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White House Summit on International Development: Sustaining the New Era

Closing Remarks by The Honorable Stephen J. Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Announcer: Thank you, panelists.

Now please welcome the President's National Security Adviser, Steven Hadley.

Stephen J. Hadley: Good afternoon. This day has been a historic gathering of people committed to sustaining the new era in international development. I want to recognize all those who have made this summit such a success - President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Bob Geldof, panelists representing nine nations, the United States Congress, several United States agencies and representatives of many non-governmental organizations and other private sector partners. All of you gathered here today deserve our thanks as well for the work you do, for the people you serve, and for the vision we all share. President Bush and Secretary Rice spoke about that vision earlier today, a vision to transform development assistance so that it can more effectively deliver results. Over the past eight years this vision has changed the lives of millions of people in dozens of nations. This vision is becoming a reality because of the hard work of so many people in this room. I've been honored to see first-hand the kind of work that you do to see what this new era of development is all about and what it looks like where it's happening on the ground. I had the privilege of traveling with the President the last few years.

I remember visiting the Meru district hospital in Arusha Tanzania and watching the President and Mrs. Bush meet with the patients and families there. We saw how our partnership with Tanzania was helping the clinic offer HIV testing and counseling, treat cases of malaria and provide prenatal care for pregnant women. And what I realized for the first time was the infrastructure we are building for HIV-AIDS will in fact be the infrastructure in these developing countries to provide better health benefits to their people on a broad scale of things. It is an investment in health that will dramatically change these countries. I remember being in rural Guatemala and watch the President help farmers load lettuce bound for global markets, markets that were open to these farmers because of our free trade agreement between our two nations and because a small grant from UNSAID helped grow their business. And people who had been growing beans and staples for their family were now growing products of great quality bound for markets all over the world, and to be able to see what that transformation was doing to that community in which this farm was located. In each location all around the world I saw confidence in so many faces, confidence in themselves that they were building a better future for their communities and confidence in their own governments and the international community because they saw that we were working together with a sound strategy and that we were determined to help them succeed.

Why is development assistance so important? We help the people of the developing world because we are compassionate people, because we believe that every individual deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. As the President put it this afternoon, we believe that the power to save lives comes with the obligation to use it. So helping the people of the developing world is a moral imperative. Helping the people of the developing world is also in the security interest of every nation in the world. The reason is clear. In the 21st Century we face a variety of transnational threats including terrorist networks, organized crime, disease and traffickers in drugs, weapons, money and even human beings. These threats operate like parasites within the body of a state. And the simple truth is that many states are too weak to fight them off.

So we all have a vital national security interest in helping these states strengthen themselves so they can fend off and ultimately defeat these threats. Helping the people of the developing world is also in our economic interest. As developing economies grow, they provide a better life for their people. And they become valued trading partners for their neighbors and for the rest of us. As developing economies grow, they also become more effective partners in addressing global economic challenges such as the current global financial crisis. If this new century has shown us anything, it is that our own prosperity, freedom and security are increasingly intertwined with those of developing nations. Development assistance is central to our nation's national security and our foreign policy. And President Bush's budgets have reflected that reality.

With the support of the Congress, the United States has more than doubled U.S. development assistance worldwide. In Africa we doubled our development assistance in the President's first four years in office. And we are on track to double it again by 2010. But beginning a new era in development required more than financial commitment. It required a new approach. That approach involves developing country ownership, good governance by the nations receiving help, accountability for results and using the power of free markets and free trade to generate economic growth and lift people out of poverty. At today's summit, you've heard how this approach is changing the lives of people in the developing world. You've heard how country ownership is helping nations such as Uganda and Afghanistan strengthen public institutions especially in small villages and rural communities to fight HIV-AIDS and other dread diseases. And President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf this morning shared how local communities across Liberia helped develop her nation's poverty reduction strategy and are now invested in its success. You've heard how to make good governance a priority by insisting up front that fighting corruption is central to what we do and by building public trust in government institutions that serve the people.

You've heard how reformers fought judicial corruption in Romania and how a company like Intel supports good governance in Vietnam, Ghana and other countries in which it works while promoting a business climate that can attract private sector investment. You've heard why accountability is one of the keys to success and how insistence on accountability has helped the people of Haiti turn the corner in their fight against HIV-AIDS. And you've heard how this new era of development is helping more nations lay the foundations for long-term economic growth. You've heard how the expansion of property rights in Lesotho to both men and women is helping more people become owners of their own future. You have heard how connecting with the global economy has allowed farmers and other producers throughout the developing world to market their products far beyond the local village and invest the returns in their businesses. And you've heard about how the availability of credit through micro-financing can help a small business in the developing world create opportunity for the whole community.

Partnerships with developing nations are helping to make the world a better place. We're helping to treat the sick and feed the hungry. We're helping to teach children and empower entrepreneurs. We're helping to open markets and strengthen good governance. We are helping more people live lives with dignity and hope. Now is not the time to turn back on our commitments to the developing world. And the current global financial crisis shows why. We see that the fortunes of all our nations are tied to the global economy and the developing economies contribute to global prosperity more than ever before. We must resist the dangerous temptation of economic isolationism. We must continue the polices of open markets that have lifted the standards of living and helped millions of people escape poverty around the world. And we must help more nations draw upon the experience represented in this room so that more people can lift themselves out of poverty.

To ensure that this vision of a new development strategy drives America's policies going forward, we in this room must be its strongest advocates. We in this room must make the case to the next president, to future presidents and to leaders of other nations that we now have the right strategy in place to help the people of the developing world, a strategy that is worthy of everyone's support. Thank you very much for being here, for making this conference such a success and for all that you do to make the world a better place.

Thank you very much.

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending the White House Summit on International Development, sustaining the new era.