Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Clinton Global Initiative heads to Hong Kong

There's a meeting here, a meeting there. We tell you about quite a few meetings on the News Blog.

But most of these meetings are a lot of talk and no action. Sometimes there is a pledge for action, but no one is held to their pledge. We are seeing that all too clearly now.

Former US President Bill Clinton had that same frustration while he served as President. That's why with his Clinton Global Initiative the meetings go a step further.

Clinton insists that no one attend the meetings unless they pledge to aid the poor. If that promise isn't kept, they cant come back for the next meeting.

After years of holding Global Initiative talks in New York, they now expand to Asia. Reuters Michelle Nichols details a press conference that the former President held to announce the Hong Kong meeting.

Bill Clinton says the global financial crisis likely will hurt fundraising at his first philanthropic summit in Asia, but the former U.S. president still hopes to encourage a culture of giving in the region.

His Clinton Global Initiative is a summit that gathers heads of state, celebrities, business leaders and humanitarians in a bid to tackle issues of poverty, energy and climate change, healthcare and education.

Four annual meetings have been held so far in New York where nearly 1,200 pledges have been made to take action worth $46 billion aimed at improving more than 200 million lives in 150 countries.

While continuing to hold annual meetings in New York, the initiative is also branching out to Asia and will hold a summit in Hong Kong on December 2-3 to address the region's problems in education, energy and climate change and public health.

"Yes there will be some problems with the economy probably, but I hope that the exercise will serve to swell the ranks of nongovernmental action throughout Asia," Clinton told a news teleconference.

"It may cut down on how much money we can raise but I'm not so concerned about that right now," he said. "The main thing I am trying to do is increase this feeling of civil society."

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