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Speeches: New Frontiers in Understanding and Addressing Corruption

(As delivered)

International Anti-Corruption Day


Thank you very much for the kind introduction, Sarah. It is a pleasure to be here today.

Just eleven years ago, the UN General Assembly designated this calendar date as International Anti-Corruption Day.

International and national anti-corruption efforts have moved dramatically and have seen a lot of progress in a short time – particularly in the establishment of international norms. But we must do more.

Today, I’d like to explain why anti-corruption remains a priority – and a national security concern for the U.S. government – and to outline how we can combat corruption in a more tailored, integrated, and effective way.

I should also explain my own perspective is a bit unique. The “J” U/S handles policy and programs on issues such as terrorism, refugees, security sector reform, human rights, and preventing conflict. Part of what makes us, “J” different is our focus on how U.S. foreign policy affects people as much as we look at foreign policy as pertains to governments. And corruption is an issue that gravely affects global citizens, in addition to undermining the international economy, regional security and good governance. So our J perspective starts from the premise that corruption is a populist scourge, and that securing human rights and personal safety and opportunity for all necessarily entails combating corruption. The more I understand about the challenges that J bureaus and offices face in their work, the more clearly I see corruption as an endemic threat that weaves throughout what would otherwise be disparate efforts, eroding the trust, efficiency, and justice that healthy societies require.

We all know corruption is bad. I’ll disaggregate three different negative effects: 1) its impact on human development; 2) on economic vibrancy; and 3) on security. As the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, I will highlight insecurity as perhaps corruption’s most underappreciated feature (although one that Sarah Chayes is doing much to highlight).

The Problem of Corruption

Human Development and Human Rights Impact

When politicians steal public funds rather than spend them appropriately, schools go without books, patients go without medicine, merchants go without bridges and roads.

The African Union estimates that one-quarter of Africa’s GDP is lost every year due to corruption – dramatically increasing levels of poverty in an already heartbreakingly poor region.

In just the health sector, World Bank surveys show that in some countries up to 80 percent of non-salary funds never reach local facilities. Then, when crises like Ebola hit, there is little institutional capability to address it.

Graft frays the fabric of the social contract, undermining attempts by government to assert legitimacy or establish democracy.

Corruption is also the glue that holds many authoritarian regimes together, giving rulers the ability to divide spoils, and the opportunity to out the “dirt” on cronies when convenient or if they turn disloyal.

Corruption leaves average citizens vulnerable.

When their rights are effectively are up for sale, laws to protect people – to halt human trafficking, hate crimes, and gender-based violence – go unenforced.

We see this, for example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where victims of crime, including sexual violence, have little access to the justice system and, even when they do, they often find that perpetrators are likely to simply “buy” their way out of prosecution. The U.S. government is supporting mobile courts in the DRC to make justice more accessible in rural areas, but this intervention will not be able to succeed if corruption in the court system persists.

Economic Impact

The impact of corruption on growth, competition, and innovation is similarly well documented.

When companies have to pay bribes to cut through red tape it actually incentivizes the creation of more red tape, slowing transaction times and raising business expenses.

In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that around the world, corruption adds an average of up to 10% to the cost of doing business.

Corruption has a particularly harmful effect on the many American companies that play by the rules, supported by robust enforcement here at home.

When our businesses go to compete overseas, corruption robs them of a level playing field.

If a public procurement decision in Russia is made not on the basis of merit but on the basis of bribery, then our companies will either stay home or lose the bid.

That affects our economy and puts pressure on our businesses to cut corners.

It also means that the Russian consumer loses out – receiving a substandard product because the contractor spent overhead on a bribe instead of on workmanship. “Shared prosperity,” the goal of the international economic system in its truest form, requires a shared commitment to transparent rule-based economies that work in the best interest of citizens, the United States and our partners overseas.

Part of this commitment is about protecting our own financial systems from harboring stolen assets. Proceeds of corruption are often sheltered in banks or shell corporations in Western Europe and the U.S. These ill-gotten gains frequently are used to prop up unaccountable regimes or finance terrorism.

We are working with our partners, especially at the G20, to guarantee that our financial systems are not havens for stolen assets. It has become easier to trace how corruption erodes democracy and eats away at prosperity.

We now have several tools, such as the World Bank and UN measures of corruption’s impact on development, the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Reports, NGOs like Transparency International that document corruption’s impact on freedom and accountability, and institutions like the OECD that quantify corruption’s impact on business.

But corruption has other impacts, perhaps more difficult to measure but no less insidious.

Security Impact

It turns out that corruption is even more dangerous than we thought.

Corruption alienates and angers citizens, which can cause them to lose faith in the state, or, worse, fuel insurgencies and violent extremism.

Examples abound. In Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to exploit public discontent with corruption to garner support.

In Iraq, disillusionment with the government – including its corruption – creates fertile soil for ISIL to exploit. Just last week, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi discovered that 50,000 “ghost soldiers” were listed on the government payroll, costing Iraqis approximately $380 million a year.

Citizens feel betrayed by these scams, indirectly because their taxes and resources are enriching nominal “public servants” but also directly because they do not receive the security and protection they both finance and require.

Take the example of Nigeria, where corruption has hollowed out the national military, leaving soldiers underfed, underpaid, and unable to defend citizens against internal threats such as Boko Haram.

The cost is grave: In 2014 alone, Boko Haram has killed more than 4,000 people and displaced some 1.5 million. It has declared an Islamic Caliphate in northeast Nigeria and taken the reins of governance in some communities. While the United States is working with Nigerian partners to confront this threat and prevent atrocities,that work is much harder to do because of corruption’s corrosive effects on the military.

Transparency International has found that many countries have weak controls over defense procurement, risking similarly debilitating outcomes.

The challenge of corruption cuts deeply across the security sector. For example, countless police turn the other way at checkpoints, and customs officials turn the other way at borders – all in exchange for bribes. This paves the way for drug cartels, terrorists, and other international security threats.

Consider that in the wake of the Westgate attack in Kenya, police arrested and detained suspected Al Shabab terrorists. But according to Human Rights Watch, suspects could quickly buy their release by paying a bribe of approximately $100.

In this way, corruption can enable local threats that have broader implications for security around the globe.

Corruption also complicates post-conflict peacebuilding, because those who profited from the war economy are best placed to win political power and, through corruption, continue serving their narrow interests. Ukraine provides another illustration of how corruption can both increase instability risks and cripple the state’s ability to respond to those risks.

The Maidan Movement was driven in part by resentment of a kleptocratic regime parading around in democratic trappings. Corruption had drained service delivery, scared off investment, and crippled the justice system. Businesses and even foreign countries had for years bought and bribed their way into political influence over Ukrainian legislative and procurement decisions.

And as public frustration boiled, Russian interference escalated.

Security institutions that were needed to fend off Russian aggression struggled to mount an adequate defense. They had been weakened by years of graft, rendering them ineffective.

Nigeria and Ukraine are not just cautionary tales – they are wakeup calls for the international community. That is why our embassies in two dozen countries in central and Eastern Europe are currently drafting action plans for supporting and cooperating on anti-corruption reform in their host country.

Corruption is not just an affront to American values; Left unaddressed, corruption in distant lands can cut to the heart of our national security. Yet I’m unaware of any security organizations that systematically monitor corruption. The international community is only starting to grapple with the seriousness of corruption’s destabilizing security impact.

Preventing and Responding to Corruption

So that’s the disaggregation of three different impacts of corruption, and it’s clear that the challenge is extremely important. It’s also clear that addressing this challenge comprehensively is really tough. I think it’s worth underscoring both the range of tools that we have and some of the concrete impact that we can see as a result of our efforts.

At the State Department, our Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement works on corruption along with bureaus that handle economics, energy, and human rights, and together State collaborates with USAID, Treasury, the Department of Justice, Interior, and Commerce – each of which brings specialized tools to the table.

  • We leverage international conventions, pressing governments to implement the commitments they have made to combatting corruption.
  • We include anti-corruption provisions in free trade agreements and apply financial sanctions to protect U.S. markets from the stability and liability risks of harboring the proceeds of corruption.
  • We enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which since 2009 has generated around $3 billion in penalties and convictions against more than 50 individuals, including high-level executives.
  • At the State Department, we use our visa sanction authority in a nonpolitical manner to deny entry to corrupt leaders. Recently, we denied visas to six Hungarian officials and their cronies due to corruption. This action also bolstered public concern, and on November 9th, the streets of Budapest filled with 10,000 protesters who called for the resignation of corrupt public officials.
  • We provide at least $600 million dollars a year to build the capacity of foreign governments to combat corruption, largely through strengthening law enforcement mechanisms.
  • We support independent civil society organizations so that they can press their governments to prevent and combat corruption, such as the Czech Republic, where 20 NGOs banded together to form an anti-corruption coalition, supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Embassy.
  • The United States is co-chairing the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group with Turkey, in an effort to drive a “race to the top” on issues like beneficial ownership, which would require companies to identify the actual person who owns or controls them, in line with the President’s recent proposed legislation on beneficial ownership.

We are also proud to have helped launch the Open Government Partnership in September 2011, bringing global civil society and governments from 65 countries together to strengthen their internal, vertical relationships of accountability between governments and their citizenry at home.

  • Two-thirds of these countries have included commitments to anti-corruption or whistleblower protection in the latest round of OGP National Action Plans, each of which were developed through a consultative process between governments and civil society.
  • And today we are helping prevent corruption in the oil, gas, and mining sectors by supporting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and implementing our own commitments domestically.

Our efforts have impact.

