During a joint press availability with Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway, President Obama stated that â€œthe Prime Minister and I also reaffirmed our mutual commitment to improving global health. We committed to work together to deal with maternal child and newborn health, to promote research and innovation and strengthen health systems.â€
Among other things, the proposed bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a “National Strategic Action Plan . . . to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change on public health in the United States and other nations, particularly developing nations.”
- The bill would also create the “Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Fund,” which would be made available to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in order “to assist the efforts of developing nations to incorporate measures to prepare health systems to respond to the impacts of climate change.”
- Finally, the bill would create the “International Climate Change Adaptation and Global Security Program,â€ which would â€œprovide assistance to the most vulnerable developing countries” through bilateral and/or multilateral assistance.
Timeline of the bill:
- Introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on September 30, 2009.
- Reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on November 5, 2009.
In a statement to the United Nations (UN) on Agricultural Development and Food Security, David Carbajal, United States Advisor on the Economic and Social Council stated that â€œthe United States has put food security at the forefront of its international agenda.â€ Carbajal outlined five priorities for achieving international food security:
1) Increase support for country-led and regional strategies;
2) Ensure mutual accountability;
3) Lâ€™Aquila participants need to remain committed to providing $20 billion in support, while continuing to provide emergency food assistance;
4) Create improved systems for soil and water management as well as waste minimization; and
5) The need for a reformed Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) released the “FY 2010 General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance,” which provides an overview of the PRM’s “mission and overall priorities and are meant to augment regional and/or issue-specific guidance provided in funding opportunity announcements.”
Specific requirements are included for proposed projects receiving PRM funding for water/sanitation and health. For example, the guidelines state that NGOs should design water and sanitation interventions “with a focus on maintenance by local communities in the longer-term” and that, among other things, “health strategies must be designed to use national treatment and prevention protocols.”
The resolution expresses the sense that the Senate supports World Water Day and urges the State Department and USAID to increase efforts to provide safe sanitation and drinking water.
As required by the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, the State Department released its 4th annual report to Congress “describing U.S. Government efforts to expand access to safe drinking water and sanitation, improve water resources management and increase water productivity in developing countries.” According to the report, “the United States obligated more than $1 billion for water- and sanitation-related activities in developing countries (excluding Iraq)” and “includes â€“ for the first time â€“ country specific plans for achieving U.S. goals and objectives along with measurable indicators to track progress and report results.”
The proposed bill directs the President to develop and implement a strategy to reduce global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Among other things, the bill requires that the strategy include measurable goals, benchmarks, and timelines, and that it build upon, leverage, and better coordinate existing efforts to address issues relevant to global poverty such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, water, and hunger. Finally, the bill requires the President to report back to Congress regularly on the progress of the strategy.
The bill would create an â€œOffice of Waterâ€ at USAID headed by a â€œDirector for Safe Water and Sanitationâ€ with the responsibility of implementing the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-121) and meeting the goal of providing 100 million people with safe water and sanitation by 2015. The bill also creates the position of â€œSpecial Coordinator for International Waterâ€ at the State Department with the responsibility of coordinating U.S. diplomatic policy in relation to other international issues. The bill authorizes appropriations in the amount that â€œmay be necessary to carry out this Act.â€
The bill would authorize â€œexisting United States Government programs, implementing authorities, and organizationsâ€ to improve â€œhealth and other basic quality of life indicators for residents of slumsâ€ by providing for â€œaffordable housing and sustainable urban development in developing countriesâ€ including access to clean water and improved sanitation.
The U.S. government sent representatives from 10 different agencies to the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey in order to discuss global water and sanitation issues.