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Clinton Global Initiative Inspires $9.4 Billion in Commitments
NEW YORK, New York, September 28, 2009 (ENS) - A multi-billion dollar outpouring of generosity marked the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative last week in New York. CGI members committed themselves to work toward solutions in four global challenge areas - energy and climate change, education, global health, and economic empowerment.

President Bill Clinton recognizes members who made a commitment at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. (Photo courtesy CGI)

Former President Bill Clinton announced Friday at the end of the four-day meeting, CGI members made 284 new commitments valued at more than $9.4 billion dollars. In total, he said, these commitments are projected to improve more than 200 million lives.

"I think we can say with some certainty that this model actually does work," President Clinton said. "People don't have to have the same politics, the same religion, or speak the same language to work together and to have an impact. We all have things to learn from each other. What we need is a shared mechanism to achieve common goals."

Since 2005, members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion dollars.

"Whether it's providing housing to the homeless, education to the poor, or green technology to fix our climate crisis, the solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time all require investments in infrastructure and human capital," said Clinton.

"Governments and companies need to make smart investments in public works and the labor force to spread the benefits of economic growth to millions more people around the world," he said.

2009 Clinton Global Initiative environmental commitments include:

Across the United States:

  • Pegasus Sustainable Century commits to bring capital, financial, operating, and policy expertise to middle-market growth businesses in the United States. Through this commitment, these businesses will have the potential to transform a segment of industry with more efficient, sustainable solutions with sustainability benefits, including pollution reduction, improved energy efficiency, and reduced resource use.

  • Green For All and Living Cities commit to form the Urban Opportunity Retrofit Fund, a new social investment fund that finances efforts to retrofit homes, businesses, and community facilities to achieve greater energy efficiency and other environmental benefits while creating jobs and cutting costs for low-income communities.
  • Tests of a new air distribution system ensure this home meets efficiency standards. (Photo courtesy FSEC-IBACOS)

  • The Jack D. Hidary Foundation and partners will accelerate the energy retrofit of the U.S. built environment by making available innovative low cost financing for commercial and residential projects. This will be achieved through accelerated adoption of municipal Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, mayoral, state, and federal support of PACE finance, and the development of PACE finance best practices.

  • John Berdes and ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia commit to establish the Portland Retrofit Collaborative, which will promote greater investment in efficient building projects, in particular residential and small business retrofits focused on energy issues such as weather-proofing, space heating, and hot water heaters. This commitment will make homes and businesses more energy efficient while creating green collar jobs.

  • CMEA Capital commits to investing new capital in clean technology and new energy initiatives in companies whose technology combines scientific breakthroughs from a variety of disciplines. This commitment aims to translate environmental challenges into global economic value.

  • EarthEcho International, with its partners, commits to engage 8,000 students across the country in curriculum-driven environmental service projects to restore and protect Earth's water systems. Students will be supported by an online knowledge center and their collective impacts will be measured using revolutionary technologies.

  • AREVA will launch the construction of the AREVA Thorium Extraction Facility. Through the treatment of scrap materials from its own processing, AREVA will have the capacity to produce large amounts of medical grade Lead 212 suitable for cancer treatment through Alpha-Radio-immuno-therapy. This treatment targets cancers including aggressive forms that kill at least one million people in the world each year.

  • ESRI and NAVTEQ, in partnership with the City of San Francisco, commit to implement a pilot program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from specific municipal vehicle fleets, and mobile work force vehicles in the city and county of San Francisco. By using fleet route optimization software, city workers will locate routes that minimize fuel consumption.

  • Majora Carter Group commits to create an urban agricultural cooperative in inner-city Detroit to sell locally-grown produce and develop an investment strategy to take the pilot to scale. The cooperative will encourage investment in sustainable approaches by local developers, community members, and the city of Detroit, while also empowering and including traditionally disenfranchised citizens.

  • Deutsche Bank and the Community Preservation Corporation will raise capital to retrofit residential properties in New York City. In this pilot phase, the program will retrofit 2,000 low-income and moderate-income housing units. This commitment will help lower energy and water use for property owners, while reducing carbon emissions, providing higher-quality affordable housing, and creating jobs in New York's green economy.

  • The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship will identify and support young entrepreneurs from low-income communities across the United States interested in creating environmentally friendly businesses. NFTE will create a monetary award for the best "green" business plan at 12 regional and national competitions. Winners will receive mentorship from top business leaders to transform their commercial plans into viable enterprises.

  • MGR Foundation commits to create long-term partnerships through the GREEN Community Schools Model between high-need public schools and their surrounding communities, transforming them into hubs of environmental activity and social justice. Starting with pilot projects in Chicago and Detroit, MGR will create diverse governing bodies to drive the process of greening schools and decreasing their environmental footprint and raising healthier students.
Around the World:
  • Mantria Corporation commits to help mitigate global warming through the use of its Carbon Fields site, where Mantria will perform trials on their product BioChar, a carbon-negative charcoal, to prove how this product can sequester carbon dioxide, improve soil quality when buried, and reduce emissions in developing countries.