  • We’ve supported the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, and three months ago, both the Director and Deputy Director of the Guatemalan Penitentiary System were arrested for receiving bribes in return for prisoner transfers. They later were charged with money laundering and corruption.
  • In Nigeria and Sierra Leone, we are supporting civil society and government leaders to participate in civic code-a-thon events that have generated new open government tools, such as an infographic in Nigeria that clearly explained, in simple terms, the proposed federal budget.
  • And in the country of Georgia, the government is following through on its OGP commitments to combat corruption by making political party financing transparent and developing an online system for government procurement.

These are just a few examples of the impact we are able to have. But given the complexity and entrenchment of corruption in many countries, the United States must become more focused, more creative, and more collaborative as we continue working to enhance our anti-corruption impact.

First, what does it mean to become more focused?

In the past year, the United States government has developed interagency mechanisms to foster better unity of effort across the different entities that are working on anti-corruption efforts so that we can come together to determine where we should be better prioritizing our anti-corruption resources toward countries where corruption poses a risk to U.S. interests, and where we are likely to have impact.

Applying this prioritized approach will require integrating a range of tools targeted at a range of actors – a comprehensive “soup-to-nuts” approach that hits enough nodes of corruption to generate real momentum for action.

For instance, in areas of Central America, one cannot just address police corruption without also looking at corruption in other elements of the justice system such as judges and prisons  and even politics.

Otherwise, “islands of integrity” that we build up in the police force will quickly be washed away by the tide of corruption in other parts of the ecosystem.

Applying a comprehensive approach to focus countries means continuing to mainstream consideration of corruption into all of our development and security programming, so that what we don’t necessarily identify as anti-corruption efforts are nonetheless reinforcing efforts that go by the name of anti-corruption. This approach was first laid out in USAID’s 2005 Anticorruption Strategy. We can do more to better implement that.

In Mozambique, USAID’s health program is increasing access to clean water – and as an example of what it means to layer your anti-corruption efforts, they are simultaneously building up civil society by putting community groups in charge of governing the wells. While it does not guarantee that there cannot be corruption, residents are better equipped to deliver community goods.

We will continue pressing for anti-corruption synergies across our efforts, including expanding consideration of corruption in our security partnerships.

Second, what does it mean to adopt creative approaches to anti-corruption? First, you have to tailor them to the local context. You can’t just take best practices and drop them into point B because they worked in point A. You also need to emphasize anti-corruption law enforcement by working on the prevention pieces, so that you’re not just relying on after-the-fact prosecution.

So, as you think about what it means to prevent corrupt acts in the broader web of commerce and government, consider such questions as what would make a DMV employee decide not to demand “a little extra” in exchange for a driver’s license?

It might be streamlining the process of getting a license, so there are fewer discretionary transactions to be tampered with in the first place. Estonia has pioneered this model, developing e-governance tools that made government operations more transparent and accountable to civil society, business the media and, most importantly, Estonian citizens.

Or creativity might demand that public employees are adequately compensated for their work at the outset.

If they can make ends meet from their salaries, they are less likely to demand a bribe.

But boosting transparency remains the cornerstone of prevention – helping people understand what the actual rules are so that they cannot be misled between what is actually a real fee, and what is a bribe demanded on the spot.

In Nepal, a wiki platform supported by the NGO the Accountability Lab crowd-sources information on topics like how to get a birth certificate or driver’s license to help ensure that Nepalis can demand proper procedures as they enter into transactions, and that government employees know they will be held accountable if they break the rules.

Websites like I_Paid_A_Bribe.com go one step further – enabling citizens in India to shed light on first-hand experiences of corruption to help track graft at local agencies.

Simple, transparent, procedures have a dual benefit. Not only dothey make government more efficient, they restrict opportunities for corruption.

Third, way in which I think the U.S. government will continue to evolve its anti-corruption efforts is through partnerships, both inside and outside government.

Tackling corruption demands support from civil society as well as multilateral partners simply because the problem is so complex and the solutions must be so long term. Therefore even as we work to boost anti-corruption programming funds at State and USAID, we are exploring how to increase collaboration with the private sector and multilateral development banks to expand our impact.

Also, in the coming year we plan to launch experimental “Anti-Corruption University” – an initiative that will involve exchanges between our diplomats and universities and NGOs around the world.

Because ultimately, no one nation can do this work alone.

All in all, we have a diverse toolkit that we are striving to apply more strategically. Yet, the biggest factor in the success or failure of U.S. efforts remains something largely out of our control, and that is the extent to which foreign government officials choose to support increased accountability or work to block it.

In the end, it remains a question of political will. Vice President Biden recently asked the question why Plan Colombia worked. He concluded that it was not just because the United States invested $9 billion dollars in it – or because Colombia invested $36 billion dollars in it. More fundamentally, it was about the political will that Colombia invested in that process, which included more transparent and accountable governance.

Political will means that those brought up on anti-corruption charges are the biggest violators, not just the biggest political rivals. The success of anti-corruption efforts in countries like China depends on ensuring that these efforts do not become politicized.

The central role of political will to the anti-corruption fight explains why it is so critical now to identify and support political openings when they emerge.

New leaders elected on a platform of anti-corruption reform can change the tide if they make good on their commitments, such as President Ghani in Aghanistan, President Jokowi in Indonesia, Prime Minister Modi in India. We will assess whether or not their efforts in office will meet their campaign pledges to boldly address corruption.

We must accelerate our partnerships with these reform-minded leaders when these strategic windows of opportunity open up.

The United States cannot create or control reformist leadership, but we can be ready to support it on behalf of people whose lives will be profoundly affected by the restoration of trust, efficiency, and justice.


Since the establishment of International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, many international fora have emerged and many commitments have been made to fight graft.

The UN Convention Against Corruption now encompasses 173 countries.

Regional bodies like the African Union have affirmed the UN’s standards in conventions of their own.

In the Americas, the OAS’ peer review mechanism for the world’s first anti-corruption convention, the Inter American Convention Against Corruption, is now well regarded and respected.

Indeed, we have near-universal consensus on the norms for how governments should control corruption.

That is a very important step.

But it is easy to become self-congratulatory about laws and words.

The problem before us is addressing the implementation gap in applying these.

The impact of corruption on our own national security and the security of civilians around the world calls us to act. The United States will work with likeminded partners toward a more focused, creative, and collaborative approach to combating corruption.

I’d like to end with an adage from Liberia that has actually emerged in response to the description of collective action against corruption, and it sums up the international challenge well:

“One straw of a broom can easily snap when trying to clean up the dirt; but when all the straws of the broom work together, we can clean the house.”

Thank you for being here. I’ll now turn to Sarah Chayes and we can open the floor up for questions.

UN Pledging Conference sees new funds announced for fight against poverty

12 Nov 2014

18 countries commit 97 million dollars for UN Development Programme

New York City – 12 November 2014 – 26 UN Member States have pledged approximately US$ 650 million to go towards UN development work, mostly for 2015, with US$97 million destined for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Nick Hartmann, Director of UNDP’s Partnership Group, speaking at the Conference on behalf of UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, welcomed the announcements of funding for the organization’s ‘regular’ or ‘core’ resources, referring to non-earmarked funding that can be used at UNDP’s discretion to respond to emerging needs of countries.

Core funding was the “bedrock”, he said, of UNDP’s ability to sustain its multilateral and universal character, ensuring that resources and activities are available to support all eligible countries, with a distribution to primarily low-income and least developed countries.

Noting that many of UNDP’s contributors had gone to great lengths to maintain their funding despite a challenging financial environment, he nonetheless emphasized the “continuing downward trend” UNDP faces.

In spite of this, more Member States had begun contributing to UNDP, with the total number rising from 50 to 56 in 2013. This was a welcome development that UNDP would continue to nurture.

Additionally, non-core resources remained stable at US$3.98 billion in 2012 and US$3.93 billion in 2013.

Thanking Member States for their contribution, Hartmann pointed to UNDP’s responsibility as the custodian of funds entrusted to it. With this in mind, he noted that the organization had been ranked first amongst all bilateral and multilateral development agencies, as reflected in the independent Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index.

In tandem with non-core resources, Member States’ contributions last year allowed UNDP to target the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

Some highlights of UNDP’s results in 2013 include:

• 43 million new voters registered in 68 supported countries. 96 million people voted in UNDP-assisted elections, 41% of which were women.
• Over 4 million people in 117 countries, 40 of which were affected by conflict, had improved access to justice and legal aid, 49% of which were women.
• 3.5 million people in 12 countries benefited from access to modern energy services from 2,900 rural energy enterprises.
• Carbon dioxide equivalent-emissions were reduced by 116–142 million tonnes, the equivalent of 30–37 coal fired power stations, in 32 countries.
• UNDP helped 25 countries establish or strengthen disaster early warning systems and has now assisted 45 countries with establishing disaster management agencies.
• Finally, 617,000 people benefited from emergency employment schemes established by UNDP; and over 193,000 small businesses were created with UNDP’s support in post-conflict countries.

Countries that announced pledges at the Conference were: Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, India, Luxembourg, Turkey, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Singapore, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Samoa, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Djibouti.

