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CRS releases report titled “Abortion and Family Planning-Related Provisions in U.S. Foreign Assistance Law and Policy”

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report titled “Abortion and Family Planning-Related Provisions in U.S. Foreign Assistance Law and Policy.” According to the summary, the “report details legislation and policies that restrict or place requirements on U.S. funding of abortion or family planning activities abroad.”

President Obama signs memorandum on coordination of U.S. efforts to advance gender equality globally

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum titled “Coordination of Policies and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally” which 1) directs the Secretary of State to designate an Ambassador at Large charged with leading the Office of Global Women’s Issue at the State Department, 2) ensures…

Senate confirms John Kerry as Secretary of State

Following approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), the full Senate approved (94-3) the nomination of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for Secretary of State. President Obama also released a statement on Senator Kerry’s confirmation. Additional Information: Senator Kerry’s remarks at a nomination before the SFRC held on 1/24/13.

State Department releases fact sheets summarizing U.S. work on global health and food security in Haiti

The U.S. Department of State released fact sheets summarizing the U.S. government’s work in Haiti prior to and after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Health Specific Fact Sheets: Global Health Cholera Food Security Additional Fact Sheets: Funding Energy Education Economic Security Governance, Rule of Law, and Security Shelter and Housing…

Administration official discusses new U.S.-India-Africa agricultural training program

Acting Special Representative in the Office of Global Food Security, Jonathan Shrier, provided remarks at the launch of a new U.S.-India-Africa agricultural training program titled “New Dimensions in Agricultural Extension Management.” The program “aims to improve agricultural productivity, strengthen agricultural value chains, and support market institutions” by providing training at India’s National…

State Department Official remarks before UN committee regarding proposed agreement on mercury

In remarks provided during the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury, Daniel A. Reifsnyder, U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, stated that “[t]he United States remains committed to…

Secretary Clinton’s “Remarks on the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development”

In remarks commemorating the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Secretary Clinton stated that the Obama Administration “understand[s] there is a direct line between a woman’s reproductive health and her ability to lead a productive fulfilling life. . . So we are rededicating ourselves to the global efforts to improve reproductive health for women and girls.” Secretary Clinton also stated that the Obama Administration is committed to achieving both the Cairo goals and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Five and summarized the ways that the Administration would work to achieve these goals including: increased funding for reproductive healthcare and the integration of women’s issues in the U.S. foreign policy agenda, particularly the Global Health Initiative (GHI) and the Global Food Security Initiative.

Secretary Clinton’s remarks on “Development in the 21st Century”

In a speech titled “Development in the 21st Century,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed elevating development as a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy and an intention “to rebuild USAID into the world’s premier development agency.” She emphasized a new commitment to results and outlined six approaches currently underway “to make sure that development delivers lasting results”:

1) Adopt a model of development that emphasizes partnerships with countries, multilateral organizations, NGOs, Universities, and the private sector;

2) Elevate development and integrate development more closely with defense and diplomacy in the field;

3) Improve the coordination of development across federal agencies and reduce reliance on contractors by increasing staff and expertise at USAID and the State Department;

4) Target investment and develop technical excellence in a few key areas, such as health, agriculture, security, education, energy, and local governance;

5) Increase investment in innovation; and

6) Increase investment on women and girls, who are critical to advancing social, economic, and political progress.

State Department releases fact sheet titled “Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls: Keys to a Better Future for Afghanistan”

Among other things, the fact sheet summarizes U.S. efforts to improve the health of Afghan women and girls by initiating, and bolstering, “existing program initiatives to improve women’s and girls’ access to healthcare.” The fact sheet states that through U.S. government assistance, “the number of midwives available to assist with deliveries has quadrupled” and “the number of health facilities with women health workers has more than doubled” since 2001.

Secretary Clinton discusses food security upon acceptance of the George McGovern Leadership Award

In remarks after accepting the George McGovern Leadership Award, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed U.S. commitments to improving food security through the Feed the Future Initiative (FtF). Among other things, Secretary Clinton emphasized the need to “focus on science and research. . . [and] a better understanding of how to deliver food and not interrupt, disrupt, and destroy markets in the host countries.”