Posts Tagged ‘World Water Day’

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Remarks in Honor of World Water Day


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
George C. Marshall Auditorium
Washington, DC
March 22, 2012

Thank you so much, and welcome, everyone, to the State Department for this World Water Day event. I am delighted to have this opportunity with so many partners and colleagues who care deeply about this essential issue to mark this day, and to talk further about what we can do together.I want to thank the congressman for his very kind remarks, but much more than that, his longstanding commitment to this and so many other important issues. I really admire the way that he does take on issues and stay with them. Sometimes it’s hard to do that in the Congress because you’re being buffeted from so many different directions. But it’s only through persistence and perseverance that you can get things done. And the Paul Simon Water For The Poor Act is a great accomplishment.

And I also want to thank Under Secretary Maria Otero for her tremendous leadership. When we decided we wanted to focus on water because it cut across so many of the concerns that we had in dealing with the crisis of the moment, we needed a really great commitment from a proven leader, and she has done just that committed leadership on this issue. And of course, Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones, who I literally recruited while she was in the water, and has been just a tremendous champion of the issues within the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science, along with her great team, USAID, which was part of the partnership from the very beginning, and deeply committed as well.

We are all here because we know ensuring that everyone has the clean water they need to live and thrive has to be a high priority for all of us. When I spoke on World Water Day two years ago, I talked about how water is clearly integral to many of our foreign policy goals. When nearly 2 million people die each year from preventable waterborne disease, clean water is critical if we’re going to be talking about achieving our global health goals. Something as simple as better access to water and sanitation can improve the quality of life and reduce the disease burden for billions of people. When women and girls don’t have to spend 200 million hours a day, as Earl just said, seeking water, maybe they can go to school, maybe they can have more opportunities to help bring income in to the family. Reliable access to water is essential for feeding the hungry, running the industries that promote jobs, generating the energy that fuels national growth, and certainly, it is central when we think about how climate change will affect future generations.

Now, we are pursuing this not only because we care about it around the world; we care about it here at home. We’ve had increasing problems meeting our own needs in the Desert Southwest or managing floods in the East. No country anywhere, no matter how developed, is immune to the challenges that we face. So we’ve been working steadily across multiple fronts to make progress on our comprehensive complex water agenda, and I’d like to update you today.

Since I signed our government-wide agreement with the World Bank last year, we have identified 30 activities where various U.S. agencies can work more closely with the World Bank and with each other to improve our individual efforts on water security. USAID and NASA are working together using earth science and satellite technology to analyze water security and other water-related challenges in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. We’re working with the international community on the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, which is designed to help countries where access to water remains a critical barrier to growth, to build political commitment and capacity to begin solving their own problems.

And USAID recently launched the WASH – W-A-S-H – the WASH for Life partnership with the Gates Foundation. It’s a very fitting acronym – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, or WASH. This project will identify, test, and scale up evidence-based approaches for delivering these services to people in some of the poorest regions of the world.

So let’s look at one example about how all of this comes together. In Haiti, you know the terrible problems that occurred because of the cholera epidemic, which was imported from the outside. Well, USAID’s programs are helping to prevent the further spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera. We are supporting a range of programs to improve health, from increasing access to safe drinking water, to promoting regular hand-washing and other practices. We are also helping farmers use water more efficiently, protecting Haiti’s watersheds, a critical source of water, and rehabilitating irrigation systems that provide water to as much as 15,000 hectares of crops so that Haiti can once again become a regional agricultural exporter. We have planted thousands of trees to reinforce riverbanks and to help prevent flooding, which has saved lives and protected property throughout Haiti’s productive plains.

Now, this kind of work and that of so many other examples I could give you is paying off. Last week, the UN announced that we met the Millennium Development Goal to cut in half the proportion of people living without access to safe drinking water, and we reached it almost four years ahead of schedule. There aren’t many of the MDG’s that we’ve actually achieved, so the fact that we’ve achieved this one is, I think, not only good in and of itself, but should serve as a spur on others as well. We know it not only translates into better lives, but it proves the international community, when focused and working together, can actually achieve goals that are set.

But with the news of this accomplishment, we’re reminded about how much more we have yet to do. At this rate, nearly 700 million people will lack access to safe drinking water in 2015. And many countries still are not making enough progress reaching their most vulnerable populations, and those conditions will only deteriorate as populations grow and crowd into already overcrowded cities without adequate infrastructure.