Contact Information

Dylan Lowthian
Communications Analyst, UNDP Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy
Email: dylan.lowthian@undp.org
Tel: +1 (212) 906-5516

2014 Leaders’ Declaration

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 11, 2014

The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Declaration – Beijing Agenda for an Integrated, Innovative and Interconnected Asia-Pacific

1. We, the APEC Leaders, gathered by Yanqi Lake in Beijing for the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Under the theme of “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership”, we held substantial discussions on the priorities of advancing regional economic integration, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development with a view to expanding and deepening Asia-Pacific regional economic cooperation, and attaining peace, stability, development and common prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

2.The Asia-Pacific region has experienced a quarter of a century’s growth and development. APEC has not only made significant contributions to the region’s economic development, social progress and improvement of people’s livelihoods, but has also epitomized the great changes and rising strategic position of the Asia-Pacific. Through its unique approach featuring voluntary action, consensus, flexibility and pragmatism, APEC has successfully established a sound regional economic cooperation framework among member economies with remarkable diversity and at different stages of development. Adhering to the spirit of unity, mutual respect and trust, mutual assistance and win-win cooperation, we have been working to narrow the development gap among ourselves and have consistently promoted the robust, sustainable, balanced, inclusive and secure growth in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

3.After years of rapid development, the Asia-Pacific has become the most dynamic region of the world, and has never been as important as it is today in the global landscape. At present, the Asia-Pacific maintains a strong momentum of growth; it possesses an enormous potential and has a bright future. Yet it is also faced with risks and challenges.

4.We are at an important historical moment of building on past achievements and striving for new progress. We are committed to working together to shape the future through Asia-Pacific partnership, building an open economy in the Asia-Pacific featuring innovative development, interconnected growth, and shared interests, and consolidating the leading role of the Asia-Pacific in the world economy, with a goal of opening up new prospects for future cooperation and achieving common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

5.To achieve the above-mentioned goals, we pledge to take the following actions:

I.  Advancing Regional Economic Integration

Pursuing Free and Open Trade and Investment

6.We reiterate the value, centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system in promoting trade expansion, economic growth, job creation and sustainable development. We stand firmly together to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO.

7.We express our grave concern regarding the impasse in the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which has resulted in stalemate and uncertainties over other Bali decisions. These developments have affected the credibility of the WTO negotiating function. In finding solutions to the implementation of the Bali decisions, APEC will exert creative leadership and energy together with all WTO members in unlocking this impasse, putting all Bali decisions back on track, and proceeding with the formulation of Post-Bali Work Program, as a key stepping stone to concluding the Doha Round.

8.We reaffirm our pledges against all forms of protectionism. We extend our standstill commitment through the end of 2018 and reaffirm our commitment to roll back protectionist and trade-distorting measures. We remain committed to exercise maximum restraint in implementing measures that may be consistent with WTO provisions but have a significant protectionist effect, and to promptly rectifying such measures, where implemented.

9.We acknowledge that bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements can play an important role in complementing global trade liberalization initiatives. We will continue to work together to ensure that they contribute to strengthening the multilateral trading system. We underscore the importance of the negotiations to expand the product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). A final ITA expansion outcome should be commercially significant, credible, pragmatic, balanced, and reflective of the dynamic technological developments in the information technology sector over the last 17 years, and contribute to the multilateral trading system. We welcome APEC’s leadership in advancing the negotiations and call for swift resumption and conclusion of plurilateral negotiations in Geneva. We welcome the launch of negotiations on Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) in July 2014 in Geneva. We encourage participants of the above initiatives to seek expanded memberships.

10.We welcome the significant progress made toward achieving the Bogor Goals. We will make every effort to achieve the Bogor Goals by 2020. We also welcome the biennial Bogor Goals review this year. We urge all economies, particularly developed ones to deeply consider the conclusions of the Report on APEC’s 2010 Economies’ Progress towards the Bogor Goals and the 2012 and 2014 Bogor Goals Progress Report, and to take more concrete actions towards attaining the Bogor Goals.

11.Recognizing APEC has a critical role to play in shaping and nurturing regional economic integration, we agree that APEC should make more important and meaningful contributions as an incubator to translate the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) from a vision to reality. We reaffirm our commitment to the eventual FTAAP as a major instrument to further APEC’s regional economic integration agenda.

12.In this regard, we decide to kick off and advance the process in a comprehensive and systematic manner towards the eventual realization of the FTAAP, and endorse the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP (Annex A). Through the implementation of this Roadmap, we decide to accelerate our efforts on realizing the FTAAP on the basis of the conclusion of the ongoing pathways, and affirm our commitment to the eventual realization of the FTAAP as early as possible by building on ongoing regional undertakings, which will contribute significantly to regional economic integration, sustained growth and common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. We instruct Ministers and officials to undertake the specific actions and report the outcomes to track the achievements.

13.We welcome the establishment of a Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) Friends of the Chair Group on Strengthening Regional Economic Integration (REI) and Advancing FTAAP, and urge the Friends of the Chair Group to continue its work. We agree to launch a collective strategic study on issues related to the realization of the FTAAP, and instruct officials to undertake the study, consult stakeholders and report the result by the end of 2016.

14.We endorse the establishment of an APEC Information Sharing Mechanism on RTAs/FTAs. We highly commend the work on the implementation of the Action Plan Framework on Capacity Building Needs Initiatives (CBNI), and endorse the Action Plan Framework of the 2nd CBNI. We instruct officials to design targeted and tailor-made capacity building activities to narrow the gap of the capacities of APEC economies to facilitate the eventual realization of the FTAAP.

15.In addition to the above, we reaffirm the role of APEC in addressing next generation trade and investment issues and sectoral initiatives, and agree to accelerate “at the border” trade liberalization and facilitation efforts, improve the business environment “behind the border”, and enhance regional connectivity “across the border” to accumulate more building blocks for the realization of the FTAAP. Therefore, we:

— reaffirm our commitment to reduce applied tariffs to five percent or less by the end of 2015 on the list of environmental goods that we endorsed in 2012 in Vladivostok. We call upon all economies to redouble their efforts in order to realize the economic and environmental benefits. We will instruct officials to report progress in achieving this ground-breaking commitment at our meeting next year in the Philippines. We welcome the work on capacity building on Environmental Goods (EGs) commitment implementation;

— welcome the inaugural meeting of the APEC Public Private Partnership on Environmental Goods and Services (PPEGS) on renewable and clean energy trade and investment, and endorse the APEC Statement on Promoting Renewable and Clean Energy (RCE) Trade and Investment;

— welcome the progress onexploring products which could contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth as part of our concrete commitment to rural development and poverty alleviation;

— endorse the Action Agenda on Promoting Infrastructure Investment through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and instruct officials to take concrete actions to strengthen cooperation on PPP to promote more robust and sustainable infrastructure investment and development in the APEC region;

— welcome the Case Studies on Sustainable Investment in the APEC Region and encourage officials to consider and draw experience and good practices from the nominated cases to promote sustainable cross-border investment;

— endorse the APEC Cross Border E-Commerce Innovation and Development Initiative and encourage economies to designate or establish Research Centers of Cross-border E-commerce Innovation and Development on a voluntary basis;

— recognize that the effective protection and enforcement of IPR including trade secrets incentivizes and facilitates innovation and foreign direct investment and the dissemination of technology through licensing and partnerships;

— endorse the APEC Action Agenda on Advertising Standards and Practice Development to promote alignment of advertising standards and reduce the cost of doing business across the region;

— endorse the Asia-Pacific Region Automotive Industry Sustainable Development Declaration and welcome the outcomes of the 2014 APEC Regulatory Cooperation Advancement Mechanism (ARCAM) Dialogue on Electric Vehicle Standards. We welcome the APEC Actions to Promote the Widespread Usage of Electric Vehicles.

Advancing Global Value Chain Development and Supply Chain Connectivity

16.Recognizing that Global Value Chains (GVCs) have become a dominant feature of the global economy and offer new prospects for growth, competitiveness and job creation for APEC economies at all levels of development, we endorse the APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chain Development and Cooperation (Annex B). We welcome the progress made in the measurement of Trade in Value Added (TiVA), services, SMEs and GVCs resilience, etc., and instruct officials to advance the work through the CTI Friends of the Chair Group on GVC to put forward new initiatives under the Strategic Blueprint in 2015 and beyond.

17.We endorse the Strategic Framework on Measurement of APEC TiVA under GVCs and the Action Plan on this Strategic Framework. We instruct the newly-formed technical group to work closely with the WTO, OECD, the World Bank, UNCTAD and other related international organizations, with an aim to complete the construction of the APEC TiVA Database by 2018.

18.We endorse the Terms of Reference of Promoting SME’s Integration into GVCs, and welcome the launch of the related activities. We instruct officials to make efforts in advancing this work.

19.We welcome the commitment of APEC economies to move forward with the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, including the notification by many APEC developing economies of their category A TFA obligations. We welcome, as well, the progress this year in improving the performance of APEC supply chains through targeted, focused capacity building and technical assistance. In this regard, we applaud the establishment of the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity, which will contribute to our goal in achieving a ten percent improvement of supply chain performance by the end of 2015 and our broader supply chain connectivity objectives. We encourage economies to increase the resources of the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Sub-Fund to ensure that our capacity building and technical assistance projects succeed to meet our ten percent performance improvement goal and to further our trade facilitation objectives. 

20.We agree to establish the Asia-Pacific Model E-port Network (APMEN) and welcome the first batch of APEC Model E-ports nominated by the APEC economies. We endorse the Terms of Reference of the APMEN and agree to set up the APMEN operational center in the Shanghai Model E-port, and instruct officials to make further efforts to contribute to regional trade facilitation and supply chain connectivity.

21.We positively value the APEC High-level Roundtable on Green Development and its declaration, and agree to establish the APEC Cooperation Network on Green Supply Chain. We endorse the establishment of the first pilot center of APEC Cooperation Network on Green Supply Chain in Tianjin, China, and encourage other economics to establish the pilot centers and advance related work actively.

