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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Tubuserea Lavadai Mangrove Reforestation Project

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 3, 2010

Thank you very much and I am delighted to be here and to have this opportunity to see for myself the efforts that the government and people of Papua New Guinea are making to combat climate change and to protect this beautiful environment. I want to thank the Honorable Benny Allan, Minister of Environment and Conservation; Dr. Wari Iamo, Secretary for Environment and Conservation; Dr. Augustine Mungkaje, Acting Director of this research center and the Mangrove project; and I particularly want to thank a young woman who was here with us today, thank you so much to Mazzella Maniwave . We are very grateful that you could be here in honor of your father’s work, because I think it’s only appropriate that we recognize his knowledge and his passion for protecting mangrove development along the coast. And he inspired many people, including our United States ambassador who provided an initial grant to support this research center where his work lives on. And I also am delighted that so many of you from the government and from the educational, conservation, and environmental communities here in Papua New Guinea are with us.

We are here both to celebrate and protect the future of Papua New Guinea’s mangrove forests. These forests are just one piece of the extraordinary biodiversity that makes Papua New Guinea a place unlike any other in the world. Those of you who live here know that. But for those of us who are here first time, it is so extraordinarily important that we recognize that Papua New Guinea has the largest tropical area in the Pacific – it is the home to the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet, thousands of kilometers of coral reefs and hundreds of animal species, including dozens that have only been recently discovered. So the people of this country are rightly proud of the beauty and richness of their homeland. And I know how important it is to preserve that, and the United States wants to be your partner in doing so.

Now mangroves have many benefits. They prevent tidal erosion, they protect coasts from storms. Their roots are an ecosystem in themselves, home to many sea creatures, and they generate oxygen and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Some say they serve as the lungs of the earth. So every time we take one of these little plants and plant it, we are helping to improve the environment and protect not only animal species, but indeed human life as well.

Now because they play several roles, the loss of mangroves and other tropical forests has broad and dangerous consequences not only for Papua New Guinea, but for the entire world. Deforestation of the world’s coastal and interior forests accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of all the carbon emissions that are part of global warming. This statistic is so great, but it points to a solution: If we can protect our forests, if we can prohibit illegal logging, we can make significant progress in protecting this island nation and others from the effects of climate change.

As sea levels rise and storms increase, the very existence of countries in the Pacific are at risk, and we have no time to lose to take meaningful, measurable actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

I’m very impressed with what is happening here in Papua New Guinea, but the rest of the world has to help you. We made a commitment at Copenhagen that we would set near-term targets and actions as well as long-term goals, and we needed everyone to participate in some way. And I’m proud that the United States has made a commitment, but we need to do more. And later this month, the world will meet again in Cancun and we have to keep going in our fight against climate change.

As part of our commitment, the United States has pledged to reduce our own carbon footprint and we want to help countries like Papua New Guinea to be able to adapt to climate change and to prevent its effects. We will be looking for ways to assist you. We’re already working together through the Coral Triangle Initiative to protect marine biodiversity and improve your capacity to manage coastal areas. We are promoting innovations with your agriculture sector through improved water collection systems and the use of crop varieties that are more resistant to drought and more tolerant of water salinization so farmers along the coast can continue to grow their crops. And in recognition of the very real dangers of climate change, we are working to improve disaster awareness, including installing advance warning systems so people will have enough notice to get out of danger.

We’ve asked Congress to approve more than $100 million in climate-related funding to small island development states. And of that funding, more than 20 million will be targeted specifically for Pacific Island countries, including Papua New Guinea.

I think that the partnership that the United States and your country have had over years is one that we take great pride in and are very grateful for. But now in the 21st century, we have to find new ways to partner. We have to look at how we help each other and, particularly from the United States, how we help you, how we help you deal with all of the challenges and the opportunities that you are confronting in today’s world.

