Obama’s speech to UN Development Summit, announcing “US Global Development Policy” (from NBC; h/t Aid Watch)
So let’s put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests. And let’s reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty. For the past half century has witnessed more gains in human development than at any time in history. A disease that had ravaged the generations, smallpox, was eradicated. Health care has reached the far corners of the world, saving the lives of millions. From Latin America to Africa to Asia, developing nations have transformed into leaders in the global economy.
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As President, I have made it clear that the United States will do our part. My national security strategy recognizes development as not only a moral imperative, but a strategic and economic imperative. Secretary of State Clinton is leading a review to strengthen and better coordinate our diplomacy and development efforts. We’ve reengaged with multilateral development institutions. And we’re rebuilding the United States Agency for International Development as the world’s premier development agency. In short, we’re making sure that the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century.
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We also recognize that the old ways will not suffice. That is why in Ghana last year I called for a new approach to development that unleashes transformational change and allows more people to take control of their own destiny. After all, no country wants to be dependent on another. No proud leader in this room wants to ask for aid. And no family wants to be beholden to the assistance of others.
To pursue this vision, my administration conducted a comprehensive review of America’s development programs. We listened to leaders in government, NGOs and civil society, the private sector and philanthropy, Congress and our many international partners.
Today, I am announcing our new U.S. Global Development Policy-the first of its kind by an American administration. It’s rooted in America’s enduring commitment to the dignity and potential of every human being. And it outlines our new approach and the new thinking that will guide our overall development efforts, including the plan that I promised last year and that my administration has delivered to pursue the Millennium Development Goals.
Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business.
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First, we’re changing how we define development. For too long, we’ve measured our efforts by the dollars we spent and the food and medicines we delivered. But aid alone is not development. Development is helping nations to actually develop-moving from poverty to prosperity. And we need more than just aid to unleash that change. We need to harness all the tools at our disposal-from our diplomacy to our trade and investment policies.
Second, we’re changing how we view the ultimate goal of development. Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn’t always improved those societies over the long term. Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for decades. That’s not development, that’s dependence, and it’s a cycle we need to break. Instead of just managing poverty, we have to offer nations and peoples a path out of poverty.
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Building in part on the lessons of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which has helped countries like El Salvador build rural roads and raise the incomes of its people, we will invest in the capacity of countries that are proving their commitment to development.
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This brings me to the third pillar of our new approach. To unleash transformational change, we’re putting a new emphasis on the most powerful force the world has ever known for eradicating poverty and creating opportunity. It’s the force that turned South Korea from a recipient of aid to a donor of aid. It’s the force that has raised living standards from Brazil to India. And it’s the force that has allowed emerging African countries like Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique to defy the odds and make real progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, even as some of their neighbors-like Cote d’Ivoire-have lagged behind.
The force I’m speaking of is broad-based economic growth. Now, every nation will pursue its own path to prosperity. But decades of experience tell us that there are certain ingredients upon which sustainable growth and lasting development depends.
We know that countries are more likely to prosper when they encourage entrepreneurship; when they invest in their infrastructure; and when they expand trade and welcome investment. So we will partner with countries like Sierra Leone to create business environments that attract investment, not scare it away. We’ll work to break down barriers to regional trade and urge nations to open their markets to developing countries. And we’ll keep pushing for a Doha round that is ambitious and balanced-one that works not just for major emerging economies, but for all economies.
We know that countries are more likely to prosper when governments are accountable to their people. So we are leading a global effort to combat corruption-which in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity, and which is a profound violation of human rights. That’s why we now require oil, gas and mining companies that raise capital in the United States to disclose all payments they make to foreign governments. And it’s why I urged the G-20 to put corruption on its agenda and make it harder for corrupt officials to steal from their people and stifle their development.
The United States will focus our development efforts on countries like Tanzania that promote good governance and democracy; the rule of law and equal administration of justice; transparent institutions, with strong civil societies; and respect for human rights. Because over the long run, democracy and economic growth go hand in hand.
We will reach out to countries making the transition from authoritarianism to democracy, and from war to peace. The people of Liberia show that even after years of war, great progress can be achieved. And as others show the courage to put war behind them-including, we hope, in Sudan-the United States will stand with those who seek to build and sustain peace.
And we know that countries are more likely to prosper when they tap the talents of all their people. That’s why we’re investing in the health, education and rights of women, and working to empower the next generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders. Because when mothers and daughters have access to opportunity, economies grow and governance improves. And it’s why we’re partnering with young people, who in many developing countries are more than half the population. We’re expanding educational exchanges, like the one that brought my father to America from Kenya, and we’re helping young entrepreneurs succeed in a global economy.
As the final pillar of our new approach, we’ll insist on more responsibility-from ourselves and others. We’ll insist on mutual accountability. . . . [emphasis added]