22.We endorse the APEC Customs 3M (Mutual Recognition of Control, Mutual Assistance of Enforcement and Mutual Sharing of Information) Strategic Framework. We instruct officials to further simplify and coordinate APEC customs procedures based on the 3M Framework to facilitate the development of regional trade. We encourage APEC members’ customs authorities to continue strengthening cooperation and coordination in pursuit of the 3M vision, to push forward comprehensive connectivity and make greater contributions to the sustainable development of trade and regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

23.We recognize that the use of standardized codes will enable information about traded goods to be easily understood and shared by all parties. We therefore encourage APEC economies to work with the private sector to promote further cooperation on global data standards and their wider use by developing pilot projects. 

24.We welcome the initiative on manufacturing related services in supply chains/value chains as a next generation trade and investment issue, and instruct officials to develop a plan of action in 2015.

Strengthening Economic and Technical Cooperation

25.We endorse the APEC Strategic Plan on Capacity Building to Promote Trade and Investment Agenda which adopts a strategic, goal-oriented and multi-year approach. We instruct officials to take the Strategic Plan as a guide to develop and implement more tailor-made capacity building programs that contribute to the core trade and investment liberalization and facilitation agenda of APEC.

26.We encourage economies, particularly developed economies, to provide more contributions to ECOTECH and capacity building, to achieve our goal of bridging development gaps, and help member economies to meet their APEC commitments and their economic growth objectives.

27.We welcome the initiative to upgrade the Asia Pacific Finance and Development Center (AFDC) to the Asia Pacific Finance and Development Institute (AFDI).

II. Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth

28.We realize that the prospects for the shared prosperity of APEC will depend on innovative development, economic reform and growth in the region, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing. We recognize that the Asia-Pacific region is at a crucial stage of economic transformation. We are committed to accelerating the pace of reform and innovation, and exploring new growth areas with the goal of bolstering the position of the Asia-Pacific as an engine for world economic growth. We agree to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination with a view to forging policy synergy, and creating a sound policy environment for the robust, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic growth in the region.

29.We endorse the APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth (Annex C) which identifies Economic Reform, New Economy, Innovative Growth, Inclusive Support and Urbanization as the five pillars for promoting experience sharing, policy dialogue, capacity building and practical cooperation.

Economic Reform

30.To advance APEC’s economic reform agenda, we agree to hold the 2nd Ministerial Meeting on Structural Reform in 2015. Recognizing that many APEC developing economies are facing the challenge of the Middle-Income Trap (MIT), we agree to incorporate the issue of overcoming the MIT into the work program of the APEC Economic Committee.

31.To meet our objective of strengthening the implementation of good regulatory practices, we will further enhance communication, exchanges, and sharing of experiences, and foster anopen and transparentregulatory environment in our economies, according to individual economies’ needs and circumstances. We will endeavor to take new actions through the use of information technology and the Internet to improve our conduct of public consultations on proposed regulations.

32.We recognize the role of internationally recognized private international law instruments such as the Hague Conventions in facilitating cross-border trade and investment, enhancing ease of doing business, and fostering effective enforcement of contracts and efficient settlement of business disputes. We encourage wider use of these instruments which would contribute to APEC’s regional integration, connectivity and structural reform agenda.

New Economy

33.We recognize that New Economy represents the trend of economic growth and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. We support the efforts to promote economic restructuring and upgrading in traditional industries, explore new and promising economic growth areas such as the Green Economy, the Blue Economy, and the Internet Economy, and promote green, circular, low-carbon and energy-efficient development.

34.We are encouraged by the progress of APEC’s ocean-related cooperation and welcome the Xiamen Declaration issued at the 4th APEC Oceans Ministerial Meeting this year, and instruct our Ministers and officials to fully implement the Declaration. We acknowledge the Xiamen Declaration’s statement on the Blue Economy. We welcome the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report.  We encourage the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group to work with APEC fora to advance Blue Economy cooperation.

35.We recognize the role of the Internet Economy in promoting innovative development and empowering economic participation. We endorse the APEC Initiative of Cooperation to Promote the Internet Economy and instruct Ministers and officials to discuss the Internet Economy further, put forward proposals for actions, promote member economies’ cooperation on developing the Internet Economy and facilitate technological and policy exchanges among member economies, taking into account the need to bridge the digital divide.

36.We welcome the Beijing Declaration of the 2014 APEC Energy Ministerial Meeting. We welcome the establishment of the APEC Sustainable Energy Center in China. We recognize the importance of promoting diversified energy supplies, and market-based competition and pricing mechanisms that reflect demand and supply fundamentals as appropriate to each economy. We encourage member economies to take actions to eliminate trade protection and restrictive measures that may impede progress in renewable energy technologies and development of this sector, and we endorse the Energy Ministers’ aspirational goal to double the share of renewables including in power generation by 2030 in APEC’s energy mix. We affirm our commitment to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption while still providing essential energy services. We acknowledge Peru and New Zealand for initiating voluntary peer reviews in 2014 of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that cause wasteful consumption and sharing their best practices, and welcome the commitment from the Philippines to undergo a peer review in 2015. We encourage innovation, competition and cooperation to promote a sound and sustainable energy sector in the Asia-Pacific and to ensure its energy security, economic growth, poverty eradication and an appropriate response to climate change.

37.We emphasize the importance of efforts to ensure sustainable development in mining, including the development, processing, utilization, investment and trade in minerals, metals and related products and welcome Ministers’ views recognizing the important role of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

38.We will continue our efforts to protect forest resources, combat illegal logging and associated trade, promote sustainable forest management, and work with relevant organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Network on Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), to ensure the achievement of the aspirational goal on forests in the Sydney Declaration.

39.We commit to continue our efforts in combating wildlife trafficking. We will take steps to combat wildlife trafficking by enhancing international cooperation through Wildlife Enforcement Networks (WENs) and other existing mechanisms, reducing the supply of and demand for illegally traded wildlife, increasing public awareness and education related to wildlife trafficking and its impacts, and treating wildlife trafficking crimes seriously.

Innovative Growth

40.We recognize innovation as an important lever for economic growth and structural reform. We endorse the initiative on Toward Innovation-Driven Development. We commit to foster a pragmatic, efficient and vigorous partnership on science, technology and innovation. We agree to strengthen collaboration amongst government, academia, and private sector stakeholders to build science capacity, to promote an enabling environment for innovation and including by establishing training centers for the commercialization of research, and to enhance regional science and technology connectivity, with respect for intellectual property rights and trade secrets. 

41.We welcome the Nanjing Declaration on Promoting SMEs Innovative Development. We commit to strengthen our support, and provide an enabling environment for SMEs in innovation activities. We welcome efforts to strengthen SMEs’ cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, involve SMEs in APEC production and supply chains, promote ethical business practices, as well as to empower their capacity to operate in an international market. We welcome member economies’ joint efforts and contribution to promote the APEC Accelerator Network and to invest in the early stage development of innovative SMEs.

Inclusive support

42.We recognize that inclusive support is essential to maintain growth and to deal with risks and potential fallout of reform, with an aim to provide a solid foundation for economic growth and to address the needs of vulnerable groups. We welcome the outcomes of the 6th Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting and the Action Plan (2015-2018) on Promoting Quality Employment and Strengthening People-to-People Connectivity through Human Resources Development. We encourage APEC economies to give priority to stabilizing and expanding employment, implementing macroeconomic policies in favor of job creation, and strengthening capacity building for human resources development, vocational skills development and skill training for youth. We commend the 10-year achievement of the APEC Digital Opportunity Center initiative through our joint efforts and cooperation in bridging digital divides, strengthening human resource development and creating digital opportunities throughout the APEC region.

43.We recognize the pivotal role of women in the development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific, and are committed to taking concrete policies and innovative measures to further enhance women’s economic empowerment and their access to markets and ICT technology, eliminate all barriers that hinder women’s economic participation, and ensure women’s equal opportunities, participation and benefit in innovative development, economic reform and growth. We welcome the recommendations from the Women and the Economy Forum, and commit to promote women entrepreneurship. We recognize the importance of data to measure progress in reducing barriers to women’s economic participation, and we welcome the establishment of the APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard as a tool to inform policy discussions. We support women’s leadership and recognize the importance of women’s entrepreneurship support services and networks. We encourage the formal development of an APEC-wide women’s entrepreneurship network to empower women entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase their access to domestic and international markets.

44.We welcome recommendations from the 4th High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy and endorse the “Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020” initiative, which aims to achieve sustainable and high-performing health systems that will ensure people’s health, including physical and mental well-being, through the whole life-course by means of a whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approach with the collaboration of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

45.We commit to jointly tackle pandemic diseases, terrorism, natural disasters, climate change and other global challenges. In confronting the current Ebola Virus Disease epidemic, we are determined to intensify our cooperation and work shoulder to shoulder with African nations to help them effectively end this epidemic and prevent, detect, manage and respond to future outbreaks. We will continue to assist people in affected areas to overcome this crisis and build back their economies so we can win the battle against the disease.

46.We endorse the Beijing Declaration on APEC Food Security issued at the Third APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security. We welcome APEC Action Plan for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, the APEC Food Security Business Plan (2014-2020), and the APEC Food Security Roadmap toward 2020 (2014 version) and the Action Plan to Enhance Connectivity of APEC Food Standards and Safety Assurance.We note the G20’s work on food security in 2014. We call on APEC economies to seek common ground to build an open, inclusive, mutually-beneficial and all-win partnership for the long-term food security of the Asia-Pacific region. We will strengthen APEC agricultural science and technology innovation and cooperation to advance sustainable agricultural development and support sustainable fisheries.

47.We commend the ongoing efforts of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and its Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN), which will help ensure the safety of food produced and traded in the APEC region by improving food safety regulatory systems, encouraging harmonization with international science-based standards, building capacity in areas that will facilitate trade, and enhancing communication and collaboration between industry and regulators to address emerging food safety issues. We welcome the APEC Food Safety Beijing Statement of the 2014 APEC High-Level Regulator Industry Dialogue on Food Safety.