  • South Energyx commits to combating the devastating effects of climate change by reclaiming nine square kilometers of land for a new city, Eko Atlantic. Eko Atlantic will be an environmentally conscious city intended to restore an original coastline and protect Victoria Island, Nigeria from the risk of ocean surge and flooding.

  • Watershed Organization Trust commits to take its community-based model of watershed rehabilitation to two African countries, providing local residents with culturally relevant training in climate change adaptation strategies. This model will allow communities to regenerate the natural resource base of individual local watersheds, and promote water saving agriculture practices and livestock development.
     

  • SOUL Foundation commits to rehabilitate 42 miles of the polluted Jukskei River in South Africa. Its sustainable model revolutionizes the concept of waterway management, putting it in the hands of small entrepreneurs who will transform their community's natural resource into clean water. Subsequently, SOUL will train entrepreneurs on how to maintain the river and create jobs through community enterprises.

  • The Carbon Disclosure Project and its partners will build a comprehensive, global corporate emissions database that will collect standardized information from all sectors. This system will bridge the gap between multi-national corporations and governments, providing an accurate measurement of the global corporate carbon footprint to various stakeholders, and enabling companies to take action to reduce future emissions.

  • Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group commits to create 25 infrastructure development enterprises for underserved communities in Latin America over the next five years. These enterprises will bring water, sanitation, energy, and other services to a combined population of over 200,000 people. Furthermore they will generate economic activity while providing basic services to struggling communities.

  • Pick n Pay Retailers will sponsor an expedition by environmentalist and explorer Lewis Gordon Pugh to swim in a once-frozen lake on Mt. Everest, with the aim of raising international awareness of the negative impact of climate change on the environment. Leveraging this historic swim, Pick n Pay's School Club will reach one million South African children with a new environmentally-focused curriculum.

  • The EDP Foundation and its partners will secure the energy needs of the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to reduce poverty and encourage sustainable development. They will develop a set of standardized, environmentally-sustainable, and renewable energy solutions such as solar and wind systems serving 50,000 refugees to ensure the camp can meet its energy needs and preserve local natural resources.

  • The UPS Foundation and partners will develop innovative models that will enhance the capacity of organizations and governments worldwide to respond more rapidly and effectively to national disasters. These new models will leverage business expertise and engage skill-based volunteers; encourage in-kind support and strategic cross-sector partnerships; and focus on supply chain management and logistics, including transportation, warehousing, and distribution systems.

  • His Excellency Jose Maria Figueres Olsen and Aimee Christensen, with their partners, will launch the Global Observatory, a new organization dedicated to making the climate change issue relevant to the public. A team of leading experts will evaluate the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference negotiations and translate what the implications are for communities and the world at large.
Several of this year's commitments will benefit Haiti:
  • Habitat for Humanity International commits to empower Haitians to mitigate the impact of climate change and increased hurricanes by providing or repairing shelter for 1,500 families in extreme poverty. This will improve employment opportunities for 600 people or small enterprises in the low-income housing construction sector, introduce low-cost construction materials, and train 1,000 families in disaster prevention and mitigation.
    Haitian woman carries water for her family. (Photo by LPDHaiti)

  • The Green Family Foundation and its partners will raise the cultural capacity and morale in Haiti through the creative use of key cultural documentation in the community, schools, and media. This will be accomplished through the repatriation of recordings made by Alan Lomax that are a testament to the power of Haitians to create and hold fast against many odds.

  • Andrew Weiss, International Action, and their partners commit to provide clean, safe water to 360,000 Haitians over the next year, by making and installing water tanks and chlorinators in Port-au-Prince neighborhoods. As the program progresses in future years, typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, and chronic diarrhea will no longer be a constant threat to children in these areas.

  • SunNight Solar Enterprises commits to provide 500,000 portable, solar powered lights to bring the economic and quality of life benefits of light to at least 2.5 million Haitians on an immediate and sustainable basis. Hundreds of NGOs and other charitable and humanitarian organizations will be mobilized to become distribution partners in this project.

  • James Lee Witt Associates commits to provide disaster relief training in several communities in Haiti through Community Emergency Response Team training for women. Through this commitment, James Lee Witt Associates will improve the overall ability of these communities to survive and manage the consequences of natural disasters.

  • Actor Matt Damon's organization Water.org commits to bringing safe drinking water and sanitation to a minimum of 50,000 people in Haiti over the next three years. It will enhance awareness of good hygiene practices among local communities, and focus on integrating sustainable water resources management into community practices.
While many commitments are made in advance of the annual meeting, some are inspired onsite, President Clinton said. For example CGI member Mouhsine Serrrar from Prakti Design Labs came in to the annual meeting to find partners for his commitment to distribute fuel efficient cookstoves in India.

During the meeting, Serrar has not only developed a new commitment around developing fuel efficient cookstoves in Haiti, a country that needs new options for stopping deforestation, but he has also found a wide range of implementing and funding partners including E+Co, AIDG and the Sierra Club, among others to make it possible.

Established in 2005 by President Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative has gathered a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.

Since 2005, CGI annual meetings have brought together more than 100 current and former heads of state, 10 of the last 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, hundreds of CEOs, heads of foundations, philanthropists, directors of nongovernmental organizations, and members of the media.

Copyright Environment News Service, ENS, 2009. All rights reserved.



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