage, and two NGOs with a deep and proven commitment to working directly with communities in Africa to address these practices. A summary of key results so far (status bi-annual report year 3 implementation) include: 7,755 girls from Samburu, Magadi, Loitoktok, and Kilindi participated in one of the Alternative Rites of Passage; more than 100,000 girls, parents, and cultural elders were educated about the effects of FGC; 354 peer educators from the communities were trained in sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender based violence, human rights, effects of FGC, Alternative Rites of Passage, and mobilization approaches; 850 Traditional Birth Attendants, who are often also circumcisers, were trained on the possible health effects of FGC. Many of them are now ARP ambassadors. The Alternative Rites of Passage is very mediagenic, especially in Kenya, USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, the project received attention in newspapers, magazines, online, television, and radio. Some of the projects key champion community leaders have been featured on national television. Nice Leng’ete, a campaigner/project officer, received international recognition from DFID as one of the most influential young campaigner, and Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta attended one of the Alternative Rites of Passage and has become a great supporter of Amref’s approach to tackle FGC. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women Through Travel

Commitment by: Airbnb, Inc.

Partner(s): Global Fund for Women; Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Airbnb committed to accommodate the travel needs of Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices for convenings. The travel credits will be disseminated to more than 100 female entrepreneurs, small business owners, and human rights activists. Upon completion of the reports, Airbnb will explore a second phase of partnership with Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women. Airbnb will also focus on the economic impact of home sharing on female hosts and contribute to their broader strategy of economic empowerment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Confronting

Commitment by: American Jewish World Service

Partner(s): The Kendeda Fund

NEW: In 2016, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) committed to support 50 grassroots, capacity-building and research organizations to address child, early and forced marriage in India. Through strategic grant making and organizational meetings, AJWS will work on the local and national level in India and social movements to enable girls to have access to services in their communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Justice Institute on GBV

Commitment by: Avon Products, Inc.

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Avon committed to support the creation of 10 new Justice Institutes in 2017 and 2018 in countries that represent top global markets, as well as in countries where previous Institutes are ready to expand. With a commitment of $1 million, Avon will support the training of 500 women throughout the expansion of 10 country Institutes over the course of two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Banking the Unbanked

Commitment by: CARE

NEW: In 2016, CARE committed to providing 500,000 women access to formal financial services in Africa and Asia by 2020. Presently, 1.1 billion women lack access to financial services, while many have access only to the informal financial sector. Given this deficit, CARE will widen women’s access to formal financial services through strengthening its Village Savings Loan Association network, identifying mature VSLA communities, leveraging its relationships with banks and mobile network operators, and developing culturally responsive digital products, where possible. Commencing in East Africa—where CARE has a large existing network—the commitment will expand to Western and Southern Africa and Asia from 2016 – 2020. Looking ahead, this commitment will contribute to CARE’s broader global strategy to provide 30 million women access to formal financial services by 2020. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Entrepreneurs & Tech

Commitment by: Cherie Blair Foundation For Women

NEW: In 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women committed to giving 10,000 women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, mentoring, and the valuable information they need to grow their businesses. The Foundation has committed to developing an application through its Technology Program that will deliver information via SMS to women entrepreneurs that will have a networking component. The commitment will identify one country to implement the project and will work with local partners, including a local NGO as well as a mobile network operator to deliver this commitment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator

Commitment by: Dermalogica

Partner(s): City & Guilds Group; Operation Hope, Inc.; U.S. Small Business Administration

NEW: In 2016, Dermalogica committed to a two phase program to provide vocational training to women. Dermalogica has committed to creating industry specific business skills by building off of their FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with free online classes to support vocational training education. The first phase will be the development of the online platform, which will then phase into marketing and distribution, as well as new courses added in 2017-2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Mining Communities