48.We commend the strong resolve shown in fighting corruption, including through effective anti-corruption measures. We support the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption and welcome the APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Laws, and APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs. We commit to work together against corruption and deny safe haven for corrupt officials and their illicitly-acquired assets. We are committed to strengthening cooperation and coordination on repatriation or extradition of corrupt officials as well as confiscation and recovery of corruption proceeds, and where appropriate, through the use of anti-corruption mechanisms and platforms such as the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET).

49.We encourage further cooperation of member economies in disaster preparedness, risk reduction, response and post-disaster recovery, and cooperation in search and rescue, including through more robust networking among disaster management departments; following the APEC Guidelines on Appropriate Donations; improving supply chain resiliency; operationalizing the Trade Recovery Programme, reducing barriers to the movement of emergency responders and humanitarian relief across borders; increased data sharing; and application of science and technologies.

50.We reiterate our resolve to create a secure and resilient environment for economic activities and connectivity in the APEC region and continue concerted efforts to implement the APEC Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy.


51.We recognize that the Asia-Pacific is currently experiencing booming urbanization. We realize that sustained and healthy development of urbanization is conducive to promoting innovative growth and realizing robust, inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific.

52.We commend the constructive work undertaken by APEC this year in promoting urbanization cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and endorse the APEC Cooperation Initiative for Jointly Establishing an Asia-Pacific Urbanization Partnership.

53.Recognizing the range of urbanization challenges and opportunities across APEC economies, we commit to collectively promote cooperation projects, and to further explore pathways to a new-type of urbanization and sustainable city development, featuring green, energy efficient, low-carbon and people-orientation.

III. Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development

54.We recognize that strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development will help open up new sources of economic growth, promote cooperation and mutual assistance, and advance prosperity and the spirit of community in the Asia-Pacific region. We commend the achievements already made by APEC in connectivity and infrastructure development cooperation.

55.We endorse the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025 (Annex D). We are committed to implementing the APEC Connectivity Blueprint and achieving the overarching goal of strengthening physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity by taking agreed actions and meeting agreed targets by 2025, with the objective of achieving a seamless and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia Pacific.

56.We commit to solve the financing bottleneck of infrastructure development. We commend the work and progress accomplished under the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process (FMP) in infrastructure investment and financing cooperation. We recognize, in particular, efforts in promoting PPP on Infrastructure, such as compiling demonstrative infrastructure PPP projects, advancing the work of the PPP Experts Advisory Panel, strengthening capacity building of Indonesia’s Pilot PPP Center, and carrying on capacity building project of PPP pilot demonstration and standard contract making. We welcome the Implementation Roadmap to Develop Successful Infrastructure PPP Projects in the APEC Region to guide APEC’s future work in this aspect. We welcome the establishment of the PPP Center in China as a center of excellence.

57. We encourage member economies to strengthen energy infrastructural development and connectivity, such as oil and natural gas pipelines and transmission networks, LNG terminals, smart grids and distributed energy systems on the basis of shared interest and mutual benefit.

58. We encourage all member economies to take effective measures to promote the mobility of business personnel, tourists, researchers, students and labor in the region.

59.We support initiatives and activities that further enhance the three dimensions of cross-border education cooperation found in the 2012 Leaders Declaration– mobility of students, researchers, and providers. We applaud the work that has been accomplished this year, including the establishment of the APEC Higher Education Research Center (AHERC); contributions to the APEC scholarships and internships initiative, which will encourage people-to-people exchange in our region; and promotion of virtual academic mobility by leveraging internet-based resources and innovative learning practices.

60. We support the target set at the 8th APEC Tourism Ministers’ Meeting of   making efforts to receive 800 million international tourist arrivals in APEC economies by 2025.

61. We appreciate the initiatives which will greatly improve connectivity and infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, help resolve the bottleneck of financing in this field, and promote regional economic integration and the common development of the Asia-Pacific.

IV. Looking Forward

62.With joint efforts of member economies, the Asia-Pacific has become the most dynamic region of the world with enormous growth potential. Never before has the world been more in need of a harmonious, stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific. We commit to working together to shape the future through Asia-Pacific partnership in the spirit of mutual respect and trust, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, and making a contribution to the long-term development and common prosperity of the region.

63.We commit to carry forward APEC reform, improve its cooperation mechanisms, and implement ambitious goals and blueprints, with the aim of enabling APEC to play a more active coordinating and leading role in the Asia-Pacific.

64.We commend the constructive role of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in strengthening public-private partnership and promoting APEC cooperation in various fields.

65.We are committed to enhancing APEC synergy with other relevant international and regional cooperation organizations and fora through coordination and cooperation, as well as enabling APEC to play an increasingly important role in the global governance system.

66.We are satisfied with the positive, meaningful and fruitful achievements of this meeting and appreciate China’s tremendous and fruitful efforts to successfully host this meeting.

67.We are committed to supporting future hosts of APEC, including Peru, Viet Nam, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand who are to host APEC in the years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

68.We look forward to convening again during the Philippines’ hosting of APEC in 2015.

Background Conference Call on the Administration’s Request for Overseas Contingency Operations

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 07, 2014

Via Telephone

3:36 P.M. EST

MS. MEEHAN:  Hi, everybody.  Thanks very much for joining the call.  This is Bernadette.  This is a call with senior administration officials to discuss the administration’s updated overseas contingency operation request as well as the President’s decision to authorize the deployment of additional forces to Iraq.  This call will be conducted on background so you can use quotes but you cannot use the names of administration officials.  I will let you know who those officials are right now for your information but, again, when you’re quoting them, you must refer to them as senior administration officials.

So with that, I will turn it over to our first senior administration official.  We’ll give you a laydown and then open it up for questions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, everybody.  I’ll just make some brief opening comments and then turn to my colleagues to go into more detail on these different elements.  We obviously have a number of important announcements today to include the fact that we will be requesting $5.6 billion for additional overseas contingency operations related to our efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.  Again, my colleague will talk through that — that includes, importantly, a $1.6 billion request to establish an Iraq train-and-equip fund, which is a part of our focus on strengthening Iraqi security forces.

That relates to the decision that the President has made to authorize a deployment of up to 1,500 additional U.S. military personnel to Iraq to participate in that train, advise-and-assist capacity.  Clearly, our strategy against ISIL, together with our coalition, has focused on degrading ISIL through our air campaign but also importantly strengthening partners on the ground who can take the fight to ISIL.  And what we’ve seen over the last couple of months is action by the Peshmerga and the Kurdish forces in the north to go on offense and increasingly Iraqi security forces becoming organized and beginning to push back against ISIL around Baghdad and in places like Anbar Province. 

We’ve had U.S. forces in Baghdad and Erbil in joint operation centers with Iraqi and Kurdish forces that have been able to determine their needs, what types of training and equipment can be of most value, what type of intelligence, support and advice we can provide as they go on offense.  But we’ve also been doing an assessment of what additional resources we can put into Iraq to have a more robust train, advise-and-assist program.

Our general view here is that we are not limited by geography in our training and support for Iraqi security forces.  And what these additional forces will enable is flexibility for our personnel to go to different parts of the country and to provide that function of supporting Iraqi security forces.

It does not change the President’s policy that U.S. forces will not be engaged in combat in Iraq.  So even as these forces are able to deploy to different parts of the country to provide the train, advise-and-assist mission, they will not be introduced into combat.  That is the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga who will be fighting on the frontlines against ISIL.

I would note that this is the request of the Iraqi government.  The Iraqi government has sought this additional support from the United States and, similarly, the Iraqi government has made clear that they want Iraqi security forces to be in combat on the ground.  They do not want foreign forces introduced to play that role.

I would also note that our coalition is playing a role in every line of effort in Iraq.  That includes not just the air campaign but also the train, advise-and-assist mission, and a number of countries have committed personnel to go into Iraq to work with us in carrying out that effort.  And that will certainly be the case as we expand our training mission with these additional forces.

So with that, we’ll move to the OCO requests.  Then we’ll go through the specifics of the military commitment, and then our State colleague can put the strategic context in play for you.  So I’ll turn it over to my colleague now.

 SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Great.  Let me just briefly provide the budgetary context here and then we’ll pass this on.

As was noted earlier, we’re announcing today that the President will request an additional $5.6 billion in overseas contingency operations funding for FY15.  For context, as many of you will recall, the President in June of this year sent forward an OCO budget amendment for the FY15 fiscal year that included $58.6 billion; that reflected the cost of the operations in Afghanistan, DOD’s forward presence in the Middle East, and a number of other critical missions, including the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that the President announced in early June. 

The updated request that the President will transmit and that we are announcing today will reflect additional costs that were unanticipated at the time when the President submitted that initial request in June.

Principally, of the $5.6 billion, that reflects our estimate of the costs associated with the counter-ISIL campaign that was just outlined.  Just to break that down a little bit, that breaks down as $5 billion for the Department of Defense and about $520 million for the State Department.  Within the Department of Defense resources, roughly $3.4 billion of that is to support the ongoing operations, including military advisers, intelligence platforms, and munitions that are being expended in the context of the campaign that is currently underway.

The additional $1.6 billion will support the Iraq train-and-equip mission through a new Iraq train-and-equip fund.  These will provide resources to support the training effort that my colleagues will talk about in more detail. 

Importantly, those train-and-equip resources will be supplemented by resources both from the government of Iraq and by partner countries, as was previously mentioned.