Last year, I called on the intelligence community to conduct a global assessment of the impact water could have and was having on our national security. Today, the National Intelligence Council released the unclassified version of its report on Global Water Security. You can go online, read it for yourself, see how imperative clean water and access to water is to future peace, security, and prosperity, globally. I think it’s fair to say the intelligence community’s findings are sobering.

As the world’s population continues to grow, demand for water will go up, but our freshwater supplies will not keep pace. In some places, the water tables are already more depleted than we had thought. In northern India, for example, over-extraction of groundwater could impact food security and access to water for millions of people. Some countries will face severe shortages within decades or even sooner. And some hydrologists predict that many wells in Yemen will run dry in as little as 10 years.

The assessment also highlights the potential threat that water resources could be targeted by terrorists or manipulated as a political tool. These difficulties will all increase the risk of instability within and between states. Within states, they could cause some states to fail outright. And between and among states, you could see regional conflicts among states that share water basins be exacerbated and even lead to violence. So these threats are real and they do raise serious security concerns.

This assessment is a landmark document that puts water security in its rightful place as part of national security, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping to produce it. It is also a call for American leadership in this area. Our domestic experiences with water and our technical expertise are valued around the world. And as countries become more water stressed or nations face water-related crises, they are increasingly turning to the United States for assistance. We hear this all the time at embassies everywhere. Local leaders meet with our ambassadors and ask, “What did you do in the United States? How did you do it? Can you help us?”

Well, today, we are launching a new public-private partnership to help answer that call for leadership and to expand the impact of America’s work on water. The U.S. Water Partnership exemplifies the unity of effort and expertise we will need to address these challenges over the coming years, and it advances our work in three critical ways.

First, it brings together a diverse range of partners from the private sector, the philanthropic community, the NGOs, academics, experts, and government. This approach will help catalyze new opportunities for cooperation. For example, if Coca-Cola has the best data on available water supplies, and the Army Corps of Engineers has the capacity to advise on how to build water delivery systems, and the Nature Conservancy knows how to minimize the disruption to the environment, then we want everybody sharing information and delivering clean water in a sustainable way to communities in need.

Breaking down silos, barriers, obstacles has been one of my goals as Secretary of State, within our own government, with multilateral institutions, and between and among governments. Bringing people with varied water experience and expertise together will also force us to look for system-wide solutions. Now, you can’t work on water as a health concern independently from water as an agricultural concern, and water that is needed for agriculture may also be water that is needed for energy production. So we need to be looking for interventions that work on multiple levels simultaneously and help us focus on systemic responses.

Now, of course, while water is a global problem, solutions happen at the local level. So the second goal of the U.S. Water Partnership is to make all this American knowledge and expertise accessible. The U.S. Water Web Portal will provide a single entry point to our data, best practices, and training to help empower people taking on these problems in their own communities. And it will help build international support for American approaches, technologies, companies, government agencies, our whole universe of experts standing ready to assist.

Finally, because this is a public-private venture, the U.S. Water Partnership will not depend on any one government agency or any one private organization to keep it going. The State Department is proud to be a founding partner, but we also hope that the partnership will spawn many new projects that may or may not involve us. The Water Partnership has built-in flexibility to address the world’s changing water needs and to continue our work to find sustainable solutions.

In brief, we believe this will help map out our route to a more water secure world: a world where no one dies from water-related diseases; where water does not impede social or economic development; and where no war is ever fought over water.

I have said before that no resource defines this planet more than water. I mean, look at those great pictures from the Hubble telescope, or even just look at a globe, and you see all that blue. And we know how absolutely essential it is to life. We’re still wondering whether did Mars ever have water? What do those craters on other planets actually mean? And it is though not only life-sustaining, it is – and we have argued this from the beginning of our involvement and commitment – an essential ingredient of global peace, stability, and security.

We have been working the diplomatic level with a number of countries to bring into higher relief some of the water challenges they are, or will be, facing. Back in 2009, we began something called the Lower Mekong Initiative, where we brought together countries that are in the Lower Mekong region, and began to meet with them and talk with them and provide expertise to them, and create linkage with the Mississippi River Basin in order to raise understanding and visibility about these issues. And it’s been fascinating to watch over the three years that we’ve met – we’ll have a fourth meeting at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia in July – how the level of interest has grown and the willingness to tackle some of the hard problems and also the political will to raise some tough questions with others – other nations through which the Mekong travels.

This is not something that will immediately, directly affect the United States. We are a long way away after all. But it will affect the climate; it will affect the quality of life; it will affect the tensions among and between nations, which could very well then have follow-on effects that we would have to respond to. So there’s a lot that is connected that may not appear so at first glance, but which a little tiny bit of digging and reflection illustrates how important this issue is for each and every one of us.