We know a lot of work lies ahead. This will not be easy. Replacing the mangroves forest will not be easy. You do it one tree at a time. But if enough people do it, then you do provide the protection. So if enough people work together to make climate change a reality in the minds of those who have to make decisions, and not, as you said, sir, a theoretical danger, because it’s a real danger, then the United States will partner with you to find ways to help protect this beautiful country and to provide employment and other opportunities that will give Papua New Guinea a very bright future indeed.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Parliament House
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 3, 2010

PRIME MINISTER SOMARE: Madam Secretary of State, I would just like to say that we’ve made a wonderful dialogue, really, one-to-one and with the ministers. And we are really honored that, Secretary of State, you were able to give time amidst a very busy schedule of yours to visit our country. We view this as a reaffirmation of the importance which the United States Government attaches to our relationship with Papua New Guinea, your country. Papua New Guinea will continue to be a constructive partner in international efforts to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and production and address climate change, which is one of our very important agendas in our development, and gender balance and sustainable development and (inaudible) development and climate change, and we want to be able to sustain the developments that are going on.

On the bilateral front, Madam Secretary, we appreciate the increasing United States trade with us and investment interest in Papua New Guinea. I talked to you not long ago, a few months ago, we — after signing the agreement on the LNG, we had (inaudible). We commend you and your government to make the commitment of (inaudible) to invest in a big way in Papua New Guinea. U.S. EX-IM bank funded our first energy program in our country with three billion U.S. dollars alone and, of course, (inaudible) help funding the oil refinery in Port Moresby, help with the development of our oil palm industry in West New Britain, in Milne Bay, in Morobe and other parts of Papua New Guinea. And your commercial entities have been also very great. It really has been a great help.

And we are grateful for all of your assistance provided to our civil society groups and the various programs in Papua New Guinea that seek to improve the welfare of our people. We welcome the offers by your government to assist Papua New Guinea specifically in the areas of energy sector and our energy governance and capacity initiative. And we are looking forward to the opportunity for officials to discuss further details on the (inaudible), and I’m sure better coordination with our development partners.

And all in all, as I said, Madam, we continue to assist — continue – PNG will continue to assist the United States identify and repatriate the remains of the United States from World War II. As you mentioned, we have a 60 year relationship, and the Second World War was a time when Papua New Guinean soldiers, including our (inaudible), rubbed shoulder to shoulder in our soil here and in our waterfronts on the north in Milne Bay. And the United States has been our friend ever since. Immediately after independence, we established diplomatic relations with you. Even prior to independence, when I became chief minister, the United States already was the first one with Australia to establish a relationship here.

In the area of climate change, Madam, I am thankful that the United States Government made a commitment of 21 million dollars to assist the (inaudible) for mitigation purposes. And we are also glad that, with our (inaudible) program, we will be also looking forward to a (inaudible) meeting to reach some understanding on the efforts that we are taking on climate change.

We have always enjoyed a friendly and mutual relationship. When the President was here I had a visit. We would have hoped that you would have spent a day visiting one of our towns outside to really get a feeling of Papua New Guinea, that this is just a – cosmopolitan feeling, but if you had gone out — outside Port Moresby, you will find that you are really (inaudible) the villages and see the lifestyle of our people, how we live.

We want to thank you once again for honoring us, and you made a commitment that you will return before the year falls, and you have done it. (Laughter.) Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so pleased to be here, Prime Minister. I mean, I knew that the distance between Washington and Port Moresby was long, but I didn’t know it would take from January until November for me to get here. (Laughter.)

But I appreciate your kindness and you were so understanding when I called you from Hawaii after the terrible earthquake in Haiti, and I’ve been looking forward to getting here. And I am so pleased that I finally could be, although I admit I am a little bit envious of my husband because he got to spend more time and see more of your beautiful country when he came on behalf of the work that his foundation is doing on HIV/AIDS here.

But I’m here on behalf of President Obama and our Administration to reaffirm our commitment to our partnership and friendship, which as you say, goes back in the tradition of deep engagement here in the Pacific. And it is important for us to reaffirm the trusted partnership that began during World War II. And so this visit is both a privilege personally, but also a priority for my tenure as Secretary of State.

I greatly appreciate the productive conversations that we had because we are committed to the Pacific Island nations and to the Asia-Pacific region in general. And we do a lot of work already between the United States and Papua New Guinea. We work to protect forests and fish stocks. We fight the spread of HIV. We cooperate between our militaries and in peacekeeping operations. Our navies’ Pacific Partnership helps people across the region. We send students back and forth, including Fulbright scholars and Humphrey fellows and so many others.

