Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Canada’s Prime Minster Justin Trudeau spoke at an event in New York this week hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Called Goalkeepers, the gathering was meant to accelerate world progress at a time when the United States is reconsidering its global commitments.
CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.
He’s not president anymore but as far as a recent crowd was concerned, Barack Obama, is still a goalkeeper.
‘Goalkeepers’ is a Bill and Melinda Gates project combating world poverty, infectious diseases and inequality. Obama was all-in.
“Even if at the current moment the federal government is not as engaged in these efforts as I would like, nevertheless progress continues because of the efforts of people like Bill and that gives me confidence,” Obama, former U.S. President, said.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau is a goalkeeper, too. Trudeau believes support for women is one of the best ways to make the world a better place.
“Empowering grassroots women’s organizations – in developing world communities – is the best lever to having a real transformative impact,” Trudeau said.
The event launched what will become an annual report on sustainable development goals set by the UN back in 2015.
Every year until 2030, the Goalkeepers report will publish data tracking progress made by U.N. member countries in 18 different areas. It’s a portrait of the world in numbers and things appear to be looking up.
“By just about every measure America is better and the world is better than it was 50 years ago, 30 years ago or even 10 years ago,” said Obama.
While the path to progress remains steep, Gates says people also need to be reminded how much has been achieved already.
“Sometimes that purely – purely negative side of the story gets told but you lose something very important if you only look at it that way. You lose the optimism about what’s possible and you lose the information,” said Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Child mortality has been cut by more than half since 1990 and the percentage of people living under the global poverty line has dropped from 35 percent in 1990 to 9 percent in 2016.
The goalkeepers report was three years in the making so its release wasn’t timed as a response to the rise of Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ worldview, but it does address donor fatigue at a time when Trump is considering a 25 percent cut to global health spending. And it looks at the dire impact a pull-back on spending would have on the progress that has been made over the past 25 years.
The Gates Foundation hopes the U.S. Congress won’t approve Trump’s budget. If it does, global health experts warn the HIV/AIDS pandemic could come roaring back.
Yinuo Li talks about China’s role in global health development
CGTN’s Karina Huber spoke with Yinuo Li. She is a director at the Gates Foundation. She oversees a team working with China’s public, private and nonprofit sectors to address key domestic and global health issues.