So we think it actually is our duty and responsibility to make sure that this water issue stays at the very top of America’s foreign policy and national security agenda. We’ve proven we can make progress, but we know we have a lot more work to do. So I hope on this World Water Day we rededicate ourselves to that hard work and to being innovative and creative, using the new tools that we’re announcing today to bring people together in our own country, across our own government, and all the constituencies that care about water, working closely with leaders like the congressmen in the Congress, to continue to be on the cutting edge of helping to solve the problems that are posed to so many millions of people everywhere in the world, including here at home.

It’s exciting that it’s not only about water. It is about security, peace, and prosperity as well. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)


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An announcement, and more awards for our HRC!  Time to build that Museum/Library in Seneca Falls!  Women’s History Month rolls on and, as usual, she is making it!

Secretary Clinton to Announce Water Partnership on World Water Day

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 21, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce a new U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) in Washington D.C. on Thursday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m. The USWP is a public-private partnership formed to share U.S. knowledge, leverage and mobilize resources, and facilitate cross-sector partnerships to find solutions to global water accessibility challenges, especially in the developing world. The USWP will answer some of the challenges outlined in the Global Water Security Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), which will be released on the same day with an announcement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Secretary Clinton will be joined by Representative Earl Blumenauer; Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero; International Boundary and Water Commission U.S Commissioner Edward Drusina; National Aeronautics and Space Administration Deputy Administrator Lori Garver; U.S. Agency for International Development Global Water Coordinator Christian Holmes; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy; U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. They will be joined by additional representatives of USWP members, including Africare, the Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble, the Nature Conservancy, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, World Resources Institute, Global Environment & Technology Foundation, Global Water Challenge, and Clean Water America Alliance.

Following Secretary Clinton’s remarks and the introduction of the USWP members, USAID will conduct a panel discussion, including Q&A from the audience, titled “Maximizing Impact by Integrating Water into Development Assistance.” This panel will be chaired by Christian Holmes, and will include members of the USAID team with expertise in the role of water in agriculture, health, climate change, and conflict

Tomorrow Evening.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Receive Transparency International-USA’s Integrity Award

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 21, 2012


On March 22, Secretary Clinton will receive Transparency International-USA’s Integrity Award. Transparency International-USA (TI-USA) is an international leader in anti-corruption advocacy in government, business, and development assistance. TI-USA’s Integrity Award recognizes Secretary Clinton’s efforts to promote transparency and integrity around the world. The event will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Secretary Clinton will be honored for her leadership in drawing action and attention to the damaging effects of corruption in developed and developing countries. During her tenure, Secretary Clinton has elevated corruption as a major focus of U.S. foreign policy. She also has promoted the importance of international anti-corruption agreements, including the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the U.N. Convention against Corruption, and has worked with the OECD, G8, G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to combat corruption and promote transparency and accountability.

Thank you to Amy Dugan for bringing this historic distinction to our attention!

March 20, 2012, 5:17 p.m. EDT

Sons of Italy to Honor U.S. Sec’y of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the first woman to receive the Sons of Italy Foundation’s (SIF) Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service, to be presented at the SIF’s 24th annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala on May 23, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

Read more >>>>


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Remarks on World Water Day


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The World Bank
Washington, DC
March 22, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good afternoon in this absolutely glorious fora with so many people who do the work every day that makes the World Bank such a respected institution. It is my pleasure to commemorate World Water Day with you.And I want to thank Bob Zoellick for his commitment to this issue and his leadership of the Bank; vice president Inger Andersen, American executive director Ian Solomon, and in particular, some of my team who are here – Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Global Affairs and Democracy at the State Department, and Don Steinberg, Deputy at USAID, and Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA Administrator. And we want to send a special greeting to everyone in South Africa, especially to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, for making this water issue one of international significance.

Like Bob, I am also grateful to those of you from the private sector and private foundations as well as civil society groups and NGOs. I’m also aware that in the audience today, we have several other international organizations including the IAEA and UN-HABITAT. And to all of you who are here because you know that this is such a critical issue that cuts across every single part of development that one can imagine, I thank you for helping to raise the visibility of water as one of the most important issues. Why? Because the water crisis is a health crisis, it’s a farming crisis, it’s an economic crisis, it’s a climate crisis, and increasingly, it is a political crisis. And therefore, we must have an equally comprehensive response.

