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                        AT THE UN WORLD SUMMIT 

                        FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 

                            MARCH 12, 1995 

                         COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 


(Text as delivered) 


Mr. President, Your Excellencies, Mr. Secretary General, Ladies and 

Gentlemen.  It is an honor to represent President Clinton and the 

American people at this important summit meeting.  I wish to begin by 

thanking our Danish hosts for their skill and their great hospitality.  

At a time of great opportunity and yet considerable uncertainty within 

the international community, we welcome this occasion to address issues 

that are common to all nations and to all peoples. 


A century notable for its turmoil and suffering is drawing to an end.  

Looking at its many tragedies, it would be understandable to view the 

future with some cynicism.  My country, however, as always, retains its 

optimistic vision. 


We believe in a world organized by law rather than by violence; we 

believe in a world based on justice; we believe in the defeat of 

intolerance by the steady ascendancy of our common humanity.  We believe 

above all in freedom -- political and spiritual freedom -- as a 

birthright of humankind, and freedom from want as a goal by which we 

measure the quality of our civilization. 


Are these hopes impractical?  On the contrary.  Over time they have 

emerged with ever greater clarity as the common aspiration of humankind.  

It seems to me, in fact, that this series of great UN global conferences 

represents an effort by the entire world to think through the principles 

and the practical requirements for the creation of that kind of world. 


These meetings -- most recently in Rio, Vienna, Cairo, Copenhagen, and 

in the fall, Beijing -- have focused on a set of interlocking questions.  

What is the proper relationship between human civilization and the 

earth's environment?  What can be done to create just societies that 

nurture the human spirit and protect human rights?  What can be done by 

democratic means to protect our world from the consequences of rapid and 

destabilizing population growth and create instead an equitable pattern 

of sustainable development?  What can be done to lift the poorest of our 

citizens into productive lives?  What can be done to remove the barriers 

now blocking the full empowerment of women throughout the world? 


These gatherings are town meeting of the globe where individual citizens 

non-governmental organizations, and governments are working together to 

hammer out a new consensus on the nature of the challenges we face and 

how we can rise to meet them successfully. 


We have gathered here to deal with the issues of poverty, disability, 

unemployment, and social disintegration.  These problems exist in 

varying degrees in all countries represented here, including certainly 

my own country.  The numbers that characterize these problems are 

staggering:  one billion people live in absolute poverty without access 

to clean water, proper sanitation, or decent nutrition; 30 percent of 

the global labor force is now unemployed or underemployed; in what has 

been called the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression of 

the 1930s: one billion people have daily incomes totaling less than one 



But as the novelist Arthur Koestler once said, statistics do not bleed.  

Numbers do not capture the anguish of homeless children roaming the 

streets of otherwise prosperous and bustling cities.  They don't capture 

the grief of a parent whose child has starved to death or died of 

disease during the horrific events in Rwanda.  Nor do they capture the 

bleak despair of a homeless women, curling up to sleep over a steam 

grate in Washington, DC, blocks from the White House. 


These are personal tragedies, but each results in part from our failure 

as a human family to feel and understand our connections to one another, 

and our failure to appreciate the opportunity every person should have 

to contribute to and enrich our common future. 


Economic growth cannot be sustained over time unless a proper portion of 

its present fruits are continually invested in the nourishing and 

development of human potential.  Even Adam Smith always referred to 

economics as "human economics."  Maybe we should have never abbreviated 

the concept.  People who are sick, or uneducated, or undernourished, or 

unemployed should not be merely the objects of society's guilty 

conscience.  They should also be seen as the embodiment of unrealized 

economic and social potential. 


How should we deal with these issues?  In my country that question is 

presently the subject of an intense political struggle.  What is being 

tested is whether the United States will turn away from our own most 

disadvantaged citizens at home, and whether we will step back from the 

front ranks of nations that recognize a bond of shared responsibility 

toward men and women elsewhere in the world who are struggling to climb 

by their own efforts out of degradation and despair. 


I believe that at the end of the day, the United States will not step 

back.  The Clinton Administration believes that in its commitment to 

remain engaged, we have the support of the vast majority of the American 

people in both of our major political parties. 


The American people know that our future well-being is tied inextricably 

to the global economy.  And they know that helping to develop the 

economics of the developing world, where four out of five people will 

live by the year 2000, will be beneficial to our own economy as well.  

But, I also believe that is the United States is to move forward, and 

remain engaged in the world's effort to meet the objectives of this 

Summit, we must find new approaches for new circumstances. 


For example, we in the United States have come to recognize that it is 

time to abandon our old model for combating poverty at home based on 

heavy government intervention through massive bureaucracies. 


There was a time when these structure seemed essential to make our 

idealism productive.  But their size, inflexibility and expense are now 

seen as obstacles to the purpose we still pursue. 


We are working now to create a more vital relationship between the 

government and the people.  We cannot succeed if we treat the poor 

solely as passive recipients of assistance -- whether for welfare, food 

stamps or medical care.  We are instead designing an approach that 

empowers people to be active partners in the management of their own 

fates.  We have to find new links to our own people -- with a government 

that works better and costs less, and focuses on results. 


