Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates to the United Nations General Assembly, and ladies and gentlemen:I am delighted to join Ambassador Verveer in this National Voluntary Presentation on behalf of the people of the United States – to discuss U.S. commitments to the Millennium Development Goals – and how integral they are to the empowerment of women around the world. Ambassador Verveer, your service testifies to our President’s commitment – unprecedented in American history – in creating a position to lead the political, economic and social advancement of women. The two of us represent a country whose voice on the Millennium Development Goals has only started to be heard recently, but whose responsibility to lead is great.
First, we must drive innovation, applying new technologies and methods to address human development needs and developing new ways to deliver existing solutions to more people, more cheaply, more quickly. For example, we need an operating model that encourages all of us to be “development entrepreneurs.” A development entrepreneur is someone who develops a clear vision and strategy, builds a world-class team, and innovates, takes risks, makes course corrections along way, learning as much from failures as from successes. I’ll describe two critical initiatives shortly, in health and hunger, where we’re really putting innovation to work in support of women’s well-being.
Our second imperative is to invest in sustainability by focusing on broad-based economic growth, nurturing well-governed institutions, developing sustainable delivery systems, mitigating shocks, and supporting trade. We’ve extended the African Growth and Opportunity Act for exports from Sub-Saharan Africa through 2015, for example. Key to sustainability is investing in women and girls; more on that, too, in a minute.
Third, we will track and evaluate development outcomes, not just dollars spent, by improving the quality of data to assess progress, building indigenous evaluation capacity, and fostering a relentless commitment to measuring results. We’ve learned much from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, for instance, in its rigorous monitoring and evaluation approach.
And fourth, we must reinforce mutual accountability, in principle and in practice, by recognizing that both partner and donor countries have shared responsibilities. That’s why we’re launching a major Aid Transparency Initiative, in collaboration with U.S. agencies, other donors, and partner governments. And we’re creating common reporting frameworks to develop an Aid Dashboard – to allow stakeholders to visualize foreign assistance investments by geographic area or sector, and track trends over time.
A second example of a major initiative we are launching to meet the MDGs is known as Feed the Future, which was previewed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last September, here at the United Nations. It’s a $3.5-billion, three-year commitment to strengthen the world’s food supply that is expected to reach at least 25-30 million people, and raise their incomes by 10 percent per year over two decades. We are working with partners and stakeholders, from the World Bank to the Gates Foundation and from the private sector to partner governments, to address the needs of small scale farmers, many of whom are women and own agri-businesses. We are harnessing the power of women to drive economic growth. We focus on crops that enhance women's standing, production, and incomes, and programs through which women will receive targeted access to financial services and extension services, all delivered by female extension workers. Feed the Future also reflects the U.S. comparative advantage in research, innovation and entrepreneurship. We will increase our investment in nutrition and agriculture development while maintaining our support for humanitarian food assistance.
As Ambassador Verveer has emphasized, this initiative acknowledges that reducing gender inequality is an important contributor to eradicating global hunger and recognizes the fundamental role that women play in achieving food security. In most developing countries, women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food. Analysis by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that equalizing women's access to agricultural inputs can increase output by more than 10 percent. Studies show that when gains in income are controlled by women, they are more likely to be spent on food and children's needs. By investing more in women we amplify benefits across families and generations.Based on the examples that Ambassador Verveer and I have shared with you today, I hope you’ll agree that the U.S. has learned the importance of integrating a gender-based perspective into all aspects of our development work. We understand that gender-inclusive development is the right way to do business for donor agencies, developing countries, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
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