Now our experts in the United States Government are working on water issues at nearly two dozen agencies – of course, from State and USAID, but also the Millennium Challenge Corporation, NASA, NOAA, EPA, Treasury, and so much else. And many of our agencies are already working with the World Bank Group, but we want to enhance that collaboration, and that will be created by the memorandum of understanding that we sign today.

Now, the MOU is a good step forward, but we have so much further to go together. As you’ve already heard Bob say in his recitation of some of the statistics that should be driving all of us to greater efforts, more than 5,000 people die each day from causes linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene, and most of them are children. Millions of women and girls walk for hours every day to collect water for their households, and some of them put their very lives and physical safety at risk. And by 2025, we believe that it could be as much as two-thirds of the world’s population, including in more areas within developed countries where people will be living under water stress. And that will, in turn, both undermine and impede socioeconomic development.

So we come today determined to do what we can to make sure those statistics not only don’t worsen, but begin to reverse. One year ago, I reaffirmed the United States’s commitment to water security, to ensuring that people have the water they need, when and where they need it, in a sustainable manner, while reducing the risk and impact of extreme water events like droughts and floods. So water security for us is a matter of economic security, human security, and national security, because we see potential for increasing unrest, conflicts, and instability over water. That is why I asked the National Intelligence Council to prepare an intelligence estimate on the national security implications of water security up to the year 2040.

But there is another side to this issue. The water crisis can bring people together. In fact, on water issues, cooperation, not conflict, is and can be the rule. We have seen this in the success of local water groups, neighbors combining their resources to build wells and install pipes, then paying for water together. We have seen how water projects, done right, can unite engineers, health experts, educators, and political leaders. And we have seen countries come together to settle disputes and arrive at joint solutions to their water problems. So we want to enhance collaboration and commitment to bring more clean water and sanitation to more people.

We take this very seriously, so in our government, we’re now working to increase the impact of our policies and programs through our strategy to advance water security worldwide. And I announced on last World Water Day that Under Secretary Otero and USAID Administrator Raj Shah would lead those efforts to build the capacity of individuals, governments, and institutions to advance water security, to elevate and better coordinate our diplomatic efforts to mobilize, finance, to harness science and technology, and leverage the full range of public and private partnerships.

Now over this past year, we have made some targeted commitments. A few examples: In Indonesia, USAID has begun a five-year, $34 million water, sanitation, and hygiene project to reach more than 2 million of Indonesia’s urban poor. USAID also launched a project in Haiti to teach women about sanitation and hygiene so they could better take care of their households. And we are also supporting another project in India to provide slum dwellers in eight states with municipal water and sanitation systems.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a $275 million compact in October with Jordan, one of the five most water-deprived countries in the world, to improve water supply and waste water treatment. In terms of our diplomatic outreach, we are elevating water as a priority in our relationships not only with nations, but also regional and global institutions.

During the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York in September, we co-hosted an event on water that brought together heads of state, ministers from donor and developing countries, to encourage us all to make water – especially sanitation – a higher priority. And just a few weeks ago, USAID and the Qatar National Food Security Program convened representatives from 17 water centers in 10 countries across the Middle East and North Africa to create a regional network to share technical knowledge to solve the complex water challenges they face.

To mobilize financial support, we are investigating innovative ways to pay for water and sanitation projects to make it financially feasible for governments and private companies to invest in water and sanitation systems in poor communities.

In Kenya, USAID is working with local water utilities, a local cell phone company, and a local microfinance institution to create new ways for poor people to pay for water. They receive a microloan to cover the initial cost of connecting their homes with water systems, then repay those loans using micro-banking services on their cell phones.

Now in the Philippines, Japan and the United States have worked together to establish a water revolving fund to leverage private investment to improve water and sanitation for more than 100,000 people in 36 villages. And last year, the first USAID guaranteed loan for $2.5 million was granted.

To promote science and technology, we are supporting innovation in many places. To give just a few examples: USAID is working with NASA to use satellite images to monitor and forecast ecological changes in the Himalayas, including the monitoring of glacial melt. And it has worked with the private sector to open a ceramic water filter factory in Cambodia. With ceramic filters, people no longer need to boil water to make it safe to drink, so they don’t need to burn as much wood or charcoal, which in turn reduces greenhouse gases. And the plant has even applied to receive carbon credits for future sales.

Now, none of this work can be done by one country alone. It must be done in partnership, which is what brings me here to the World Bank today. We commend the World Bank for the leadership it has already shown over years on water. And with this Memorandum of Understanding, we are paving the way for closer collaboration between the World Bank and the United States Government. We want to combine our expertise to drive high-impact change in people’s lives. We think this is an important step. We’re excited about what it can produce for the people who need our help to get the water they desperately require, and we want to see what this kind of collaboration can actually foster.