These are wide-ranging and effective partnerships, and we will soon be breaking ground on a new embassy that will symbolize the future. We’ve had a very productive relationship in the past, but we’re looking to the future, and that new embassy will demonstrate that, because our challenge is to expand our partnership into the 21st century. Thanks to your abundant natural resources, Papua New Guinea has the opportunity not only to be more developed and provide more benefits for your people, but to become a strong regional leader and a model for reducing poverty and spurring development.

But as you and I discussed, in order to achieve that, there will have to be a commitment to good governance and accountability and transparency, and you’re taking steps to plan to do just that. The planning for a sovereign wealth fund is a very important commitment. And the United States stands ready to help translate your country’s natural resources into widespread prosperity. As you said, Prime Minister, last year, the Export-Import Bank approved the largest financing transaction in its history to help develop Papua New Guinea’s gas reserves. And the State Department’s Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative is designed to help nation’s like this to handle the changes you are likely to see.

There is a phrase, “resource curse.” Countries with abundant natural resources like oil and gas or gold or minerals, if they’re not handled right, can actually end up making a country poorer instead of richer. I will not name names, but there are countries in the world that started with the same hopes as Papua New Guinea with all of the excitement that I know is in this country because of the resources that were discovered, but they weren’t handled right. So 20, 30, 40 years later, people have actually gotten poorer. And I know that will not happen here because the people and the government of this country will do it in the right way.

We want to provide technical training for your scientists and engineers. We would like to provide job training so that it will be the residents of your country who take the jobs that are created. We want to help you write and implement the institutions and regulations that will make it possible to manage these new revenues wisely. Our Departments of Interior and Treasury are already working with the respective cabinet ministries here to work to see how the United States can be of help.

So I thank the prime minister for his leadership of these efforts and in laying the groundwork for Papua New Guinea’s future as an energy producer. But as we expand the ranks of energy producers, we also need to respond to climate change. Papua New Guinea represents both the promise and the peril – more energy resources, but more threat from climate change. And what you are doing in managing your tropical forests and your natural resources responsibly will be very important. We will be working in the Congress to appropriate $21 million to help Pacific Island nations, including yours.

So I want to thank you again for what you’re doing on the energy, economic, climate change, resource sets of issues, and I also want to say how much I enjoyed meeting a number of women leaders from all walks of life here in the country – law, medicine, agriculture, the arts, so much else. And it will be important to develop the resources that half the population represents. That’s a natural resource as well, one that is just as valuable as oil, gas, or gold in helping to create a stronger and brighter future for your country.

So thank you so much, Prime Minister, for taking time out this evening to spend with me. It’s a real honor. I mean, you have a well-deserved reputation as someone who has led your country in independence and beyond, and I know that your legacy of leaving such a strong base of support for the development of your country will be long, long remembered. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll take two questions each, two from the local media and two from our international visitors. I call on Jonathan Tannos from Post-Courier.

QUESTION: Good evening, Secretary of State. I’m Jonathan Tannos from the Post-Courier. My question basically is in relation to climate change. In your opinion or that of the United States, how soon can the international leaders who climate change finalize or approve policies that can be adopted by countries like Papua New Guinea to legislation, which should be in adherence to the internationally approved framework? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, that’s an excellent question. And I hope that the process will begin in earnest at the meeting in Cancun that starts later this month. The prime minister and I discussed the REDD initiative regarding deforestation, and the prime minister and your government has been an international leader in pushing that issue. And we hope that we’ll come out of the meeting in Cancun with some very specific recommendations and commitments.

We also hope that there will be a continuing effort to build on what came out of Copenhagen, because there has to be a commitment by both developed and developing countries for transparency, for financial obligations, for targets. All of that has to go together if we’re to be successful. So I hope that, in answer to your question, it starts at the end of this month.

MODERATOR: Okay. I’d like to ask Arshad Mohamed from Reuters.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, could you offer any more – sorry. Secretary Clinton, could you offer any more details on what you think the United States can do to try to help Papua New Guinea avoid the resource curse that you described and that has afflicted other countries?

And Prime Minister, could you tell us what more your government can do to try to reduce the very high rates of violence against women in your country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, there are a number of specific recommendations that we have ready to make or have already shared with the government. Our ambassador is working on this. We started an initiative in the last year called the Energy, Governance, and Capacity Initiative. There was a meeting in Washington. The coordinator of that initiative, David Goldwyn, came to Papua New Guinea to discuss how to build institutional capacity and how to govern the revenue that is produced by natural resource extraction. And we’re already working with the various government departments here to implement those recommendations.