The $520 million for the State Department and other international programs is intended to support the diplomatic efforts and other efforts associated with this campaign, including assistance to countries in the region, including Jordan and Lebanon, as well as assistance to the Syrian opposition and other humanitarian aid.

The structure of the request builds on the June OCO request, and we will be working with Congress between now and when the current continuing resolution expires on December 11th to try to make sure that we are able to enact these funds so that we can support this mission going forward.

And with that, I’ll pass it on.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  We’ll go to our DOD colleague.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you very much.  I’ll just give you a little quick breakdown of the 1,500.  About less than half of that, around 630 of this number, will be directed to the train, advise-and-assist mission; these additional train, advise-and-assist experts.  And they’ll be at two expeditionary sites.  We’re still doing a site survey right now, but we expect one of them to be — one of these teams to be in Anbar, the other one will likely be somewhere in the northern Baghdad Province.  I would like to add that not all the 630 are advisers.  There will be a good portion of that number will be enablers for them, force protection personnel, some logistics personnel, command and control elements, that kind of thing.  So not all of them will be advisers.

The remainder of the 1,500 — around 870 — will be dedicated to this building partner capacity mission, which is essentially a training mission.  And there will be several sites stood up in provinces in Anbar, Diyala, Erbil and Baghdad.  We’re still completing site surveys right now, so we can’t get more specific than that.  But each of these building partner capacity sites will be able to train and equip about three brigades.  And right now we’re looking at nine brigades coming from the Iraq security forces, and three brigades coming from the Pesh forces in order to attend this training.

And the last thing I’d like to say is that it’s important to remember that this isn’t just going to be a U.S. mission.  We’ve got several coalition countries that have agreed to send trainers of their own.  And some of them have come forward with numbers, and some of them haven’t yet.  They’re still working that through.  But this will be a coalition effort.  It is not just an American effort.  And as the first speaker said, this is very much in keeping with, A, the progress that Iraqi and Pesh forces have made in south and in the north.  So it’s reflective of the progress that they’ve made and the continued progress that they want to make, and the help that they’ve asked for in that regard; as well as, how seriously we’re taking this component of the strategy, that the best ground forces are indigenous ground forces. 

And with that, I’ll pass it on.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  You want to close this out?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure, thanks.  I want to go back a little bit to where we’ve been to kind of understand this next step.  And if you go back to early June when Mosul fell, and Iraqi security forces in Mosul collapsed, and coming down the Tigris Valley — ISIL was coming down and threatening Baghdad.  ISIL then broke through the Euphrates Valley across the border from Syria, breaking through the strategic town of al-Qaem in Anbar Province and pouring down the Euphrates Valley.  And there was a real sense in those 72-96 hours of potentially the capital collapsing.  Everybody can kind of remember what that was like.

And President Obama immediately in those hours ordered the deployment of special forces teams to assess Iraqi security forces in and around Baghdad, but also further out; immediately surged our intelligence collection overhead, from drone surveillance flights (inaudible) 60 a day, including manned and unmanned surveillance flights.  And we also very importantly established joint operations centers in Baghdad and Erbil. 

And I was out there when we did that, and those teams got established right away, and also established the most important (inaudible) with the Iraqis in Baghdad and Erbil so that we could begin to work with them to help them both absorb the shock that they were feeling, and begin to kind of get their sea legs back and begin to push back.

There was a question at the time over the course of the summer as we were doing this whether they actually would be able to that.  And what we’ve learned since then, starting in the late summer, is that the Iraqis when they act in coordination with us, and when we’re working with units that are pretty good, and our initial assessment you might recall of about 50 units down to 26 were actually quite good, or at least we could work with.  Twenty-four of the units we looked at really had to be substantially reformed.

But what we’ve seen since then, if you look at Sinjar, the defense of Erbil, the defense of Haditha, the Rabia border crossing operation, taking back the Mosul Dam, taking back the strategic town of Zumar, an operation now going up the Tigris Valley is that every single time, every time a local force, an Iraqi force has worked in concert and coordination with us, with our air cover, they’ve not only defeated ISIL but they’ve routed ISIL.

And if you think of what had happened leading up to Mosul, about the year leading into Mosul and after that, ISIL had really never been defeated on the field.  So it’s a pretty significant development.  And since we’ve seen this happen, we’ve been looking at ways to continue to build on that momentum and really enhance Iraqi capacity.  So that’s really what this is about.

And let me also just talk about the coalition.  It’s significant also that in the days after Mosul, the world really did not rally to Iraq.  There was a lot of questions about — we had to get a new government up, and whether — how the government was going to (inaudible) basically the vision for Iraq, and putting together a national program.  This was very difficult because Mosul had been just shortly after Iraq had a national election.

So over the course of the summer, the Iraqis did come together.  They formed a new government.  It has significant new leadership from top to bottom, including a very strong minister of defense now.  And I’ve been to about 13 capitals over the last few weeks with General Allen, and there’s a real kind of unanimity in terms of support for Iraq.  We’ve seen that both in our bilateral visits, but also at the United Nations Security Council last month, with the United Nations Security Council meetings, which brought about 50 countries together pledging their support for Iraq, which is a really significant development because it’s something we haven’t had for years.  And it gives us a tool and gives the Iraqis a tool to begin to stabilize their country.

Over the skies of Iraq right now, as my colleague mentioned, we have not only us, but also Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands conducting operations and airstrikes along with us.  And this is all in support of a new Iraqi government.  And that’s what’s really significant.  This government has a new national vision for how to govern the country.  It’s significantly different from the previous government’s vision of how to govern the country.  And so we’re helping them implement that vision.

But I just want to close with emphasizing how difficult this will be.  It’s going to be a long-term campaign, as President Obama has mentioned repeatedly.  And we’ve been working very closely with the Iraqis in terms of developing an overall campaign plan.  And the Iraqis are also very mindful of just how long this is going to take, and how difficult it will be.  But the capacity that we’re providing them today will really help us kind of move to the next phase of this campaign, which really began over the course of the summer, as we started to recover from the events of Mosul.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Great, thanks.  Operator, we will move to questions.

Q Yes, I just wonder if anybody can take this.  Why this large increase?  Does it show that the Iraqi forces are much less capable than you originally thought?  And also if you could address one of the key problems here — talking to people, retired General Mark Hertling says a lot of the good Iraqi commanders were fired by Maliki.  Do you know if any of them will be coming back?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’ll say a word here, and then my colleagues may want to join on both of those.  First of all, again, I think that there has been a very deliberate sequencing to how we’ve approached this train, advise-and-assist mission.  We really needed to get a better handle on the status of the Iraqi security forces.  We needed to get a better handle on the intelligence picture against ISIL.

And so the first steps were getting the assessment teams on the ground, and getting these joint operations centers in Baghdad and Erbil to give us that sense.  At the same time, we’ve learned a lot about ISIL through our ISR resources, intelligence collection and through the initial stages of this air campaign.

And I think what we’ve done now is we’ve made decisions about how we can best support the Iraqi security forces, as they go on offense beyond just being in Baghdad and Erbil.  And so the key point here is General Dempsey and General Austin both made recommendations up to the President over the last several weeks to have more geographic flexibility to move to different parts of Iraq so that we are able to reach a broader base of Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

And so what these numbers really allow us to do is just to have greater reach into different parts of the country to carry out the train, advise-and-assist mission.  And again, that doesn’t speak to new information about their capabilities, but rather it speaks to how are we going to cover the broadest possible ground, the broadest set of Iraqi units in this fight.  And again, by being able to have more troops deployed in different parts of the country to carry out the train, advise-and-assist mission, we’ll be able to reach more Iraqi security forces, Kurdish forces to help them with training, advice, equipment, also intelligence as they go on offense.  And we’ll be connected back into the joint operations centers in Baghdad and Erbil and supplemented by these coalition partners. 

So I think the numbers are borne out of the analysis of how we can make the best difference, how we can cover the most ground, how we can reach the broadest cross section of Iraqi and Kurdish forces.  And now we’re matching resources against that analysis.  And this, we think gives us a very solid foundation in the country to provide support to the Iraqis as they begin to take back territory from ISIL and go on offense.

 But, my colleagues, I don’t know if you want to speak to either of those.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The only thing I would add is that — this is also reflective of the campaign plan that the Iraqi security forces are trying to execute.  And so it’s reflective of where they’re trying to go and what they’re trying to do, and those divisions that they believe are going to need a little bit of extra assistance, advice, counsel, intelligence support that kind of thing.  So it’s very reflective — when you talk about geography — about the geography that they want to occupy and they want to have gains in.  And the second thing is that we have learned a lot about the leadership in the Iraqi army, and it’s a mixed picture, and it’s also reflective a little bit of the knowledge added to the mixed picture.

And then the last thing I would say is that the new defense minister made clear to Secretary Hagel in their phone conversation that one of his key goals was to reform the Iraqi army, to try to correct all the things that had gone wrong under Maliki’s leadership and the things that had been neglected.  And so this is also part and parcel of an effort to assist them in that larger, more strategic effort.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I would just add, just building on what my colleague said and how this is kind of — we’re (inaudible) opportunities here.  The new minister of defense was just sworn in and ratified through the parliament about two and a half weeks ago.  Iraq has not had a minister of defense in almost five years.  And not only (inaudible), he’s a former air force guy in Saddam’s air force.  He’s a well-respected Sunni Arab.
But since he’s been in place, just over the last week he was in Anbar Province talking to tribal leaders out there.  He was in Erbil talking to the Kurds.  At the same time, Prime Minister Abadi was talking to the main tribal leaders.  He had delegations come to Baghdad to talk about what they want to do to organize cells to stand up to ISIL.