We know that in the work we do in diplomacy and development, in finance and outreach, we’re always juggling the urgent and the important. And oftentimes, the urgent can swallow up everything else. Well, we need to keep our eye on the long-term and the important as well. We know that for hundreds of millions of people today, water represents a deadly threat. And the risks that they face in finding water, hauling it, drinking it, cooking and bathing with it, add up to the defining challenge of their lives. There is nothing more urgent and important than that. So let’s get about the business of working together – creatively, collaboratively, and quickly – to make a difference, to make our contribution to solving the water crisis and to bring greater health and stability to more of the world’s people.

It’s a great honor for me to be here today, to thank you for the work you do every day, and to offer the close cooperation from President Obama and our government on behalf of this extraordinary commitment that water represents to all of us.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: President Zoellick and Secretary Clinton will now sign the memorandum of understanding, and we invite the onstage guests to witness the signing. (Applause.)

(The memorandum of understanding was signed.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, again. Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)


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Secretary Clinton to Sign Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank on World Water Day

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 18, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Bank on World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 22 at 2 p.m. The MOU will strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will deliver brief remarks.

Before the MOU signing ceremony, non-government organizations (NGO) will highlight new commitments by NGOs and the private sector to address water and sanitation challenges in developing countries. Speakers will include NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, Hilton Foundation CEO Steven Hilton, and a representative from The Coca-Cola Company. HRH Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, will join via live video conference from World Water Day events in South Africa. Senior government officials, NGOs, and private sector representatives will be available for pull-aside interviews after the signing.

A live video conference with UN-HABITAT will occur from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Formal remarks by Secretary Clinton and President Zoellick, followed by a signing ceremony, will occur at 2 p.m. The entire event will be live-streamed at: http://wbwater.worldbank.org/water/

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World Water Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
National Geographic Society
Washington, DC
March 22, 2010

Thank you. Thank you very much. It is always a great pleasure to be here at the National Geographic Society, one of the treasures not only of Washington but of our country. And I thank Gil Grosvenor and everyone associated with the Society. I appreciate Maria Otero for her introduction. The water advocates who are gathered here today, thank you for your work.

And I want to recognize the other speakers who are participating, including the congressman. You know Earl is a champion of quality of life issues, and I think when he started in the Congress he was a little bit of a lonely voice. But gradually, people have seen the connections between a lot of the big issues of the day that take up the headlines and the day-to-day concerns of how people live, how they interact, how they commute. I want to tell Earl that I just inaugurated the showers for bikers at the State Department – (applause) – and I thought of you because the bikers gave me one of your bicycle signals. So we’re making progress, slowly but surely.

I know that you heard from my friend, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who serves as the Goodwill Ambassador for Water in Africa, and has already addressed you via video. And I also want to be sure to recognize the diplomatic community that is here today. The head of our Millennium Challenge Corporation, Daniel Yohannes – thank you, Daniel. Maybe people haven’t met you yet, but I want everyone to do so. (Applause.)

And I just appreciate coming today because I can’t think of a better way to mark World Water Day and I can’t think of a better person to be the MC than Hattie Babbitt. Hattie’s been a friend of mine for a long time and has been involved in so many important issues, and I’m so pleased to see her today.

Water – it kind of goes without saying – certainly deserves the attention it’s receiving today. Because in many ways, it does define our blue planet. It’s critical to almost every aspect of human endeavor, from agriculture, to industry, to energy. Like the air we breathe, it is vital to the health of individuals and communities. And both literally and figuratively, water represents the wellspring of life on earth.

Now, of course, water can also bring devastation. Floods and droughts now touch more people than all other natural disasters combined. And inadequate access to water supply, sanitation, and hygiene cause the deaths of more than 1.5 million children each year. Water challenges are most obvious in developing nations, but they affect every country on earth. And they transcend political boundaries. As water becomes increasingly scarce, it may become a potential catalyst for conflict among – and within – countries.

As I speak today, a young family in North Dakota is huddled together praying that the Red River won’t overflow its banks again and destroy their home. A farmer in Southern China is realizing that amid the worst drought in 60 years, he just may not be able to plant his crops this Spring. A mother living in Ethiopia is carrying a jerry can of water back to her family, hoping she won’t be attacked along the way. Water issues are an urgent concern every day of every year for individuals, communities, and countries around the world.