Commitment by: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Partner(s): Don Bosco Institute; Thunderbird School Of Global Management; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Freeport-McMoRan committed to invest $5 million to promote women’s economic empowerment and address violence against women in four countries by 2021. Starting in 2017, Freeport-McMoRan will scale up its online platform DreamBuilder entrepreneurship training program for women to develop skills to strengthen their businesses. Broadly, Freeport-McMoRan will work to develop programs that will support women through resources, training, consulting services and mentoring. They will also offer at least $1 million in new capital to facilitate the growth of at least 60 women-owned businesses. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: A Multi-Sector Approach

Commitment by: Global Fund for Women

Partner(s): Clinton Foundation; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Global Fund for Women committed to investing $3 million over a two year period in partnerships that will raise the visibility of women-led organizations removing barriers to gender equality globally. Global Fund for Women will make grants averaging $40,000 to grantee partners through their annual open call for proposals. This commitment will further contribute to the mission of Global Fund for Women to change the systems in which women and girls live and work; and build movements that catalyze transformation for individuals and societies. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Buying from Women

Commitment by: WEConnect International

Partner(s): EY; Freeport-McMoRan Inc.; IBM; Ingersoll Rand Company Ltd.; Pfizer Inc; Procter & Gamble; Walmart

NEW: In 2016, WEConnect International committed to expanding upon a previous CGI commitment to track and measure global contract opportunities for women owned business based outside of the U.S. WEConnect will focus on making it easier for corporations to find and do business with more women as suppliers and to measure their progress from 2016 to 2021. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: McLarty Global Fellowship

Commitment by: McLarty Associates

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, The McLarty Global Fellowship committed to working with Vital Voices to contribute research to advance the research and advocacy for women and girls conducted by Vital Voices. The McLarty Global Fellowship will support two graduate students from the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas to spend a semester in Washington, DC advancing the work of Vital Voices. One Fellow will be assigned to the economic empowerment team at Vital Voices and the second Fellow will work directly with the Human Rights team. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Skills Training for Women

Commitment by: Nest

Partner(s): If Hummingbird Foundation Inc.; West Elm

NEW: In 2016, Nest committed to reaching 100,000 artisans by expanding its Nest Professional Program by growing brand partnerships over the next three years. Craft production enables women to work while caring for dependents and provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent. Nest’s commitment will match artisan producers with high caliber industry experts by leveraging brand partnership to ensure the work is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Business Development

Commitment by: Procter & Gamble

Partner(s): WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Proctor and Gamble committed to implementing Women’s Business Development Programs in order to train 100 women business owners by 2017. P&G will initially target the following countries: China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and the United States. Ultimately, this commitment will contribute to P&G’s goal of enabling women business owners to build their business and have a greater economic impact in the communities in which they operate. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: End Workplace Violence

Commitment by: Sodexo Group

NEW: In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India. By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the community. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Every Hour Matters Campaign

Commitment by: Together For Girls

Partner(s): Becton, Dickinson and Company; CARE; Child Helpline International; Cummins&Partners; Pan-American Health Organization; SafeTrek; Save the Children; United Nations Women; Women Deliver; World Health Organization

NEW: In 2016, Through its Every Hour Matters campaign, Together for Girls committed to assisting girls and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that leaves a proportion of survivors with only 72 hours to receive life-saving post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception. Together for Girls will increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care by increasing the public’s awareness and building partnerships with leaders to improve survivors’ access to comprehensive services. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners: Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Ending Gender-Based Violence

Commitment by: United Nations Women

NEW: In 2016, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women committed to funding $1 million in grants targeting projects and supporting civil society organizations that empower refugee women and girls in an effort to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls. Prioritizing countries that have been impacted by the ongoing refugee crisis. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Changemakers with Pond’s

Commitment by: Unilever

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Unilever launched a fellowship program that will invest in 100 emerging global women leaders over the next four years through its brand Pond’s. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Dignified Jobs for India’s Poorest

Commitment by: Upaya Social Ventures

Partner(s): anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd; Krishi Star; Maitri; Open Road Alliance; Saahas; Tamul Plates