In just last October, this last month, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted specialized training that provides PNG’s Department of Petroleum and Energy staff with the technical capabilities to augment its understanding of PNG’s oil and gas resource potential, to improve the evaluation of data and analysis provided to it by international energy companies, so that the government can have some source to check what they’re told by the energy companies.

Next month in December, the Department of Interior will conduct a course on best practices and lessons learned in managing relevant aspects of our own oil and gas sector. And before the end of the year, the Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance is planning to send an assessment team to meet on finance, revenue, and tax issues.

We also are very committed to providing any information that the government requests on sovereign wealth funds, and other countries are also assisting – Australia, Norway among them. Because we know that Papua New Guinea wants to do this right, and we want to provide whatever technical assistance and help they would need. I also have to add that six women from PNG have recently returned from an Exxon-Mobil Global Women’s Management Training Program because we want to also be sure that women are well-trained to take positions in these growing industries.

So there’s many aspects of our offer of assistance that have already begun and others that are available.

PRIME MINISTER SONARE: To answer your question on the violence against women, yes, we have cases where there are these type of happenings, but we know that we have systems through the welfare system who can be controlled and the women also have a right to be able to use our courts and legal system (inaudible) courts if they are treated this way.

But I think overall, we sometimes get a painted picture of how cruel we are with our women, and this is not true. This is a perception from people like yourself and people who write about us. That’s what they like to paint about this country. And I’m telling you that I have been around for a long time and I know that men and the women, sometimes there are fights, arguments do take place, but it’s nothing very brutal about violence against women. There are cases. These are criminal cases. If you are talking about criminal cases, they’re different, but normal way of life, normal way of living; i.e., I can stand up here and vow to you that Papua New Guinea has systems.

I think with more education now, more and more of our people are educated, young men and women are educated, and they understand that violence against women is wrong. And even our civil service and people who are employed in industries, they know it’s against the law to use violence against women. We have cases where people are drunk, which you know might (inaudible) a person who cannot control when he’s under the influence of liquor. And you find that sometimes (inaudible) it takes place in some places. We cannot deny it.

But we are doing everything possible, and through the education system alone and allowing the women to play a very important role in a society. That’s the only way we can overcome this problem. But all in all, sometimes it’s exaggerated by people who write about us. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Matt Lee from Associated Press.

QUESTION: Hi Madam Secretary, I’d like to take you a little further afield, but I will make the questions relevant locally. This afternoon when we arrived here, we went to the mangrove ceremony and you mentioned what you just mentioned here, which is the $21 million that you are seeking from Congress. That’s my question. Are you concerned at all that the Administration’s foreign policy agenda on things like climate change or other issues where you might not necessarily agree with the new majority in the House could be damaged because of what happened in the vote? And how will you continue to push for what you think is important – you and the Administration? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Matt, as you know, I served in the Senate for eight years. For six of those eight years I was in the minority. And what I have always found is that when it comes to foreign policy, it is important to remember that politics stops at the water’s edge. And you can build coalitions and you can make your case and you can find allies on issues that are in America’s interest and in the furtherance of our security and our values. And I will be working very hard in the weeks and months ahead to get to know new members and new leadership and to work with them on behalf of the United States of America.

QUESTION: Elia (inaudible), AFP. In light of recent video footage of Indonesian forces torturing West Papuans, what does the U.S. say to Indonesia regarding this issue. And what are – what is Papua New Guinea’s responsibility and Australia’s responsibility in this regional issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we consider ourselves a friend and ally of Indonesia, as we do of Papua New Guinea. Any matters that come to our attention are obviously discussed and explored with our friends and partners. I have no comment on the specific matter you refer to, but I know that it’s the United States’s policy to raise questions if questions arise.

But as you also know, the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian military has made significant changes in the last years, in the 10 years of democracy. If there are continuing violations of human rights, then they should be investigated by the appropriate authorities, and those responsible should be held accountable.

PRIME MINISTER SONARE: We share a border with Indonesia. It’s a boundary that we have respect for each other. We signed an understanding of non-interference of each border 10 to 20 kilometers each from both sides. And our relationship with Indonesia since we came to government and our previous governments (inaudible) excellent relations with Indonesia.