And as pressing as water issues are now, they will become even more important in the near future. Experts predict – and many of you are in this audience who are experts – that by 2025, just 15 years from now, nearly two-thirds of the world’s countries will be water-stressed. Many sources of freshwater will be under additional strain from climate change and population growth. And 2.4 billion people will face absolute water scarcity – the point at which a lack of water threatens social and economic development.

But water challenges are not an inevitable cause of crisis. With the right policies and priorities, and with the will, many countries in arid climates are managing water resources effectively. In the process, they are delivering tangible results for their people, encouraging sustainable economic development, and promoting stability across their regions.

Access to reliable supplies of clean water is a matter of human security. It’s also a matter of national security. And that’s why President Obama and I recognize that water issues are integral to the success of many of our major foreign policy initiatives.

The United States is making major investments to combat preventable diseases and improve child survival through our Global Health Initiative. Increasing access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene will help save lives that are now being lost to preventable diseases.

Seventy percent of the world’s water use is devoted to agriculture, and the outcome of our work to promote global food security depends in part on having a successful water policy and sound water management. Floods and droughts can wipe out crops, and decimate economies that depend on agriculture.

We are also working to empower women around the world, because depending upon which continent we’re talking about, the average is 60 percent of the farmers are women. In addition to that, women who gain access to sanitation, who are freed from the burden of walking for hours each day just to locate and carry water, will find it easier to invest time and energy in their families and communities.

The stability of young governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other nations depends in part on their ability to provide their people with access to water and sanitation. A lack of water, sanitation, and irrigation we know leads to economic decline, and even can lead to unrest and instability.

Part of being serious about dealing with and adapting to climate change is about being serious about water. As the earth warms, rainfall patterns can shift, bringing new patterns of drought and flooding. And we need to get out in front of that problem.

Successful engagement on water can also affect how our country is perceived in the world. We spend a lot of time working on issues such as terrorism and arms control and nuclear proliferation. These are obviously important topics that deserve our attention. But the reality is that they are not problems most people deal with on a day-to-day basis. Water is different. When we demonstrate our concern for the issue, it speaks to individuals on a whole different level. Everyone knows sensation of thirst firsthand. We all have daily personal experience that we can think about and relate to, even if the nature and magnitude of that experience varies widely. Our ability to satisfy our need for water depends on our location and our circumstances. But as a matter of biological necessity, access to safe, sustainable supplies of water is a priority for everyone on the planet.

In the United States, water represents one of the great diplomatic and development opportunities of our time. It’s not every day you find an issue where effective diplomacy and development will allow you to save millions of lives, feed the hungry, empower women, advance our national security interests, protect the environment, and demonstrate to billions of people that the United States cares, cares about you and your welfare. Water is that issue.

Now, we know that this challenge is much too large for the United States – or any one nation – to address alone. Even if all of the world’s development aid were directed toward water and sanitation efforts, the resources still wouldn’t be enough to meet the needs of developing countries. So we need to work together to leverage the efforts of other nations, the international community, and partners in the nonprofit and private sectors. Today, I want to discuss five streams – that’s my speechwriter (laughter) – five streams – who’s wonderful, by the way – five streams of action that make up our approach to water issues.

First, we need to build capacity at the local, national, and regional levels. Countries and communities must take the lead in securing their own water futures. And, particularly in areas where we have serious, committed partners, we should work to expand their ability to address water challenges.

We are looking at ways to work with international partners to support the development and implementation of country-led water and sanitation plans. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is supporting countries that are committed to making needed reforms, improving governance, and taking on the tough development challenges that surround the issue of water. USAID is working at a grassroots level and with national ministries to improve governance and capacity-building.

We need to strengthen regional cooperative mechanisms for managing water resources that transcend national boundaries. Now, we usually look at maps and see political units. But in order to meet the challenge presented by water security, we need to start viewing the water in terms of natural water boundaries such as watersheds, river basins, and aquifers. There are more than 260 river basins in the world that flow through different nations. We cannot address the water challenges of these countries in isolation. We should view every regional watershed or aquifer as an opportunity for stronger international cooperation.

Done right, there could be huge political and economic benefits from regional water diplomacy. The Nile River basin, for example, is home to 180 million people spread throughout ten East African countries. Many of these nations are mired in poverty, and seven of them have experienced recent conflicts. But experts estimate that cooperative management of the basin’s water resources could increase economic growth – increase it enough to pull many of these countries out of poverty and provide a foundation for greater regional stability.