NEW: In 2016, Upaya committed to investing in more women led enterprises over the next three years to increase the total number of women in its portfolio by 50%. Upaya will invest in agribusiness, skill development, and labor intensive manufacturing businesses. These businesses will participate in a financial management program. Over three years, Upaya will work with 50 companies and invest in 10 of them. This new approach will allow Upaya to create new partnerships with industry experts and investors to empower women entrepreneurs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Tech for Women’s Rights

Commitment by: WAKE: Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange

NEW: In 2016, WAKE committed to investing in three to five NGOs from its Tech2Empower (T2E) initiative, a tech and communications training workshop for leaders of women’s rights organizations. WAKE’s commitment will focus on three expansions of T2E: expanding to two new regions (Central America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa); launching T2E Fellowships; and establishing Learning Hubs. In its expansion WAKE will hold T2E workshops to train NGO leaders in the two regions, which will provide a foundation for T2E Fellowships and Learning Hubs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Delivering for Good

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): Together For Girls

NEW: In 2016, Women Deliver committed to launching a four year global campaign, Deliver for Good, which promotes investments (political, programmatic, and financial) in girls and women, specifically focusing on violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women in Conflict Areas

Commitment by: Women For Women International

Partner(s): Kingdom of the Netherlands

NEW: In 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) commits to supporting economic empowerment activities for socially and economically marginalized women over the age of 18 who are in the greatest need, through its comprehensive women’s empowerment program. Through this program, WfWI will focus on developing a curriculum reaching 25 women that would build empowerment skills and engaging men in activities that will address issues of violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Advancing Women in the Workforce

Commitment by: Women’s Funding Network

NEW: In 2016, Women’s Funding Network committed to build their Advancing Women in the Workforce program with up to 10 women’s foundations in the US. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding from its members to launch a women’s economic security digital storytelling platform that will drive engagement with women’s foundations and provide a valuable fundraising tool and 70,000 to work in target communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sector. 

President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Pathway to Social Entrepreneurship for Young Leaders

Commitment by: The Resolution Project

Partner(s): African Leadership Academy; Axiom Investment Advisors; Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; DuPont Company; Echoing Green; General Electric; Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.; Group 113; Harvard University; Hatzimemos Libby; Jim Mannino Public Relations; National Society of High School Scholars; Semester at Sea; The Geraldine y Gabriel Sunshine Foundation; The World Model UN Conference

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, The Resolution Project (‘Resolution’) committed to expand its Resolution Fellowship to support 400 college students from across the globe who seek to address an array of global challenges through social entrepreneurship. Resolution also launched new initiatives – the Resolution Institute, Pathway and Corporate Program Partnerships, the Fellow Resources System, and The Resolution SOLVE Summit – to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources for young social entrepreneurs.  More than 60% of Resolution Fellows report they would have been unlikely to launch their social venture without the support of Resolution, proving that they play a catalytic role in their Fellows’ development as socially responsible leaders.  Resolution Fellows report improvements in their adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills and note that Resolution has helped them respond to challenges and obstacles. Resolution Fellows have gone on to secure more than $2.5 million in additional funding through revenue, grants, awards, etc. More than 90% of Resolution Fellows report high satisfaction rates with the mentorship they receive from volunteer Guides.

         From Divisive Crisis to Inclusive Cities: Catalyzing Transformative Partnerships in Greater Monrovia

Commitment by: Cities Alliance

Partner(s): Comic Relief; Habitat For Humanity International; Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Urban Affairs, Government of Libera; Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); Paynesville City Corporation (PCC); Shack/Slum Dwellers International; StreetNet International; UN-Habitat; United Cities and Local Governments Africa; UNOPS; Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing; YMCA Liberia

NEW: In 2016, Cities Alliance committed to improving the lives of 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, Liberia by empowering local residents to create lasting change in their communities through partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. Cities Alliance, in partnership with local and national government, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity International, Comic Relief, YMCA, WIEGO, StreetNet International, and SDI will mobilize communities and equip them to undertake comprehensive urban development solutions, enabling basic service improvements, affordable housing schemes, enhanced small business opportunities and resilience upgrades in existing slums and poor neighborhoods, including in hazard prone coastal and wetland areas. Empowering local communities and building capacity among civic leaders via neighborhood associations, Cities Alliances wishes to bridge the existing gap between slum dwellers and both local and national levels of government, improving strategic urban planning frameworks and enhancing national enabling environments, in order to develop and bring about meaningful change in the lives of the urban poor.

