Five Highlights From USAID at the UN General Assembly

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An African woman, in brightly colored clothing, smiles standing in a field in front of two small huts made from sticks
Photo by Morgana Wingard for USAID

Five Highlights From USAID at the UN General Assembly

Last week at the United Nations General Assembly, USAID made important funding announcements and demonstrated its leadership role in international development and humanitarian efforts.

The U.S. delegation took part in many activities throughout the week. In case you missed anything, here are the top five highlights:

1. The President's First Speech at the UN

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, President Trump highlighted the role of the United States as a leader in humanitarian assistance — including famine prevention and relief in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen; our investments to improve global health through programs like the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); and our commitment to supporting the Iraqi people through challenging times.

These efforts show we will stand with people when disaster strikes or a crisis emerges, but we’ll also look at ways we can build the resilience of our country partners.

2. Funding Announcement: U.S. Provides More Aid for Famine Relief

In Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, more than 20 million people are facing severe hunger or starvation. At the UN, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced an additional $575 million in humanitarian assistance on behalf of the U.S. Government to come to the aid of these countries.

The new funding will provide emergency food assistance and shelter, life-saving medical care, and improved sanitation, including safe drinking water. The money will also support programs to treat and prevent disease outbreaks, including cholera.

At USAID, we remain deeply committed to combating hunger and helping the world’s most vulnerable people. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with people in dire need. This is a fundamental reflection of our core American values.

While this assistance is truly life-saving, humanitarian assistance alone will not solve these problems. We need to couple humanitarian assistance with tools and training that empower people to help themselves and their community. We must find ways to help community leaders bolster resilience.

3. Funding Announcement: U.S. Expands Our Fight Against Malaria

Malaria isn’t just a matter of global health, it is a tax that robs countries of their vitality and a growing portion of national budgets. The fight against malaria works through strong public and private partnerships.

That’s why Administrator Green announced that the U.S. President’s Malaria initiative (PMI) will launch new programs in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Sierra Leone, while expanding its existing program in Burkina Faso. PMI is led by USAID in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With five new focus countries in West and Central Africa, PMI will have programs in 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria remains a significant public health problem. The expansion will benefit 90 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa.

We hope this expansion builds on our success in Africa, where 11 focus countries have achieved a greater than 40 percent drop in malaria-related deaths since the initiative began. These efforts reduce school absenteeism, unburden health systems, fight poverty, increase gender parity, and improve maternal and child health — leading to productive communities and stronger economies.

4. A New Strategy for Controlling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

The United States remains the world’s leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. On September 19, Secretary Tillerson launched the new strategy that will guide PEPFAR’s work through 2020.

This strategy continues the U.S. Government’s efforts in more than 50 countries, while accelerating progress toward controlling the epidemic in 13 of them. It commits to maintaining life-saving antiretroviral treatment, making essential services like HIV testing more accessible, and providing more services for orphans and vulnerable children.

USAID and global partners also announced a breakthrough pricing agreement that will accelerate the availability of the first affordable, generic single-pill HIV treatment regimen in countries where much of the epidemic is concentrated.

As Secretary Tillerson notes, “We want to look back together and recognize that it was here, at this point in time, that our accelerated focus led to a world free of HIV/AIDS. We are proud to partner with many others in this endeavor.”

5. Funding Announcement: Reaffirming Our Commitment to the Iraqi People

Administrator Green also announced $264 million in additional U.S. Government humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq. We’re proud to be the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and we remain committed to supporting its people. 

With this new assistance, the United States is providing additional emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, hygiene kits, improved sanitation, emergency shelter, basic health care and medicines, and protection for Iraqis who have been displaced.

Many of those returning home face a host of challenges, including ongoing violence and the loss of their homes and livelihoods.

In our support, we are committed to empowering communities in Iraq to stand on their own so they can have a growing economy, stability, and prosperity.

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared in USAID's "2030: Ending Extreme Poverty in this Generation" publication on Medium.com.

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