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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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US Set to Commit Significant Resources for Partnerships Toward New Path for Development

Johannesburg, 25 August—The World Summit on Sustainable Development should focus on serious commitments to address poverty, economic growth and environmental stewardship, and the United States says it will commit significant resources, beginning with the Summit, to pursue a new path to sustainable development.

"The Summit is an historic opportunity for the international community to start committing ourselves to result-oriented actions that will really start to make a difference around the world," according to the current head of the US Delegation to the Summit, John Turner, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The US, he said, was bringing commitments from President Bush, along with specific strategies and significant resources to support partnership efforts that will help meet the goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to clean water, to promote access to clean energy, to address hunger, provide healthcare and protect forests and oceans. He stressed that the initiatives would have a major focus on Africa.

But the resources that the US will commit now, he said, are seen as just a "down payment" for partnerships that will help "build a path to development." The resources include up to $970 million over the next three years for water, which the US expects will mobilize more than $1.6 billion through partnerships; $43 million in 2003 for clean energy that will lead to an additional $400 million in other resources through partnerships; and $90 million in 2003 to help farmers, particularly in Africa. The US has already pledged over $1 billion in 2002 and 2003 to address health issues, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Resources are the key to building this path, he said, and the way to tap the necessary resources to address the problems is through collaborative efforts, or partnerships. "The issues are so big and the resources needed are so great. I don't see another path that has demonstrated as much success as collaborative action."

"I'm pleased to report that there is a lot of excitement from a lot of donors for collaborative efforts," Turner said. He said the US was supporting such initiatives to protect the forests in the Congo River Basin, to protect coral reefs, and to combat marine pollution due to land-based sources. Also included, he said, were efforts to expand access to clean and more efficient energy in developing countries included renewables, and that these efforts could also address climate change.

"Government assistance is important," Turner said, noting that the US had committed itself to the largest increase in official development assistance in its history-a 50 per cent increase-at Monterrey. But with one dollar out of every ten in private hands, Turner said, "We have to engage the private sector. That's one of the keys."

Partnerships are not new, he said, noting that there has been a long history of willing entities coming together with donor and recipient countries and communities to agree on programmes and plans. He cited, as an example, the US commitment of resources to the partnership of governments, NGO, foundations, charities, and pharmaceutical companies that had come together to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was devastating southern Africa.

Turner said that NGOs, primarily the major successful international NGOs, have long done business through partnerships. "Those NGOs that are making a difference are expert on coopting partners. They wrote the book on how to do collaborative efforts."

The partnerships need to be accountable, he said. "You can't throttle them. Recipient countries have expectations that have to be met and donor countries have expectations that have to be met. The partners themselves will provide that accountability."

The US, Turner said, has also made a significant commitment to replenish the Global Environment Facility, which he said has been a key source of resources to developing countries.

The new resources announced in the last year, he said, which include the $5 billion increase announced at Monterrey, along with increased funding for the GEF, healthcare, and climate change, is, Turner said, "the beginning of our concentration on the new path we are trying to build."

The Summit, he said, should get beyond concluding with a text containing lofty expectations. "This gathering is an unprecedented historic opportunity to begin a new way of doing business."

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24 August 2006