         MHNOW: Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap

Commitment by: Global Development Incubator

Partner(s): Arogya World; Basic Needs; Children’s Health Fund; Clear Village; Falkora; Global Futures Group; Grand Challenges Canada; Hans Foundation; Harvard School Of Public Health; International Institute for Mental Health Leadership; International Medical Corps; Johnson & Johnson; Keystone Human Services; King’s College London; Many Minds Collaborative; Peter C. Alderman Foundation; Step Up on Second; StrongMinds, Inc.

NEW: In 2016, the Global Development Incubator, BasicNeeds, Johnson & Johnson, Grand Challenges Canada and 20 others committed to launch mhNOW (Mental Health Now), a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to catalyze, connect, and support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health. mhNOW’s ambition is to activate leadership and empower cities to catalyze cross-sector collective actions to close the mental health gap in 30 cities by 2030. The mhNOW MSI will mobilize and channel resources and networks to city projects through a challenge prize and through technical assistance to 1) scale local innovations; 2) mobilize youth leadership; and 3) improve the evidence base for the return on investment in mental health and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to aggregate city and global data indicators. During its first year, partners will engage communities as various as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Philadelphia and Flint.

President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CGI CEO Bob Harrison published a piece in the Huffington Post on the many ways CGI and its members have transformed modern philanthropy. In it, he notes:

  • CGI members have frequently come together to find unconventional partners—across sectors—for collective impact:“A 2014 analysis of CGI commitments reveals that the most successful Commitments to Action involve partnerships. Since 2005, members of the CGI community have worked together to leverage each organization’s strengths and expertise to achieve their shared goals for social impact.”
  • CGI members have helped define innovative investing for social good: “CGI members have created and scaled innovative investment models—pioneering methods that have become the new standard.”
  • CGI members have put girls and women at the center of every issue: “The unique challenges facing girls and women worldwide are at the forefront of CGI programming and are integrated across all our focus areas. Whether a commitment targets technology, health care, the environment, or education—members are encouraged to integrate the perspective of girls and women into both the design and implementation of their commitments. To date, CGI members have supported 11 million girls and women through empowerment initiatives.”
  • CGI members have responded quickly to disasters and have helped make our communities more resilient: “When disaster strikes, the CGI community is positioned to act fast—it comes together to assess needs and assist with critical resources.”
  • CGI members have advanced the approach of “doing well by doing good:” For the past 11 years, President Clinton has been a leading advocate for engaging the private sector to create positive change. This philosophy of “doing well by doing good” has been enthusiastically embraced by CGI members from the business community, whose commitments have transcended conventional Corporate Social Responsibility and have helped push modern philanthropy forward.”

Devex provided a preview of the program and will be exploring CGI’s legacy and the role it has played in developed in its coverage throughout the event.

In a New York Times piece that discussed recent developments in the ivory trade, CGI’s three-year long campaign to save the elephant population was highlighted. Progress on this commitment will be announced in the coming days.

CGI commitment-maker Ubuntu’s Jake Lief wrote in Quartz on how leadership lessons for charities often come from stories about failure.

CGI CEO Bob Harrison discussed the 2016 CGI Annual Meeting and how CGI has changed philanthropy on Bloomberg Radio.

Last week on CNN, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala discussed the Annual Meeting and CGI’s impact across the world.

AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted CGI’s unique model of bringing unlikely partners together in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

CGI staff also reflected on the magnitude of the Clinton Global Initiative and its legacy, watch the video here: https://youtu.be/YhhDzra5SuM 

To watch major plenary and breakout sessions, go to http://live.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

For a timeline of the Clinton Global Initiative over the years, visit https://www.clintonfoundation.org/sites/default/files/cgi_timeline.pdf.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org; follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin