Here at CGI, the World Food Program and Yum! Brands announced an $80 million commitment to fight world hunger. In partnership with the World Food Program the World Bank committed for the first time to open its $1.2 billion global food crisis fund so that developing country governments can provide school meals and de-worming to more than 5 million children. Wyclef Jean, who founded the Yele Haiti NGO, and World Food Program Ambassador Against Hunger Drew Barrymore were on hand for the announcement.
From the left, Wyclef Jean, Yum! Brands CEO David C. Novack, Drew Barrymore , WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and World Band President Robert Zoellick.
More pics below the fold.
As Matt mentioned earlier, across the city from where world leaders are gathering today to take stock of the Millennium Development Goals, Democratic nominee Barack Obama announced earlier that as president he would commit to ending deaths from Malaria by 2015.
This is big news.
Malaria kills 1 million people each year, the vast majority of whom are children under the age of five living in sub-Saharan Africa. The thing is, these deaths are entirely preventable. A relatively modest investment in preventative measures like bed nets and in treatments like ARV drugs can have a profound impact on the health and welfare of poor, Malaria endemic communities. First Lady Laura Bush has been an outspoken advocate on Malaria. It is very heartening to see that one of the two men who may become president has committed himself to ending this global scourge once and for all.
Hundreds of world leaders gather at the United Nations today to take stock of the Millennium Development Goals. Here’s an excerpt of my op-ed today in The Guardian on the topic.
This week, over 150 world leaders are gathered at the UN for the opening of the general assembly. If recent years are any indication, news outlets will focus on the disagreements aired on Tuesday, when George Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the podium.
But the real drama occurs today (Thursday), when the same global leaders that butted heads earlier in the week take stock of one of the most far-reaching and noble statements of international cooperation ever agreed upon, the millennium development goals.
Hip-Hop star Wil.I.Am released a new video, “In My Name,” which launches a new online collaboration between the artist and a number of global poverty-fighting NGOs around the Millennium Development Goals. Watch for the celebrity cameos in the video, each of whom sign their name in support of the MDGs.
Cross Posted at On Day One
Last year 43,716,440 people in 127 countries demonstrated their determination to fight global poverty by taking to their feet at events around the world. Today, we are precisely one month away from this year's Stand Up Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. Organizers hope to break last year's Guinness Book of World Record feat. Click here to organize a house party on from October 17-19, where you can join with millions across the globe to stand united in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
Here is some inspiration:
Five years ago today an explosive laden truck pulled rammed into the Baghdad headquarters of the United Nations killing 22 people, including the head of mission Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Sergio was a legend at the United Nations. His extraordinary talents as a peacemaker and diplomat touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Early in his career, he single handily negotiated (with the Khmer Rouge) for the repatriation of thousands of Cambodian refugees. From 1999 to 2002 he oversaw the building-from-scratch of the newest country on earth, East Timor. His great success at nation building led Secretary General Kofi Annan to appoint him as head of mission in Iraq where he would apply his gifts as a peacemaker, humanitarian and troubleshooter to the world’s most complex conflict. Sadly, a terrorist’s bomb took his life only a few months into his mission. Iraq descended into chaos not long thereafter.
Sergio may be gone, but his legacy lives on. The Pulitzer Prize winning author Samantha Power wrote a book about him this year. An HBO documentary and a feature film (by the director of Hotel Rwanda) are both on the way. And now, there is a new blog on the block to keep Sergio’s vision of peacemaking fresh and build a movement for a smart foreign policy built upon the values he embodied as an international civil servant.
Chasing the Flame blog (which shares the title of Power’s book) is written by Sergio’s friends, admirers, and assorted foreign policy experts. Annick Stevenson, Sergio’s former spokesperson, opens the blog.
Imagine a world in which everybody would speak to his/her neighbor, would listen to his/her views and would try to understand them, would, more generally, always wish to know the will of others before deciding, would negotiate before envisaging any military reaction, would never ever view war as the solution to any conflict whatever the reasons may be…A world in which war would become impossible because it would too difficult to think of killing someone you share so much with. This world existed. It was in the mind of Sergio Vieira de Mello. This is how he conceived it and lived it, as much as he could, or at least as a matter of principle.
Add Chasing the Flame to your blogrolls and RSS feeds. Sergio’s vision of diplomacy and constructive dialogue is as urgent and relevant to American foreign policy as it ever was.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.