Friday, September 22, 2006

The Clinton summit continues to shine

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton secured nearly $2 billion in commitments on Wednesday during meetings which took place on the sideline of the United Nations general assembly.

This is the second year that president Clinton has invited world leaders, business leaders and other prominent individuals seeking their commitment and inspiring action in his Clinton Global Initiative.

The CGI is attempting to tackle a variety of global problems after brainstorming with some of the world's richest and most influential people.

The pledges to combat illness, poverty, religious and ethnic conflict and climate change were made during the first day of the second annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York, which last year raised a total $2.5 billion over three days.

When some of the world's best brains come together in order to discuss crucial issues pertaining to the development of the planet and to identify innovative solutions for the big problems of humanity, it opens the path to real progress.

Among those helping generate ideas and money at the summit were billionaire businessmen Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Richard Branson and 50 current and former heads of state, along with entertainer Barbra Streisand.

One of the first to make a pledge this year came from US First Lady Laura Bush who announced a major commitment from the US government and two private foundations to bring clean water to sub-Saharan Africa.

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson (in image) pledged to commit $3 billion over the next 10 years to help combat global warming. All profits from the airline and rail businesses of the Virgin Group (that he founded) would be spent on combating global warming, he said.

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