Clinton Initiative Pledges Total $1.25 Billion; Gaza Terrorist Cover

September 19, 2005

Former President Bill Clinton closed a very successful initial conference in New York for his Global Initiative with commitments of $1.25 billion. The 3-day event, organized by the ex-President to coincide with the current United Nations Anniversary summit meetings, focused on ways to raise funds to alleviate global poverty and assist people afflicted by AIDS and other diseases.

Over 800 people attended the meeting. Expected donations of around $500 million more than doubled. The participants vowed to act in the coming year on the conference topics: religion, climate change, poverty and governance.

A conference bulletin noted that Swiss Re CEO John Coomber was among the featured speakers on the final day. Other notables identified by the bulletin included: “His Excellency Kjell Magne Bondevik, Prime Minister of Norway; His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; Her Majesty Queen Rania of the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; The Honorable Al Gore; The Honorable Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations, and Jim Donald, President and CEO, Starbucks.”

President Clinton closed the three-day event with a workshop summation, action plan and closing address: “The past three days have given us all the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds all united towards a common goal. From the beginning, I emphasized that this conference cannot alone solve the problems we have discussed, but today one thing is more clear than ever — all of us want a better world. I am proud of the commitments made during this conference and look forward to hearing about their progress throughout the year. Next year, I hope that we gather with the collective knowledge that together our actions can improve some of the world’s greatest problems.”

Coomber’s position and experience underscores the depth of talent attending the conference. His expertise could be worth a great deal. One of the Clinton Initiative’s first priorities is to build on the “Center For American Progress’ pledge to coordinate with others interested in developing a concrete proposal for terrorism insurance within the next six months, specifically targeted to increase investment in Gaza.” Coomber, who’s stepping down from his post at the end of the year (See IJ Website Sept.12), has the high level qualifications and knowledge that could prove invaluable for such a high-risk program.

Other proposals include: “Basic Energy committed to build two wind energy power plants totaling 109 megawatts in the Dominican Republic worth over US$130 million; Janet and George McKinley pledged US$5 million each to the Grameen Foundation USA’s microfinance initiatives and Oxfam America to support sustainable livelihood; and Search for Common Ground will partner with Nestle to support two seasons of a reality television series and a drama series aimed to promote reconciliation and tolerance between religious and ethnic groups.”

“The Clinton Global Initiative – – brings together a diverse group of current and former heads of state, business leaders, noteworthy academicians, and key NGO representatives to participate in a series of interactive workshops,” the bulletin noted. It is a “nonpartisan and nonprofit organization,” aimed at finding ways of “reducing poverty; using religion as a force for reconciliation and conflict resolution; implementing new business strategies and technologies to combat climate change; and strengthening governance.”

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