About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote's Managing Editor.
Today, we introduce a new feature on DipNote: a synopsis of entries posted during the previous week. This past week, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined leaders from around the world for an annual meeting at the United Nations, an "institution built from the rubble of war, designed to unite the world in pursuit of peace."
To that end, we saw American diplomats engaged on a broad range of issues at this year's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Secretary Clinton joined partners in signing two Memoranda of Understanding on Haiti recovery projects. Ambassador Ivo Daalder provided a read-out of the Secretary's participation in the NATO Russia Council meeting.
With Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin, Secretary Clinton hosted the “1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future” event to address a far-reaching issue that steals the potential of 200 million children around the world: under-nutrition.
Secretary Clinton announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership which aims to eliminate the nearly 2 million premature deaths a year from smoke-related diseases caused by old and polluting stoves and open-fire cooking.
Public-private partnerships were also a central focus of Special Representative Farah Pandith's update on an initiative inspired by President Obama's June 2009 Cairo speech. Secretary Clinton spoke about a partnership among USAID, U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Inter-American Development Bank to bring people -- many them women, rural farmers, small business owners, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities -- into the financial system.
In remarks before the United Nations, President Obama described the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a set of "concrete goals to free our fellow men, women and children from the injustice of extreme poverty." The President announced the new U.S. Global Development Policy -- the first of its kind by an American administration. For a quick primer on the MDGs, click here; for the U.S. strategy in meeting the goals, click here.
We heard from several others this week about the MDGs, including Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer, who discussed the President's new development strategy during a digital conversation at a fully-wired gathering spot for journalists, NGO representatives, and bloggers at the 92nd Street Y. Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez wrote about how U.S. research and innovation is helping countries to meet their food security needs, improve the environment, and increase rural incomes. Senior Advisor Jack Bobo wrote about biotechnology's ability to increase agricultural productivity and farmer incomes while reducing the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. And Daniel Garrett, a program officer, addressed the fact that access to safe drinking water and sanitation is key to meeting the MDGs. At UNGA, Under Secretary Maria Otero joined a high-level group of leaders to focus attention on this critical issue.
We are seeing the urgency of access to clean drinking water in Pakistan, where flooding has left millions without it, and the threat of widespread waterborne disease outbreak is mounting. This week, the United States announced a $2 million effort to provide water purification kits to Pakistan flood victims.
U.S Embassy Islamabad Assistant Information Officer Courtney Beale, who will be blogging regularly for DipNote in the months ahead, described Ambassador Holbrooke's recent visit to Pakistan to review U.S. humanitarian assistance. At a ministerial meeting on Pakistan at the United Nations, Secretary Clinton underscored the U.S. commitment and described U.S. relief efforts, which total approximately $345 million.
President Obama participated in a high-level meeting on Sudan, and U.S. officials met with members of Zimbabwe's coalition government. The United Nations Security Council Summit hosted a meeting on peacekeeping this week, at which Secretary Clinton praised the "dedicated men and women who work under the blue flag in troubled lands very far from their homes." She also noted the need for improvement -- for "clear, credible and achievable mandates for all UN missions," which prompted DipNote Bloggers to ask: "With these criteria in mind, where should the UN focus its peacekeeping resources, and why?"
Rounding out the Ministerial meetings, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer took part in a meeting co-hosted by the Foreign Ministers of Denmark and Ghana on "Fulfilling the Responsibility to Protect." The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is an emerging international norm that outlines a state's responsibility to protect its citizens from genocide and other crimes against humanity, and the international community's responsibility to intervene when a state is unable or unwilling to do so.
And while we all remained focused on UNGA, our colleagues in Seoul took time out to join their Korean counterparts in celebrating the Chuseok festival, and the DipNote team marked the blog's third birthday.
For anyone interested in a career in foreign affairs, this week offered an overview of the broad scope of issues an American diplomat might address. Diplomat-in-training Erica King described working at the State Department as a "career opportunity of a lifetime." I couldn't agree with her more, and look forward to another full week ahead.