We know that there are people, there are groups who are anti-Indonesia and they, our citizens, Papuans, West Papuans, they want to have a choice, they want to have a self-determination. But I think what has happened now, Yudhoyono’s administration has really moved far, far ahead to make sure that the (inaudible) Papua region, West Papua region (inaudible) four regions. And they are now beginning to establish regional governments.

The particular incident you’re talking about, yes, it does happen, but I think we have systems where we raise it in international community. Our relationship with Indonesia is good. Our foreign ministers can pick up a phone and express a concern, and we know of several incidences. And (inaudible) we have a yearly dialogue with the border relationship meetings and foreign minister-to-foreign minister relations are excellent. And we have complained, this incident you are talking about, yes we are aware of it, and our foreign minister has expressed views to Indonesia’s foreign minister, and we still are waiting for a response from them.

I think there is an understanding there are people who want to go against the system, and of course, these things happen. But we have no real problems with Indonesia since we signed a relationship with them. People have been crossing before, but now they are asking, our people, people who came – Papuans who came here to be with us, some of them to return to their country. I have a person I employ as my driver. He go and come, sees family on the other side, comes by road to Vanimo, he goes out, sees family in Lake Sentani and he comes back, and nothing happens. There is more trade taking place on the border between people of East and West Sepik and Madang, (inaudible) Madang. People go across with ordinary passes. They go and come. So there is a good relationship with Indonesia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.


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The image is not from this event, but rather from a mangrove planting event earlier in the day.  I know that President Clinton is the tree-planter in the family.  I have a memory of a story about him visiting the White House early in the Obama administration when there was some planting going on, and,  instead of leaving when his photo-op was over, he dug a few holes to demonstrate how it is done.

 

Secretary Clinton’s Meeting with Port Moresby Embassy Staff and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much. Well, it is my great pleasure to be here and to have this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the work you do on behalf of the United States and the relationship between the United States and Papua New Guinea. I want to thank you very much, Ms. (inaudible), for that excellent introduction and through your work here as vice president of the FSN Committee. And I want to thank the Ambassador and Mrs. Corbin-Taylor for their warm welcome and for the work that is done here every day.

I know that eventually you’ll be moving into a new Embassy compound. The Ambassador pointed out to me where it’s going to be situated, and I am pleased that it will reflect the really important relationship that we are building between our two countries. And I have seen it in so many ways, but certainly, standing out at the Mangrove Tree event when I first arrived brought home to me how important it is that we promote the priorities of Papua New Guinea; we help protect the biodiversity and the land, the people from the effects of climate change; that we help to spur economic growth so that more people have a better life; that we also create more opportunities for women and girls – something that I care deeply about – all while doing what we can to fight climate change and protect the environment so that the country is not adversely affected by all of these changes.

The friendship between our countries dates back to World War II, and then the 35 years of diplomatic relations. And I just came from my courtesy call with the governor general, who, as you know, was the very first ambassador to the United States after diplomatic relations. But he was not only the ambassador to the United States; he was also the ambassador to Canada and Mexico. So he was a very busy man. He informed he had visited all 50 states. So I was very impressed with that.

But you each are playing a very important role because everything we’re trying to do to broaden and deepen our relationship would not be possible without you. You’re helping the government and the people manage natural resources, improve the financial system, fight disease. And I know it’s not always easy because it’s a small staff with a lot of responsibilities, but I deeply appreciate, as does President Obama, your service here on behalf of our Embassy.

And I want to thank you for the volunteer projects, because many of you go beyond what you do at work every day. You worked closely with the governor’s office to clean up a beach on Earth Day, and you have worked hard to make this visit a success, especially after the disappointment of my having to cancel it the first time because of the earthquake in Haiti. Well, I’m finally here and I’m excited to see for myself what we can do to really grow this relationship.

So I want to thank you and I want to greet you so that I can personally express my appreciation for your service. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

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Women’s Empowerment Event

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Parliament House
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 3, 2010

AMBASSADOR BOGARI: Your Excellency, Madam Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America; their Excellencies Ambassador Taylor and Madam Taylor; our ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Evan Paki; and, of course, all the wonderful women of Papua New Guinea. (Applause.)

