Peace and Development







  • Eighty-four years ago in this city, Woodrow Wilson spoke of war and peace to a joint session of Congress. “What we demand” he said, “is that the world be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice, and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world. All peoples are partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.”
  • Our challenge, as we go forward to the Monterrey Conference and beyond, is to persuade political leaders that marginalization must end; why justice must be done to others if it is to be done to us; why all peoples are partners in this interest.
  • We will not create that better and safer world with bombs or brigades alone. We will not win the peace until we have the foresight, the courage, and the political will to redefine the war.
  • We must recognize that – while there is social injustice on a global scale, both between states and within them; while the fight against poverty is barely begun in too many parts of the world; while the link between progress in development and progress toward peace is not recognized – we may win a battle against terror but we will not conclude a war that will yield enduring peace.
  • Poverty is our greatest long-term challenge. Grueling, mind-numbing poverty – which snatches hope and opportunity away from young hearts and dreams just when they should take flight and soar.
  • Poverty – which takes the promise of a whole life ahead and stunts it into a struggle for day-to-day survival.
  • Poverty – which together with its handmaiden, hopelessness, can lead to exclusion, anger, and even conflict.
  • Poverty – which does not itself necessarily lead to violence but which can provide a breeding ground for the ideas of those who promote conflict and terror.
  • On September 11, the crisis of Afghanistan came to Wall Street, to the Pentagon, and to a field in Pennsylvania. And the imaginary wall that divided the rich world from the poor world came crashing down.
  • Belief in that wall, and in those separate and separated worlds, has for too long allowed us to view as normal a world where less than 20% of the population – the rich countries in which we are today – dominates the world’s wealth and resources and takes 80% of its dollar income.
  • Belief in that wall has too long allowed us to view as normal a world where every minute a woman dies in childbirth.
  • Belief in that wall has allowed us for too long to view the violence, disenfranchisement, and inequality in the world as the problem of poor, weak countries and not our own.
  • There is no wall. There are not two worlds. There is only one.
  • There is no wall. We are linked by trade, investment, finance, by travel and communications, by disease, by crime, by migration, by environmental degradation, by drugs, by financial crises, and by terror.
  • Only our mindsets continue to shore up that wall; we are too set in our ways, too complacent, or too frightened to face reality without it.
  • It is time to tear down that wall, to recognize that in this unified world poverty is our collective enemy. Poverty is the war we must fight. We must fight it because it is morally and ethically repugnant. We must fight it because it is in the self-interest of the rich to join the struggle. We must fight it because its existence is like a cancer – weakening the whole of the body, not just the parts that are directly affected.
  • And we need not fight blindly. For we already have a vision of what the road to victory could look like.
  • Last year, at a summit held at the United Nations, more than 140 world leaders agreed to launch a campaign to attack poverty on a number of fronts.
  • Together, we agreed to support the Millennium Development Goals. By 2015, we said, we will: Halve the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day; Ensure that boys and girls alike complete primary schooling; Eliminate gender disparity at all levels of education; Reduce child mortality by two-thirds; Reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters; Roll-back HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; Halve the proportion of people without access to safe water; And develop a global partnership for development.
  • How could anyone take issue with these goals? How could anyone refuse to stand up and say that for my children and my children’s children, I want that better world?
  • And yet, there are those who legitimately ask: Can we win a war against poverty? And if we can’t be sure, should we wager our resources?
  • To these people I would ask: Can we afford to lose? How much are we prepared to commit to preserve our children’s future? What is the price we are willing to pay to make progress in our life time toward a better world?
  • We have learned that policies imposed from London or Washington will not work. Countries must be in charge of their own development. Policies must be locally owned and locally grown.
  • We have learned that any effort to fight poverty must be comprehensive. There is no magic bullet that alone will slay poverty. But we know too that there are conditions that foster capacity of the country: Good and clean government; An effective legal and justice system, and; A well-organized and supervised financial system.
  • We have learned that corruption, bad policies, and weak governance will make aid ineffective, and that country-led programs to fight corruption can succeed.
  • We have learned that debt-reduction for the most highly indebted poor countries is a crucial element in putting countries back on their feet, and that the funds released can be used effectively for poverty programs.
  • We have learned that we must focus on the conditions for investment and entrepreneurship, particularly for smaller enterprises and farms. But that is not enough for pro-poor growth. We must also promote investment in people, empowering them to make their own choices.
  • We have learned that development is about the long haul, reaching beyond political cycles or quick fixes – for the surest foundation for long-term change is social consensus for long-term action.
  • What is it that leaders in rich countries should do? First they must assist developing countries to build their own capacity in government, in business, and in their communities at large.
  • Second, they must move forward on trade openness, recognizing that without market access poor countries cannot fulfill their potential no matter how well they improve their policies.
  • Third, rich nations must take action to cut agricultural subsidies – subsidies that rob poor countries of markets for their products.
  • Fourth, rich countries must recognize that even with action on trade or agricultural subsidies, there is still a fundamental need to boost resources for developing countries.
  • We estimate that it will take on the order of an additional $40 to $60 billion a year to reach the Millennium Development Goals – roughly a doubling of current aid flows – to roughly 0.5% of GNP, still well below the 0.7% target agreed to by global leaders years ago.
  • Contrast that with the fact that today the world’s leading industrial nations provide nearly 90% of the multibillion dollar arms trade – arms that are contributing to the very conflicts that all of us profess to deplore, and that we must spend additional monies to suppress.
  • Let me repeat: We should do it because it is ethically right; We should do it because it will make a better, more understanding, more dynamic, and indeed more prosperous world for our children and our children’s children; We should do it because it will increase the security of all of us, rich and poor; We know that disease, the environment, financial crises, and even terror do not recognize national boundaries; We know that imaginary walls will not protect us.
  • If we want to build long-term peace, if we want stability for our economies, if we want to build that better and safer world, fighting poverty must be part of national and international security.
  • I do not underestimate the challenge of securing an extra $50 billion for development. But I know, as do many others, that this is the place to put our money. The conquest of poverty is indeed the quest for peace.
  • I believe there is a sea change since September 11th. People everywhere are beginning to recognize: That military solutions to terror are not enough; That people must be given hope; That we must build an inclusive global community; That we must make globalization stand for humanity, not for commercial brands or competitive advantage.
  • My friends: For centuries, we have focused on issues of war and peace. We have built armies and honed strategies. Today we fight a different kind of world.
  • A world where violence does not stop at borders; a world where communications sheds welcome light on global inequities; where what happens in one part of the world affects another.
  • Inclusion, a sense of security, empowerment, anti-corruption: These must be our weapons of the future.
  • I believe we have a greater chance today, than perhaps at any other time in the last 50 years, to win that war and forge that new partnership for peace.
  • Together, we must persuade finance ministers that when they discuss their budgets, together with defense and domestic spending, they must give equal weight to international spending.
  • But we must go further. We must change the mindsets that build walls.
  • Across the world, we must educate our children to be global citizens with global responsibilities. We must celebrate diversity, not fear it. We must build curricula around understanding, not suspicion; around inclusion, not hate. We must tell our children to dare to be different – international, intercultural, interactive, global.
  • We must do better with the next generation than we have done with our own.


Let me end, as I began, with the words of Woodrow Wilson – words that reach out across cultural and national divides: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you imp

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