Action Required: CGI Annual Meeting 2009

The 5th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting (CGI) wraps up today, leaving in its wake a list of new commitments to solve the world’s most pressing problems. The event is structured to spark action – boasting discussions, not presentations, and requiring results. Former president and meeting host Bill Clinton states, “If you don’t make a commitment or you make one and don’t keep it, you don’t get to come back. That’s what started it, that’s what makes it run.”

The results of the initiative to-date prove the effectiveness of this model: $46 billion in funding has been directed toward causes such as education, climate change and healthcare since the CGI inception in 2005.

Cross-sector collaboration is the other key tenant of the CGI. This year, a record 960 attendees representing 84 countries took part, including heads of state, celebrities and nonprofit and corporate leaders – a true Who’s Who of cross-sector leaders and dignitaries with personal passion for societal solutions. The media buzz alone surrounding the event helped spur action by attracting attention and notable donors to important causes. This year’s event focused on harnessing innovation for development, strengthening infrastructure, building human capital and financing equitable sustainable future. For the first time, the event also focused on narrowing the gender gap.

Action speaks loudly. As President Obama stressed during his kickoff speech, “You can't just be an advocate of someone else doing it, preach lofty goals and wait for someone else to act. You have to step up." Could his words hold true for G-20 Summit leaders gathering this weekend in Pittsburgh?


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