On behalf of the women of Papua New Guinea, Madam Secretary, we are deeply honored to welcome you to Papua New Guinea. And also, on behalf of Dame Carol Kidu, PNG’s only woman member of parliament, I take this opportunity to express her sincere regrets that she is not able to be here to greet you in person on this occasion.

This is a very historical and momentous occasion for us, with this visit of yours, Madam Secretary. The women of PNG who are gathered here are only a sample of all the wonderful women, heroic and wonderful women out there, who are doing what they can to make a contribution to make this country a better place. (Applause.)

The women of Papua New Guinea are the backbone of this country. You can see all these wonderful things here. If I may say, Madam Secretary, Dame Carol Kidu personally supervised all these, the array of displays that you can see here. She personally was able to put this together with her personal involvement. The preparation that has gone into this has followed the theme of – the three themes of women empowerment. And until her departure yesterday, she has expressed a hope that you will have enjoyed this event, what the women have been able to put together, and in your interaction you would have got at least a glimpse of what the women are doing in this country.

As you would have realized, the displays in tonight’s event capture the women’s empowerment policy dialogue and themes for future bilateral exchange which Minister Kidu and, indeed, the government of Papua New Guinea is pleased to note, that both the United States of America and Papua New Guinea have – appear to be thinking in the same direction. This, of course – and the government, of course, looks forward to progressing this dialogue in a spirit of mutual partnership, Madam Secretary.

It now only leaves me, and with great pleasure, to now invite you to address the women of our nation. And on behalf of them, all these women here, I also take this opportunity to wish you a safe journey back to the United States. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Ambassador, thank you. (Applause.) Good evening, everyone. It is a great pleasure for me to be here with all of you. I am delighted that I am finally here. (Applause.) We had originally planned to do this last January. But, as you know, I was on my way here when the terrible earthquake in Haiti occurred, and I had to turn around. But I said at that time I would come to Papua New Guinea. And I am so pleased to see you all here tonight. (Applause.)

I want to thank Ambassador Bogari for her remarks, and for guiding me to see these wonderful displays. And, of course, I want to also, in her absence, thank Dame Kidu for the work that she did in helping to prepare this. It’s unfortunate she cannot be here this evening. But I hope each and every one of you will express to her when you see her my deep gratitude for her leadership. She has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and political participation. (Applause.) But she is the only woman member of parliament. And one of the very first displays that I saw said it all, I think. “One Woman is Not Enough.” (Applause.) And so, I hope that there will be more women in parliament in the years ahead.

I want to thank each and every one of you who were standing by the displays which, as the ambassador said, very well describe the depth and the breadth of women’s involvement in leadership in your country. The women who I briefly met – and it was much too brief – but I could tell from the descriptions that the women I was meeting are women who are making a difference here in Papua New Guinea.

And I want to thank you all, judges and magistrates, medical professionals, HIV/AIDS activists, farmers, artists, police officers and army officers, the women who are working to advance the rights of people with disabilities, the women who are working with (inaudible), the women who are making such a difference. And I know how you each, in your own way, have helped to pave the way for girls and women to go even farther in the future. And you are helping women be able to make the most of their own lives, and live up to their own God-given potential. So I would like to take a moment for all of us to recognize you, and to thank you for everything you do. (Applause.)

But what you are doing is essential, because no country in the 21st century can advance if half the population is left behind. The talents of everyone must be used, because the challenges we face require all of us. From climate change to child mortality, everything we face is too complex not to get the most out of every single person. And when we invest in women, we’re not just investing in individuals. We are investing in families, and we are investing in the next generation, and we are investing in communities and countries. (Applause.)

Giving women access to education, health services, economic opportunities, and the structures of power is critical to alleviating poverty and disease in every part of the world. The United States is committed to working with you. That is why, next year, the United States, along with the Government of Papua New Guinea and the World Bank Group will bring together senior government officials and business leaders from across the Pacific to discuss how, together, we can expand vital opportunities for women. (Applause.)

Now, that is going to be an important occasion, and I know many of you will be participating. And we want to do more than that. We want to give Dame (inaudible) in the parliament. So the State Department is working with local organizations to help prepare women voters for the upcoming national elections in 2012. And let’s get some more women to run for office in 2012. (Applause.)

Now, we are not only going to be training candidates for office, but we are going to be working very hard to combat violence against women and girls. If a woman or a girl cannot be safe in her own home, or safe in her own family, or safe in her own community, then that woman or girl will not have the chance to make the most out of her life. So we will be working with Exxon Mobil and local organizations on a mentoring program aimed at ending the culture of violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea. (Applause.)

