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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                  September 7, 2000


       U.S. Efforts on the Millennium Report "Call to Action" on
                Poverty and Economic Development Issues

The Clinton Administration strongly supports Secretary General Kofi Annan's call to action on poverty alleviation, on economic and social development, and on measures to equip the developing world to take advantage of the worldwide revolution in information technology.

The Clinton Administration is acting aggressively on this broad range of issues. Due in part to U.S. leadership, the recent G-8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan had an unprecedented focus on economic development issues. President Clinton called for a stronger global partnership in support of development and strongly supported the G-8's appeal for bilateral, multilateral and private sector donors to increase their support for countries with effective policies in three areas critical to poverty reduction: infectious disease, basic education and the digital divide.

Support for UN initiatives. The United States is the largest supporter of UN humanitarian and development agencies, providing more than $1.5 billion for critical interventions relating to poverty alleviation, education and training, and relief to refugees and displaced persons.

Child survival. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commits more than $600 million per year to child survival programs alone - critical early interventions in basic education, vaccination, and maternal and other health issues. These programs are estimated to save more than four million lives per year and have made a major contribution to a 10 percent reduction in infant mortality over the past eight years.

Promoting Clean Water. Through its Environmental Education and Communication Project and other programs, USAID helps school children around the world protect and manage clean water. USAID also works with public officials to promote watershed management and with citizens to test the quality of their water. Earlier this year, the Secretary of State proposed a "Global Alliance for Water Security in the 21st Century" to heighten awareness and enlist support for a strategy aimed at improved management of the world's water resources. The U.S. objective is to use this initiative to encourage leaders in key regions to develop sound water area management plans, ensure that development projects incorporate sound water management practices, foster an international dialogue on how to manage water wisely, and continue to educate people about the imperative of sound integrated water resources management.

Support for Education. The Clinton Administration is seeking more than $55 million in additional funds next year to promote universal basic education, and is moving forward on a new $300 million global food for education initiative: a pilot program to promote school meals and pre-school nutrition in developing countries as a means of improving student enrollment, attendance and performance.

Debt Relief. President Clinton spearheaded the G-7's initiative last year to triple the scale of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries. He has proposed that the U.S. Congress appropriate $435 million for U.S. participation in the Cologne Debt Initiative in FY 2001 and a further $375 million for fiscal years 2002 and 2003. The enhanced debt relief program will enable these countries to save millions of dollars on debt payments and redirect these resources to important social needs such as education and health care.

Promoting trade with developing countries, and strengthening trade capacity. The Clinton Administration has secured the enactment of legislation that will substantially enhance access to U.S. markets for products from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean Basin. In particular, the African Growth and Opportunity Act will provide a major, long-term stimulus to poverty-reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing qualifying countries in the region with the duty-free and quota-free access to our market for virtually all of their products. Moreover, over the past two years, the U.S. Government has committed more than $600 million toward strengthening trade-related institutional capacity in developing countries and transitional economies. These activities have included technical assistance on the implementation of trade, agriculture, intellectual property and other international rules and are designed to enhance the ability of these countries to comply with and capitalize on the commercial opportunities created by state agreements.

Closing the Digital Divide. Through programs such as USAID's Internet for Economic Development Initiative, the United States is supporting developing country collaboration with the private sector, multilateral organizations and non-profit organizations to enhance access to the information revolution, and to help developing countries use electronic commerce and the Internet as tools of economic development.

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