Were you one of the millions—or billions—who tuned in to watch President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday? If so, and you also happen to be one of several thousand New Security Beat
readers, your ears probably perked up at this paragraph in his inaugural address
“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.”
Development practitioners and advocates are tickled pink that President Obama saw fit to mention their issues in such a prominent forum. They’re not resting on their laurels, though: ONE launched an e-mail campaign asking supporters to thank President Obama for his commitment to international development and urge him to include funding for it in his first presidential budget request.
Meanwhile, WaterAid America released a statement saying it “welcomes the mention of clean water in Obama’s speech and stands ready to support the commitment made by the new President in his first day of office. Along with other NGOs, WaterAid America has been encouraging the new administration to recognize the importance of clean water and sanitation and to take a lead to end the years of political neglect of these vital services.”
Although Obama did not mention family planning and reproductive health in his speech, population experts are also trying hard to ensure their recommendations are heard by the new administration.