Bush Administration Announces Major Funding Initiatives at World Summit
By Joan M. Veon
The Bush Administration signaled its full support for the United Nations World Conference on Sustainable development by announcing five major initiatives that support the areas of water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.Furthermore, the United States sent representatives from all supporting agencies which includes the Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, USAID, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Office of the US Trade Representative and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
In response to criticism that the Bush Administration has not been supportive of the United Nations global agenda, White House Council on Environmental Quality James L. Connaughton countered with the fact that the Bush Administration was at the Water Summit in March, a month later in Monterrey at the Financing for Development Conference President Bush led by announcing new policy with regard to aiding less developed countries which was the third largest U.S. financial support in history by increasing Overseas Development Assistance by $5B over five years. The other two times was after World War II for the Marshall Plan and during the Kennedy Administration.Chairman Connaughton went on to say that the U.S. supported the World Food Summit held in Rome and here in Johannesburg to further implement the historic global agenda being put forth.
The position of the U.S. government was put forth in a World Summit Vision Statement that said in part, “We believe sustainable development begins at home and is supported by effective domestic policies and international partnerships.We recognize poverty remains a global problem of huge proportions that demands our action. In Partnership, we will work to unite governments, the private sector and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions of governance, open markets and to mobilize and use all development resources more effectively.”The five initiatives will be in partnership with other governments, transnational corporations and foundations.
To fulfill its commitment to the United Nations, the U.S. will spend $970 million over three years which will be used to leverage private monies to generate more than $1.6B for water-related activities globally.In the “Clean Energy Initiative” the U.S. proposes to invest up to $43M in 2003 to leverage about $400 million in investments from partners.With regard to our “Initiative to Cut Hunger in Africa” the U.S. will invest $90 million in 2003 that includes $53 million to harness science and technology for African farmers.In promoting economic development to eliminate poverty and improver governance in six Central African countries, the U.S. will invest up to $53 million over the next four years to support sustainable forest management and protected areas.Lastly, to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through financial and technical support for the Global fund and the International Mother and Child HIV Prevention Initiative, the Bush administration has proposed $1.2B in 2003 to combat these three diseases.
Currently the U.S. is involved in fourteen partnerships that include oceans, Geographic Information and Learning, biodiversity, agriculture and natural resources, health and education, sustainable tourism and transport around the world.
In a separate press briefing, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart who heads Business Action for Sustainable Development said, “Business has come to Johannesburg with a commitment to work in partnership with other major groups, governments and agencies to deliver sustainable development.We are also committed to a number of initiatives, in partnership with governments and others, to increase investment and to grow business in developing and least developed countries.”Sir Mark then enumerated numerous partnerships in delivering water to the poor, developing renewable forms of energy, improving access to AIDS care, helping to provide farmers with market access locally and internationally and looking to preserve biological diversity.
What is being set in place here is the new form of government or to use their terminology, “governance”.You see public-private-partnership is a business arrangement that means the objective of government changes and therefore the form or structure of government does as well. The more partnerships are established, the less there is to government as each partnership increases the percentage of what government is and how much has been transferred into partnership.
There are many different ways the goals of the World Summit will be met.It not only is through partnership but outright grants and then by changing our laws.In a press briefing held on Wednesday, U.S. Congressmen Dennis Kuchinich and Chris Shays along with Mayor Jerry Brown, former governor of California and Global Green which is the U.S. affiliate of Greencross International led my Mikhail Gorbachev called for massive financial commitments for solar energy.Congressman Kucinich who is the leader of the Progressive Caucasus will introduce a bill in the fall session to reduce government energy subsidies and re-appropriate those funds to a $50B Solar Venture Fund that would provide electricity to those in poor countries who have no energy.
The thesis that the United Nations has put forth from the beginning with the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 is that the developed countries represent 20% of the world’s population consume 80% of the world’s resources which they say is not sustainable. Those from the less developed countries and the least developed countries view this Summit as their opportunity to change the balance.In that regard, they have been extremely adamant.
The problem with a public-private partnership is that it is a business arrangement.In order to pacify business, which has deeper pockets than most governments they bring a fair amount of money to the table and therefore ownership of a particular asset changes as to support the business arrangement.The world is indeed changing.