And so this sort of thing gives us opportunities that we didn’t have before.  And as my colleague said, the minister of defense has a very clear plan for how he wants to restructure the Iraqi security forces, and we think it’s a very good plan.  And General Austin was in the country a couple weeks ago meeting with the minister of defense and the Iraqi leadership.  So we have a kind of synchronization between what the Iraqis want to do and how we can help them.

And what my colleague said, this really gives us reach, which we need to keep these opportunities in line with the division that the Iraqis are putting out.

I would also say in just in response to the question in terms of the commanders, one thing Abadi has done from very early on in his premiership, is he abolished this office of the commander in chief, which Maliki had set up — very early in Maliki’s tenure, about eight years ago.  And he also fired the top echelon of the Iraqi command, which is pretty significant.  And it’s given a new vitality to the Iraqi security forces (inaudible).

And what was announced today basically seizes on those opportunities, and it’s the next step as we help develop the capacity of the Iraqis to begin to push back against ISIL.

Q Hi, guys.  Thanks very much for doing this call.  I wonder if you could just sort of clarify, are you all seeking to have the financing here of the overseas contingency fund approved during the lame duck session?  Or does that wait till later?  And then also can you talk about this in the context of the discussions the President had said he wanted to begin in the lame duck on AUMF and whether or not these conversations go hand in hand; or is the AUMF sort of a separate conversation than this specific request?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  On your first question, this is an amendment to our FY15 OCO budget request.  So our expectation is that Congress will enact this as part of the final FY15 appropriations bills.  Congress — we’re two months into the FY15 fiscal year now, and Congress is operating on a continuing resolution that ends on December 11th.  So our expectation is that this will get resolved in the lame duck session as Congress resolves the funding bills for the rest of the FY15 fiscal year.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, and on your second question there, Michael, first of all, this whole set of issues was a top of conversation at the meeting with congressional leaders today.  General Austin was able to attend that meeting and provide an update and a briefing on this plan, as it relates to the additional personnel going to Iraq.

This I think we would deal with as a separate topic from the AUMF itself.  This funding is related to ongoing operations which we have the authorization to carry out.  So on the one hand, this is a separate legislative agenda item.

On the other hand, however, I do think it points to the utility in the President working with Congress to formulate and implement our counter-ISIL strategy more broadly.  What the President has said as it relates to the AUMF is that the country is stronger, we send a more united message overseas, we’re better capable of supporting our servicemen and women if we are acting together.  And that relates not just to the funding of our operations, but also to the expression of support from Congress through an AUMF.

So again, given that this is going to be a long-term campaign, that it’s going to involve significant resources — albeit very different resources from the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, we believe that we want to work with Congress to achieve an AUMF that gives that expression of support, that message of unity that is important to carrying forward the campaign.

So, they were able to discuss that issue today.  I think we’ll want to hear from different voices in Congress going forward about the best way to shape an AUMF.  We’ve welcomed the bipartisan support thus far for our actions against ISIL.  And again, as we address this specific funding request, we’ll also be having conversations about how to move forward on the development of congressional support for an AUMF against ISIL.

Q Yes, hi.  Thank you so much for doing this call.  Very much appreciated.  I would like to ask you a question:  What’s your assessment on foreign fighters at this moment in Iraq?  And in this new strategy, are you going to put more resources to create a structure which will prevent foreign fighters to go to Iraq?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Laura, for the question.  We have a U.N. Security Council resolution that provides an international framework for how to deal with foreign fighters going into both Iraq and Syria.  This — the particular announcement today of additional personnel to deploy to Iraq I think would be a separate line of effort within our broader counter-ISIL campaign, in that this is very much focused on helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces take the fight to ISIL on the ground inside of Iraq.

At the same time, however, our broader strategy has a key component that is focused on foreign fighters — foreign fighters to both, again, Iraq and Syria.  And what we’re looking at, again, is how do we get a cooperation from other countries across law enforcement and intelligence agencies so that we’re better able to detect and monitor and, if need be, apprehend foreign fighters before they entered the theater in Iraq and Syria, or if they are seeking to exit and return to their countries of origin.

And so we’ve committed resources to that.  And we’re working with a really broad coalition of countries so that we are aligning our efforts to crack down on the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the country of Iraq — and Syria.

This will also be a topic, for instance, of the President’s upcoming trip to Asia.  There has been a growing challenge of foreign fighters from parts of Asia into Iraq and Syria, including, for instance, Malaysia and Indonesia.  And they have stepped up to the plate with additional resources and efforts to crack down on the flow of foreign fighters out of their countries.

So again, while this announcement is more distinctly focused on the support for the Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting on the ground, the broader strategy and the coalition is going to continue to work across our law enforcement, intelligence, and other channels to try to stop that flow of foreign fighters leading into and out of the country and, importantly, to confront the ideology that is propagated by ISIL to recruit foreign fighters through the use of social media and other propaganda.  So that will be a key piece of our broader effort going forward.

We’ll take the next question.

Q Hey, guys, it’s Major.  Can you hear me?


Q Two questions.  Many Americans will look at this and ask themselves, is this mission creep?  Is this growing larger than the President first advertised?  Address that and also address — set aside natural journalistic skepticism — that the timing of this after the midterm election has much less to do with the operational necessity in Iraq and everything to do with the political atmosphere before Tuesday.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I can take this, Major.  First of all, on your first question, the reason I would take issue with the notion that this is mission creep is that the mission is not changing at all for our servicemembers.  When the President first sent additional personnel into Iraq, he made clear that we were not going to be putting U.S. servicemen and women back into combat in Iraq; that rather they’d be there in a support role for the Iraqi security forces.  And even with these additional personnel, the mission is not changing.  The mission continues to be one of training, advising, equipping Iraqis, and the Iraqis are the ones who are fighting on the ground, fighting in combat.  So we are keeping the limiting factor on the mission.  We are adding personnel to better carry out the mission and, again, to support the Iraqis as they move forward with their campaign plan.

And this is a different — this continues to be a different approach to the previous efforts in Iraq, in which we had large-scale ground forces in combat.  What we’ve determined with the Iraqis is the best thing is for indigenous forces, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, to be the ones taking the fight to ISIL on the ground.  Our contribution can come from the air through strikes and through this training, advising and equipping.  We recognize that any time that we send additional men and women overseas to serve, particularly in a dangerous country like Iraq, that that raises important questions from the American people about what the nature of their mission is.  And that’s what — we’ll continue to provide those answers, but we’ll continue to assure people that this is a different type of mission from the combat missions that we’ve undertaken in Iraq in the past.

With respect to the timing, no, really, it was not driven at all by the political calendar.  As you heard us say earlier, there are a range of factors that led us to make this announcement when we did.  Specifically, the sequence of our setting up joint operation centers and having assessments done and determining what the needs were with the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqis were developing their own campaign plan to go on offense in different parts of the country, which we could then support by having a broader geographic presence in the country — the coalition coming together so as we formulate and have discussions with other countries about different nations contributing advisers, we wanted to cement what we believed our commitment would be. 

And then, lastly, as my colleague pointed out, the Iraqis just recently got a minister of defense in place.  He has been engaged in discussions with Iraqi security forces about where they’re going to go on offense and where they see additional needs.  And what we’re really doing here is matching our resources against the needs we’ve identified in the Iraqi security forces and the need they’ve identified in developing their campaign plan and doing their own review. 

So this is a recommendation that has been developed over the course of the last several weeks.  It’s been a topic of conversation in a number of the meetings the President has had, the weekly meetings he has had with his national security team on ISIL.  Again, it’s a recommendation from Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey and General Austin that was refined over the last several weeks.  And today, as we are concurrently seeking these additional resources from Congress, we want to put forward to the American people what we believe the necessary commitment of our men and women in uniform will be to this mission going forward. 

And the opportunity of the meeting with the congressional leaders today allowed the President to share this with both the Senate and House bipartisan leadership.

Next question.

Q This is for number two and number three.  Do the Iraqi security forces need weapons-capability improvements, like Apaches and new M-1s or other types of hardware?  Or is it more a question of retraining them on the organizational skills of maneuver combat?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Tony, as you know, we have a robust defense sales program with Iraq and they do have equipment and weapons needs that we continue to meet, as in the shipment of hundreds more Hellfire missiles just this month.  But what we’re talking about today is really advise, assist and training, and trying to improve their capabilities, their organizational skills, their ability to provide enablers for themselves or at least to supplement the enablers that they have to help them with the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities.  So it’s really — this is mostly about capabilities.  And the robust defense trade relationship that we have with Iraq will continue as well.

Q Thanks everyone for doing this.  I haven’t heard much discussion about the Sunni tribes other than in these couple of meetings.  Will at least one of these advise-and-assist centers be involved in training and equipping Sunni tribes?  How onboard are they?  Because of course the Iraqi security forces “so Shiite dominated” are really not terribly welcome in some of those provinces.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It’s a big question and we’re in touch with the tribes literally constantly now.  And some of the tribes are standing up and fighting ISIL as we speak.  Literally as we speak, some of them are prepared to but feel that they don’t have the capacity — and, frankly, they’re fearful.  And you can see what happened to the Albu Nimr tribe over the last couple weeks. 

And what that event has done, at least what we are sensing — and I’ll be heading back into Iraq this week — is a galvanization of the whole national political class against ISIL, particularly among the Sunnis, but also most importantly the real pillars of Shia Islam in the society are coming out and calling for support for the Sunni tribes.  So if you saw Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s sermon last Friday, a week ago today, he called on the government to dramatically step up its direct support for Sunni tribes, particularly in Anbar Province.