We have to find ways to transcend old and limiting concepts, and 

recognize the value of new ways to promote sustainable development and 

social progress for those trapped in poverty -- such as 

government/private sector partnerships, technical assistance for 

institutional development and policy reform; and support for South-South 

partnerships.  International institutions also need to adjust themselves 

by moving toward greater flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of 

the poor.  This conference has paid very useful attention tot he UN 

system in particular, and I applaud its efforts to focus on the need for 



 We in the United States have also approached this Summit as an 

opportunity for constructive change.  Abroad as at home, we know that we 

have to redefine the way we fight poverty and transform the relationship 

between donors and recipients to a relationship between partners. 


It is in that spirit that I am pleased to announce today the United 

States "New Partnership Initiative".  Under the initiative, the United 

States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be channeling 

40% of its development assistance through non-governmental organizations 

(NGOs), both US-based and indigenous. 


The "New Partnerships Initiative" has three main objectives:  to empower 

small business and entrepreneurs to drive economic growth; to straighten 

the role of nongovernmental organizations in development programs, and 

to help nations bolster democracy at the local level.  All three are 

linked by a single idea -- that families and individuals, when given the 

power and opportunity to change their lives, will do exactly that. 


In discussing ways to improve the struggle against poverty being waged 

by governments, I wish to make it clear that my country also believes in 

two other central propositions. 


First, we believe that permanent gains can occur only if we encourage 

free markets and individual initiative.  In our view the market system 

unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential than any other form of 

economic organization, and has the demonstrated potential to create 

broadly distributed new wealth. 


Second, we believe that economic development can be and must be designed 

to be environmentally sustainable.  Sustainable economic development 

assures that we do not meet today's needs by means that very quickly 

exhaust themselves and deliver us back to even more intractable 



Finally, ;et me emphasize the importance of one cultural trend that can 

speed the day that we see an end to poverty:  an increase in the rights 

and powers of women, who, as the First Lady of the United States pointed 

out here a few days ago, "continue to be marginalized in many 

countries."  With women making up more than two-thirds of the illiterate 

people of the world, investing in the health and education of women and 

girls will diminish poverty -- and let me add my voice to those 

applauding this Summit for endorsing the principle of equal rights. 


The documents you have developed here are part of an emerging grand 

design for the common good.  Despite the difficulties and severe 

challenges ahead, I believe that we are moving together toward a shared 

sense of participation in a global civilization, whose bonds, though 

voluntary, will be strong enough to hold us together in the face of 

those forces which would divide us.  Our work is a very significant 

contribution to that end, and on behalf of my government, and the people 

of the United States, I wish to applaud the work of this Summit and our 

commitment to achieve its goals. 


The diverse challenges of the post-Cold War period that we take 

innovative and dramatically different approaches to achieving US foreign 

policy goals. The Clinton Administration's "News Partnerships 

Initiative,"  through the US Agency for International Development 

(USAID), will strengthen social, economic and political decision-making 

in the developing world where it is most vital -- at the community 

level.  The "New Partnerships Initiative" is the very opposite of the 

old-fashioned model of government -to- government "foreign aid".  The 

goal is to ensure that the US aid produces results and measurable 

improvements in the lives of people.  "New Partnerships" has three main 

objectives:  strengthen the role of nongovernmental organizations in 

development programs; empower small business and entrepreneurs to drive 

economic growth; and help nations bolster democracy at a local level. 


All three are linked by a single idea -- that families and individuals, 

when given the power and opportunity to change their lives, will do 

exactly that.  One over-arching principle guides these efforts -- 

putting people first.  "The New Partnerships Initiative" extends the 

Administration's commitment to sustainable development by deepening the 

intensive involvement of nongovernmental actors in the development 

process.  This initiative involvement of nongovernmental actors in the 

development process.  This initiative will put a special priority on 

activities that engage and empower women. 


The first component of the initiative will focus on strengthening the 

role of nongovernmental organizations, both US and indigenous, that are 

tackling these tremendous challenges.  USAID will increase the 

percentage of its development assistance channeled through these NGOs to 

an ultimate target of 40% over the next five years.  The US will 

undertake with other donors a Developmental Partnership Working Group, 

an international effort that will engage bilateral and multilateral 

donors and the NGO community.  The working group will target ways to 

strengthen the capacity of the non-governmental sector in the developing 

world.  USAID will also use new communications technologies to further 

link and empower NGOs around the globe. 


The second component will strengthen the role of small business in 

partner countries. USAID will work directly with national governments to 

improve the laws and regulations to provide increased opportunities for 

entrepreneurial activities for the poor.  USAID will increase its 

training and internship programs between American small businesses and 

small businesses in development countries.  Increase training and 

internship programs. cooperatively between American small businesses and 

small business in development countries, in order to encourage the 

adoption and transfer to the developing countries of productive 

processes, technologies and techniques.  Draw on the capacities of US 

small businesses to advise and enhance the capacity of small businesses 

in partner countries.  Use loan guarantees and credit mechanisms to 

support small and medium-sized firms in modernizing and improving their 

contributions to the economy and society. 


The third component if the initiative will encourage the 

decentralization of political power to local communities in the 

developing world.  USAID will work with partner country government, 

private sectors and NGOs to expand the authority of local government.  

This initiative will enhance the ability of US state and local 

government officials to make valuable contributions to sharing their 

knowledge and expertise.  Strengthening democracy at a community level 

will frequently entail fundamental reforms in municipal codes to enhance 

local government fiscal and administrative autonomy. 


USAID continues to be one of the lead agencies in the National 

Performance Review, and the "New Partnerships" initiative is part of the 

Administration's continuing commitment to do more with less in the 

federal government.
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