We are also looking to take advantage of regional platforms, such as the African Ministers Council on Water and the soon-to-be-established Center of Excellence on Water in the Middle East. We hope these programs will serve as hubs for connecting local countries to each other, and also to universities, laboratories, and research groups worldwide that share an interest in water issues.

Now, of course, the National Geographic is ahead of all of us, as always, with this wonderful special issue on Water: Our Thirsty World. And one of their handy maps that I used to have to study all the time when I was in school, has a World of Rivers, a new mapping of every river system, really giving life to what it is we are proposing.

Second, we need to elevate our diplomatic efforts and we need to better coordinate them. More than 24 UN agencies and other intergovernmental bodies are engaged on water issues. And multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, and other international financial institutions have acquired deep experience working on water challenges. But the work of these bodies has often suffered from a lack of coordination and high-level attention. The joint G8-Africa Leader’s Statement on Water at the last G8 Summit in L’Aquila sent a message that water issues are a priority for the international community. And we are committed to following through on that by elevating water issues within intergovernmental organizations, the international financial institutions, and other regional and global bodies.

Water is actually a test case for preventive diplomacy. Historically, many long-term global challenges – including water – have been left to fester for years until they grew so serious that they could no longer be ignored. If we can rally the world to address the water issue now, we can take early corrective action, and get ahead of the challenges that await us. And in doing so, we can establish a positive precedent for early action to address other serious issues of global concern.

The third element of our water strategy is mobilizing financial support. Managing water issues requires resources. And in some cases, the United States will be able to provide assistance. We’ve seen how relatively small grants can have a vast impact on water security. Ten years ago in Ecuador, USAID began several years of technical assistance to support the establishment of a water trust fund for the future protection of Quito’s watershed. Today, thanks to the work of many partners, that fund has grown to $6 million; it provides $800,000 a year for conservation efforts. For the American people – and for the people of Ecuador – that represents a spectacular return on our investment. Other U.S. grants are targeted to support hygiene and sanitation projects or water quality improvements that involve small-scale hardware such as household water purification technology. And we are making critical investments in programs that promote behavior that contributes to good sanitation and hygiene.

In some instances, we are also providing assistance for larger infrastructure projects as well. In Jordan, USAID has helped build a desalination plant, a wastewater treatment facility, and water supply and sanitation systems that serve more than two million people. We are backing similar large-scale projects in several countries that are receiving assistance through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. MCC-supported water programs are improving irrigation systems, rebuilding critical infrastructure, and increasing access to clean water and sanitation. Overall, the MCC has invested $1.3 billion so far in country-led water programs. Now, we won’t be able to provide that type of support everywhere. But we hope that these projects will send a message to governments in developing countries that if they adopt sound policies and serious reforms, the United States will help them deliver sustainable water solutions that benefit their people. And a government’s success in providing water and sanitation services is a leading indicator of its determination to deliver other vital services.

The United States is also working to strengthen capital markets and provide credit enhancements with the goal of mobilizing resources inside developing countries. In many cases, there is enough capital in developing nations to fund water projects. But the money sits in financial institutions rather than working for the public good. USAID has pioneered the use of innovative tools to manage the risk associated with investing in water and sanitation infrastructure. As a result, we’ve been able to mobilize local capital to help solve water issues. In some cases, they have leveraged U.S. funds at twenty-to-one ratios.

And also, we are very interested in the not-for-profit organizations like Acumen and others that are helping to create for-profit models in India and elsewhere, which have been proven to be quite successful thus far.

Fourth, we must harness the power of science and technology. There is no technological silver bullet for dealing with water scarcity, although we have had success with simple solutions such as ceramic filters and chlorine disinfectant. But there are a number of areas where science and technological innovation can make a huge impact, and U.S. Government agencies are on the cutting edge of many global efforts to assess and address water challenges. Researchers working in U.S. agencies have discovered better techniques for disinfecting and storing drinking water, for predicting floods and droughts, and for improving the productivity of water for food and economic growth. We have also seen progress on new technologies for waste water treatment, desalinization, and the use of global information systems. We need to work harder to share this knowledge with the rest of the world.

For that reason, we are taking a whole-of-government approach to this issue. Beyond the State Department, USAID, and the MCC, we are harnessing the expertise of our technical agencies, the knowledge of the intelligence community, and the best practices from those who have been working on these challenges right here in the United States.

One example is a joint USAID-NASA initiative to create an earth observation monitoring and visualization system in the Himalayas. The glaciers in that mountain range serve as the water tower of Asia, providing the water supply for more than 1.3 billion people. In cooperation with nearby countries, USAID and NASA are developing a system that will provide a clearer picture of water supply and demand for the region and facilitate efforts to adapt to climate change.

