Clinton Global Initiative meeting begins, will address investment in women, girls

The Clinton Global Initiative's (CGI) 2009 meeting, which begins Tuesday in New York, has added a new theme to its agenda - "investing in women and girls to narrow the gender gap," Bloomberg reports in an article examining the conference. "In all the world there is only one strategy which clearly slows population growth, raises income and promotes more social stability that is supported across all religious and cultural lines," former President Clinton said. "And that is putting all the girls in school and giving all the young women access to the labor market."

The summit brings together political, corporate and philanthropic leaders along with stakeholders and celebrities to develop and fund solutions to world problems "ranging from education and environmental assistance to climate change and health care." President Barack Obama will address the meeting's opening session (Cole, 9/22).

This year, summit organizers expect there will be "less money pledged to tackle global problems" because of the worldwide recession, "and there will likely be more U.S.-focused plans," Reuters writes.

CGI Chief Executive Robert Harrison's "said the value of the programs to be unveiled at this week's summit would be less than the $8 billion worth of commitments made in 2008, [and] there would likely be more pledges of action made in 2009 than the 250 commitments last year." Harrison also observed that more companies have been eager to back projects addressing world problems because they realize it can be a profitable investment. "Companies are building into their core businesses the commitment (they make at CGI) as opposed to looking at the commitment as a sideline or a charitable effort," he said (Nichols, 9/21).

Ahead of the conference, CNBC interviewed Clinton about CGI's work, including its global health projects. According to Clinton, "25 percent of the deaths every year - and far more in poor countries - are from AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and infections related to dirty water." He spoke about increasing access to clean water and training for health workers (Bartiromo/Chiang, 9/21).  

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