We will also be stepping up the fight against HIV by doubling our contribution to fight HIV/AIDS here next year. (Applause.) Papua New Guinea’s HIV rates are some of the highest in Asia. And women are particularly vulnerable. And, as I was looking at the displays, I saw the display and saw the mention of the Clinton Foundation. And my husband is very proud of the work that his foundation is doing here. And we want to really make it a public campaign to try to prevent HIV/AIDS, and to treat and help those who have the disease. We are also ready to work with your government to pass and enforce tough laws against the trafficking of human beings, particularly young girls and young women. (Applause.)

Now, everything I have heard from our ambassador and from others who are much more familiar with your country than I am have told me about how strong and courageous the women of this country are. And, of course, we have a woman of valor, a courage award-winner here, as well, this evening. And I want to assure you that, as Secretary of State for the United States, empowering women, enabling more women to have access to their rights, to take their position in society, to choose what is best for themselves and their families, is one of my highest priorities. And I will do everything I can to assist you. (Applause.)

And I look forward to working with you. And I think it’s next year that one of my top officials, the global ambassador for women, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, will come to Papua New Guinea to follow up on my visit to work with the women here to figure out what else the United States can do, so that we have even more women playing leadership roles in every aspect of your society.

Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

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Nations that have felt ignored by the U.S. in recent years mount a huge welcome for the U.S. Secretary of State. That the particular Secretary of State is Hillary Rodham Clinton, a figure so popular especially among women, increases the excitement and anticipation. We see crowds in the streets greeting our Mme. Secretary. We also see her being fêted by a traditional dance group called a “Sing Sing” group. (No, not the Sing Sing near her house where we saw her walking the dogs by the river.) She shares a laugh with PM Somare, and participates in a women’s empowerment event at Parliament.

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The State Department press release below outlines her agenda in PNG as the residents like to shorten it.

Secretary Clinton’s Visit to Papua New Guinea Underscores U.S. Engagement with Pacific Island Countries

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 3, 2010

Secretary Clinton’s visit to Papua New Guinea underscores the value the United States attaches to longstanding and close relationships with the countries and peoples of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and other Pacific Islands nations, where we have significant and growing interests. Our relations with the region are an integral part of our broader engagement with the Asia-Pacific. We have shared interests in freedom of navigation, cooperation on climate change, food security, and biodiversity protection. Pacific nations play an important leadership role on these and other global issues, particularly in the United Nations and in supporting international peacekeeping missions.

  • Reinvigorating high-level engagement with Pacific Island countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held her second annual meeting with Pacific Island leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2010. The United States also sent the largest, multi-agency delegation ever, including key personnel from the Pentagon and Pacific Command, to the recent Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Vanuatu.
  • Increasing climate change assistance. The United States understands the importance of climate change for Pacific Island countries and has pledged more than $21.5 million over the next two years, pending Congressional approval, in climate change assistance for Pacific Island countries.
  • Protecting the environment. Secretary Clinton’s visit to the Tubuserea Lavadai Mangrove Reforestation project, funded in part by a U.S. grant, demonstrates U.S. support for biodiversity, natural resource management and climate change adaptation. The Unites States also provides support for the Coral Triangle Initiative, which protects marine biodiversity, improve capacity for coastal and fishery management, and supports adaptation to climate change in the Pacific.
  • Empowering women. The United States is committed to help empower women in Papua New Guinea and the region. Secretary Clinton announced that the United States will partner with the World Bank Group and the government of Papua New Guinea to host a regional dialogue next year in Port Moresby to discuss how best to empower women, including maternal health and economic empowerment.
  • Promoting good governance. Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, including gold, copper, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. Development of these resources would be a boon for the PNG economy while helping to meet global and regional demand. Properly managed, the increased revenue derived from natural resource exports could fund improvements in social services and infrastructure, enhancing greatly the country’s regional profile. Responsible environmental stewardship of resource wealth is also essential to protect PNG’s biodiversity. The United States is providing Papua New Guinea a wide range of technical assistance to build institutional capacity to manage its resource wealth effectively and responsibly, while minimizing corruption, waste, mismanagement, and environmental degradation.

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