Just as we are reaching out across the U.S. Government to help deal with these challenges, we also need to leverage the full-range of our relationships beyond government. That’s why the final aspect of our water efforts is broadening the scope of our partnerships. By focusing on our strengths and leveraging our efforts against the work of others, we can deliver results that are greater than the sum of the parts.

NGOs and nonprofits, including many of the organizations represented here, already play a vital role as implementers and advocates. Private philanthropic organizations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Rotary International, are also increasingly engaged on water and sanitation as well.

The private sector is another area where we need to build stronger partnerships. Some companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have core business interests that are related to water issues and a history of working to improve water standards and efficiency. But even in industries that seem disconnected from water, a focus on the issues can have a significant impact. For example, Intel conserved over three billion gallons of water last year and more than 30 billion gallons worldwide over the last decade.

We want to identify strategic opportunities for working with private firms, and bring their technical skills and capital to bear in addressing the challenges facing the water sector. At the State Department, we are going to elevate water issues within our Global Partnership Initiatives, and on March 23rd, which is tomorrow, we will be holding the first of what I expect will be many meetings with corporations and foundations to examine how better to address water challenges through public-private partnerships and work together toward long-term collaboration.

Now, channeling these five streams of action into a mighty river that runs across our entire diplomatic and development agenda will not be easy. But fortunately, we have the right team for the job. I’ve asked Under Secretary Otero and USAID Administrator Raj Shah to lead our work on this issue. Raj is traveling today, or he would be with us.

But they will work to ensure that we take a comprehensive approach. Regardless of whether we’re working on watershed management, efficiency, production, or sanitation, we need to look at this challenge holistically. Maria and Raj will be responsible for keeping the big picture in mind.

So as we move forward, they will help us identify what’s working, and what’s not. They’ll help us invest in those approaches that are delivering sustainable, measurable results. And they’ll also enable us to keep a long-term perspective on this challenge. We need to make sure that the work we do on water issues is not just of the moment, but truly does stand the test of time.

As we face this challenge, one thing that will endure is the United States’ commitment to water issues. We are in this for the long haul. I am convinced that if we empower communities and countries to meet their own challenges, expand our diplomatic efforts, make sound investments, foster innovation, and build effective partnerships, we can make real progress together and seize this historic opportunity.

Now, we need to do this for ourselves, but also need to do it for future generations. We see one vision of the world’s water future in places like Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, where the city is in serious jeopardy of running out of ground water in the coming years.

But there is also a prospect for a much better future in which we do come together to make the decisions to secure the resources for coming generations. And it’s not only for the benefit of individuals, but it helps to create a future where all of us can be more respectful of our environment, more appreciative of water, which is truly at the core of life; give us a greater appreciation of our common humanity.

The water that we use today has been circulating through the earth since time began. It must sustain humanity for as long as we live on this earth. In that sense, we didn’t just inherit this resource from our parents; we are truly, as many indigenous cultures remind us, borrowing it from our children. It is my hope that by making water a front-burner issue, a high priority in our national and international dialogues, we can give our children and our children’s-children the future they deserve.

Many of you are experts. You have given your professional lives to working on behalf of water. I am here to thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done. I know how important it is. Perhaps you don’t see it in the headlines, but often it’s in the trend lines. Often, it’s under the radar. Often, it is one of the root causes of what makes it into the top news broadcasts. So what you’re doing is not only on behalf of water, not even just on behalf of development. It’s on behalf of peace, prosperity, opportunity, security. And we want to be a good partner with each of you and all those who see water as a necessary part of the American foreign policy agenda.

I’m excited about what lies ahead, and I look forward to working with you, and I thank you for this opportunity to come and talk before you. (Applause.)

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I waited patiently for the schedule.   Now I am waiting patiently for the AIPAC speech which I could not watch. There (obviously – this one is from this morning) are pictures up, but no text or video yet.

Daily Appointments Schedule for March 22, 2010

Washington, DC
March 22, 2010


9:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks to the 2010 AIPAC Policy Conference, at the Washington Convention Center.

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks on World Water Day, at the National Geographic Society.

11:00 a.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a Principals Committee Meeting, at the White House.

12:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, at the Department of State.

1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama, at the White House.

2:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the Department of State.

4:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton holds a Secure Video Conference with the staffs and families of Embassy Mexico City and the Nine Consulates in Mexico, at the Department of State.

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