In addition to the many, many heads of states, political movers, corporate CEOs and aid - development - environmental - religious luminaries present -- I nearly walked right into Jesse Jackson in a hallway, and of course Bill Clinton is liable to be around almost any corner at almost any moment -- there's a bit of Hollywood glamour in the house: Brad and Angelina, both increasingly involved in African aid and development. (The key to spotting Brad? Forget the blond look -- his hair's jet black now. Can't personally attest to Angelina.) Heard that Barbra Streisand was here yesterday, too.
[13:10 ET: Have seen Angelina -- gorgeously understated in a perfect black suit. ]
Okay, on to the matter at hand: so far participants at the Clinton Global Initiative have logged over 100 commitments, with hard fiscal commitments worth over $500 million -- although of course in some cases it's hard to calculate the dollar worth of a particular promise. It's really striking how diverse the approaches are -- and how they bridge the conferences stated tracks to achieve major progress in development, climate change, governance, and religious reconciliation. Here are just a few of the ongoing flood of programs, initiatives and investments being announced:
Starbucks, in partnership with Conservation International and American Wildlife Foundation, will sharply increase coffee purchases under its Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices (C.A.F.E.) program -- a suite of environmental, social and economic guidelines for coffee buying -- to include a majority of all green coffee purchases annually. Essentially, the company is promising that much more of the coffee it sources from these providers will be grown in ways that enhance the environment and wildlife preservation. The goal is "to work with coffee farmers to ensure high-quality coffee and promote equitable relationships with farmers, workers and communities, as well as to protect the environment." An intriguing part of this commitment is that an accountability mechanism is already in place: Starbucks already works with a third-party evaluation and certification firm to ensure that its actions under the C.A.F.E. Practices live up to the program's stated goals.
1,000 Congregations for Climate: The Regeneration Project commits to getting 1,000 U.S. congregations to join their program as new members and to two new state energy programs in the next year. They'll have taken one or more actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions -- including adopting energy efficient appliances, giving sermons on global warning, and providing educational forums and materials to congregations about global warming.
BBC/BBC World Service Trust, with several media partners from both the west and Africa, and the backing of the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), announced the immediate launch of The African Media Development Initiative to increase the resources, duration, and scale of media development in Africa. The five-year project will assess needs and then work to implement legal frameworks which support a free and divergently opinioned press; provide training to journalists and post-training support; and advocate policies with key stakeholders to establish and protect free and independent media. Besides the DFID, donors include the Canadian Development Agency, Norwegian Office of Reconstruction and Development, the Gates Foundation, and the Kaiser Foundation, the International Business Leaders Forum, and the NEPAD Business Group.
We're looking forward to major headway on the road to 30000 win-win action projects for making poverty history, first forecast as the net's much needed contribution for 21st C humanity back in 1984