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State of the Union 2008

Advancing An Agenda Of Compassion Worldwide
President Bush Expands Commitment To Ease Hunger, Disease, Illiteracy, And Poverty

Tonight, President Bush will ask Congress to expand our Nation's efforts to promote a global agenda of compassion around the world to support the basic human needs of all people.  Around the world, ordinary people want the same things for their children that we want for ours – a decent life and a peaceful future.  The President believes it is in the best interests of America to help remove the causes of despair and support the foundations of freedom by fighting hunger and disease, supporting basic education initiatives, and advancing global economic development.  American volunteers, businesses, and dedicated faith-based and secular service organizations stand among those on the front lines of this work, and the President champions continued expansion of their vital efforts in partnership with the United States government worldwide.

The United States Is Doing Its Part To Fight Hunger Around The World

President Bush will call tonight on Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops of local and regional farmers.  While U.S.-grown food would continue to play an important role in meeting global needs, local food purchase would help our Nation respond especially in crisis situations.  Such a program would be an important step to break the cycle of famine in the developing world.

More than half of the world's food assistance comes from America.  The United States' humanitarian food aid totaled more than $1.7 billion in FY 2007, and our emergency food aid reached about 23 million people in 30 countries. 

America Is Helping To Turn The Tide Against Global HIV/AIDS

The President will also call on Congress to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and double its historic initial commitment with an additional $30 billion over the next five years.  The United States launched PEPFAR in 2003 – the largest international health initiative in history ever dedicated to a single disease.  This effort has helped bring life-saving treatments to more than 1.4 million people around the world.  The next phase of the American people's commitment to those suffering from HIV/AIDS will help bring us closer to our goal by supporting:

  • Treatment for 2.5 million people
  • Prevention of more than 12 million new infections
  • Care for more than 12 million people, including five million orphans and vulnerable children.
  • As of the end of FY 2007, PEPFAR was supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 1.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the 15 focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.  PEPFAR is partnering with local communities and indigenous organizations, including faith- and community-based organizations to support treatment, care, and prevention activities.  PEPFAR has also:
    • Supported over 33 million counseling and testing sessions for men, women, and children. 
    • Supported care for nearly 6.6 million individuals, including care for more than 2.7 million orphans and vulnerable children.
    • Supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 10 million pregnancies from FY04 to FY07.
  • The United States supports one of the most diverse prevention portfolios of any international partner.  In addition to the balanced, evidenced-based ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, and the correct and consistent use of Condoms) approach, the U.S. supports programs that address mother-to-child transmission, blood safety and safe medical injections, male circumcision, injecting drug users, HIV-discordant couples, alcohol abuse, and other key issues, including gender-specific programs. 
  • The United States leads the world in its support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  President Bush made the Fund's founding contribution, and the United States has pledged over $3.5 billion and contributed approximately $2.5 billion to date – far more than any other nation.
  • As a result of the President's leadership, the U.S. and other G-8 leaders in June demonstrated their commitment to work with Africa and set a goal of supporting treatment for five million HIV/AIDS-infected individuals, preventing 24 million new infections, and caring for 24 million people, including 10 million orphans and vulnerable children.

The President's Malaria Initiative Has Already Reached An Estimated 25 Million People In Sub-Saharan Africa

Announced in June 2005, the President's Malaria Initiative is spending $1.2 billion over five years to combat malaria in 15 African countries.   At least one million infants and children under age five in Sub-Saharan Africa die each year from malaria – one approximately every 30 seconds. The President's Malaria Initiative is combating this high mortality rate by providing bed nets, indoor spraying, and anti-malaria medicine with the goal of reducing mortality by 50 percent by focusing on the most vulnerable groups. 

In its second year, the President's Malaria Initiative reached an estimated 10 million people with lifesaving prevention or treatment services.  The Initiative expects to reach 30 million people by the end of FY 2008.

In October 2007, the first round of grants were awarded under the Malaria Communities Program (MCP) to help support locally-sustainable malaria control work.  MCP was launched at the White House Summit on Malaria in December 2006 and focuses on enabling communities and indigenous organizations that are new to partnering with the U.S. Government in their efforts to combat malaria in Africa. 

The President's Malaria Initiative continues to leverage private sector support, and more than six million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets are being distributed through PMI public-private partnerships.  For example, in partnership with Malaria No More, PMI was able to distribute 580,000 nets in Uganda.  In Zambia, PMI joined with PEPFAR and the Global Business Coalition to distribute 500,000 nets through home-based care programs serving people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The United States Is Helping Provide Basic Education For People Around The World

The United States is joining with nations around the world to help them provide a better education for their people. In partnership with other nations, America has: helped train more than 600,000 teachers and administrators; distributed tens of millions of textbooks; and helped nations raise standards in their schools.

In May 2007, President Bush launched the Expanded Education for the World's Poorest Initiative and committed to provide an additional $425 million over five years to make our international education programs more robust. This initiative provides an additional four million children with access to basic education in six target countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Mali, and Yemen.

The Africa Education Initiative (AEI) established by President Bush in 2002 is providing $600 million over eight years to increase access to quality basic education.  By 2010, AEI will have distributed over 15 million textbooks, trained nearly one million teachers, and provided 550,000 scholarships for girls.

Through the partnership between Afghanistan, the U.S., and the international community, more than five million children are now in school in Afghanistan, up from only 900,000 children under the Taliban.  Almost two million of these children are girls. 

In March 2007, the President announced the Partnership for Latin American Youth, a three-year, $75 million initiative to provide young people with access to English language training and increased educational opportunities in both the United States and their home countries. Thousands of students in the Western Hemisphere will benefit from these programs.

The United States Is Fighting Poverty By Promoting An Open Global Economy

Through the Millennium Challenge Account, the United States is delivering economic assistance to developing nations in innovative ways.  The Millennium Challenge Account increases aid to nations that govern justly, fight corruption, invest in the education and health of their people, and promote economic freedom.  Since its inception in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has approved compacts totaling over $5.5 billion with 16 partner countries. 

In the long run, the best way to lift people out of poverty is through trade and investment.  Open markets ignite growth, encourage investment, increase transparency, strengthen the rule of law, and help countries help themselves. 

  • The United States remains committed to a successful conclusion to the Doha round of trade talks this year.  The Doha round is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to open up markets, create new trade flows, and help millions escape poverty worldwide.
  • The United States will continue to pursue market-opening agreements that increase trade and investment.  The President urges Congress to approve free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.