What we’re seeing parallel with that kind of public galvanization is a tangible and concrete plan to first organize and equip 5,000 tribesmen in Anbar, and this is now being openly discussed in Iraq and it’s starting to happen.  And the government is getting resources out to those tribes and we’re trying to work with them as best we can in terms of developing that capacity.  One of the things my colleagues said about enhancing and expanding our reach in the country is specifically to take advantage of opportunities like this.  And these are opportunities that did not exist say two to three months ago or even 30 days ago.  They do exist now and we’re going to do all we can to help the Iraqis through our advise-and-assist capability to help them to do this effectively.

So all I would say is that the tribes want to get ISIL out of their communities, but ISIL as we’ve seen is a particularly ruthless enemy.  As I said in my introduction, every time that we’ve worked with a local force on the ground and we have provided them advice and some cover, they have been able to defeat ISIL.  The counter to that, however, is that every time — and particularly before we were substantially engaged — there had never been a local force to rise up and really defeat ISIL in a substantial way.

So in order to degrade ISIL, which is the primary objective of — the immediate objective of the strategy, you have to develop the capacity of local actors combined with kind of national-level resources.  And that’s what we’re trying to do.  And what the President announced today is directly in line with that.  So there’s an awful lot going on with the tribes and I think you’ll see more over the coming weeks.

Q Thank you.  I’m wondering if you are ready to put a limit on the number of troops that you will eventually send to Iraq?  Is this the last sort of grouping that you think you’ll send over?  Or is there sort of a limit on — a ceiling on the number that you think you’ll need eventually?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Sure.  The limit that we’ve placed, again, as I said, is more on the mission — is the limiting principle that this is not a combat mission. 

In terms of numbers, I don’t think we want to specify that we’re going to be steady at a very specific number.  That’s both because there could be troops rotating home, as well.  Or we’ll assess whether there needs to be additional advisers based on judgments on the ground going forward.

I would say that there was a very deliberate effort here to look at the comprehensive needs across the country, and then to put forward a significant number that match those needs.  So as was said earlier, this is both supporting the train, advise and assist mission, but also this building partner capacity function that we’re moving out on in Iraq. 

So we I think we deliberately wanted to be transparent about the fact that this would be a significant number of personnel to carry out these functions, so that is to say I’m not anticipating there being additional requirements on the horizon in terms of personnel.  But I also don’t want to suggest that we’re going to set a specific ceiling with respect to U.S. personnel.  What we are doing is reiterating that the limiting principle applies to the mission and the fact that troops are not going to be carrying out a combat mission.  They’re going to be in the support role.

I don’t know if you have anything to add to that or not.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I don’t.  I think that’s exactly right. 

Q Thank you for doing this.  So what I’d like to know is what units will be deployed and for how long?  And then also, what’s the difference between the train-and-advise mission and the building partner capacity mission?  Can you go into a little bit more detail about what that is?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, I can take that.  The sourcing solutions have not been determined yet, so we can’t tell you right now exactly what units are going to be contributing to these numbers and these missions.  That will go to the services to work out.  And obviously, just like we do in every other case, when we have sourcing solutions that we’re ready to announce, we’ll certainly announce them.  And deployment lengths are also to be determined, just like we’ve been judicious about the deployment length so far and watching that closely.  But I don’t have anything firm for you on that — in that regard.

The difference between the two missions and the way I would kind of describe it is, one is very much dedicated to advise-and-assist-type roles.  This is to help key Iraqi divisions collate and process intelligence; help them develop their operational enablers — or at least help provide some operational enablers to them; and assist them at the brigade or division level, headquarters level — very much like what we’re doing now with the 12 teams, but just what’s different with these advisers are that they’re going to be in a more expeditionary capacity.  In other words, they’re going to be in different geography than where the other teams are now.  But it’s essentially the same role.

And of course, there’s a training component to that.  When you have advisers with headquarters level, they are doing training, as well, in terms of good staffing, good organizational and the application of resources.

The building partnership capacity concept, that really is what we would consider hands-on training.  So this is where we’re going to be able to take up to 12 brigades, again, a mix of Pesh and Iraqi security force brigades at several sites and actually help train them in basic military skills, organizational command and control and leadership functions.  So it’s more of a hands-on training mission.  Does that answer your question?

MS. MEEHAN:  Thanks, everyone, for joining us today.  Just as a reminder, this call is on background.  You’re welcome to use quotes, but they must be attributed to a senior administration official.  Thanks very much.

4:19 P.M. EST

FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions To Strengthen Global Resilience To Climate Change And Launches Partnerships To Cut Carbon Pollution

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 23, 2014

The U.S. Continues to Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts

Today, at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, President Obama announced a new set of tools to harness the unique scientific and technological capabilities of the United States to help vulnerable populations around the world strengthen their climate resilience.  The United States also announced its leadership and participation in more than a dozen new climate change partnerships launched at the Climate Summit. 

The tools for global resilience announced by the President include improved and extended extreme weather risk outlooks to help avoid loss of life and property; data, tools and services to enable countries to better prepare for the impacts of climate change, including a new release of global elevation data; and an announcement of a new public-private partnership to ensure that the climate data, tools, and products made available by U.S. technical agencies are useful to developing countries. The President also announced a new Executive Order requiring Federal agencies to factor climate resilience into the design of their international development programs and investments.

New international climate change partnerships in which the United States has played a key role in launching include the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation, and the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance.

These actions build on the President’s Climate Action Plan, which includes unprecedented efforts by the United States to reduce carbon pollution, promote clean sources of energy that create jobs, and protect American communities from the impacts of climate change.

The Climate Action Plan is working. In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell to the lowest level in nearly two decades. Since the President took office, wind energy production has tripled, and solar energy has increased by a factor of ten. This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first carbon pollution standards for existing power plants, which account for a third of U.S. carbon pollution. And the President is empowering state and local leaders to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change in their communities through initiatives including a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition and the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Internationally, the United States continues to press for an ambitious, inclusive, and pragmatic global climate agreement in 2015, and intends to put forward a robust post-2020 climate commitment in the context of other major economies doing the same. Through our leadership of the Major Economies Forum and the Clean Energy Ministerial as well as our bilateral relationships, we continue to press the scientific and economic case for strong climate action. U.S. leadership has helped spur international action to address the health and climate impacts of short-lived climate pollutants, to launch free trade talks on environmental goods, and to cut donor country financial support for new coal-fired power plants.  Going forward, the United States will continue to help develop, launch, and implement practical, action-oriented international initiatives such as those announced at today’s U.N. Climate Summit.

New U.S. Actions to Strengthen Global Resilience to Climate Change

Executive Order on Climate-Resilient International Development

President Obama announced an Executive Order on Climate-Resilient International Development, requiring agencies to factor climate-resilience considerations systematically into the U.S. government’s international development work and to promote a similar approach with multilateral entities.   U.S. financial support for adaptation activities in developing countries has increased eightfold since 2009; such dedicated funding is critical.  At the same time, the magnitude of the challenge requires not just dedicated adaptation finance flows but also a broader, integrated approach.  Development investments in areas as diverse as eradicating malaria, building hydropower facilities, improving agricultural yields, and developing transportation systems will not be effective in the long term if they do not account for impacts such as shifting ranges of disease-carrying mosquitoes, changing water availability, or rising sea levels, thereby reducing the effectiveness of taxpayer money.  This new Executive Order will:

  • Improve the resilience of the Federal Government’s international development programs, projects, investments, overseas facilities, and other funding decisions through consideration of current and future climate-change impacts, as appropriate;
  • Share knowledge, data, tools, information, frameworks, and lessons learned in incorporating climate-resilience considerations; and
  • Complement efforts by the Federal Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and globally.

Releasing Powerful New Data to Enable Planning for Resilience

To empower local authorities to better plan for the impacts of severe environmental changes such as drought, glacial retreat, flooding, landslides, coastal storm surges, agricultural stresses, and challenges concerning public health, today the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency (NGA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of an ongoing commitment to open data and international data sharing through the inter-governmental Group on Earth Observations, will release a collection of higher-resolution elevation datasets for Africa. Datasets covering other global regions will be made available within one year, with the next release of data providing more accurate elevation information for Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Until now, elevation data for Africa were freely and publicly available only at 90-meter resolution. The datasets being released today, and during the course of the next year—which are based on data collected by sensors designed by an international partnership and carried on the U.S. Space Shuttle—resolve to 30-meters and will be used worldwide to improve environmental monitoring, climate change research including sea-level rise impact assessments, and local decision support. These datasets are being made available via a user-friendly interface on USGS’s Earth Explorer website. With a commitment from the Secure World Foundation, and in collaboration with the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, USGS, NOAA, and NASA plan to offer online training and regional workshops to further enable users to take advantage of these data resources.

Developing New Outlooks for Extreme-Weather Risk

To reduce harm from extreme-weather events occurring throughout the world, the Obama Administration announced its intent to begin a coordinated U.S. effort, led by NOAA, to develop reliable extreme-weather risk outlooks on time horizons that are currently not available. This effort will initiate the planned development of new extreme-weather outlooks in the 15-30 day range, beyond the 14-day limit of current reliable weather forecasts and will explore producing information products for longer time-scales at which climate change influences risk.  Currently available weather and climate information from NOAA empowers decision-makers, communities, farmers, and business owners to make smart decisions as they plan and prepare for the future. This new effort will seek to increase the information available to these decision makers in the 15-30 day timeframe with new kinds of actionable information to use as they plan and prepare for the future. To kick off the effort this year, NOAA will begin issuing weekly 3-4 week precipitation outlooks and will extend its current extreme-heat index product from the current 6-to-10-days-out to 8-to-14-days-out, giving communities several additional days to prepare for potential life threatening heat waves.

Equipping Meteorologists in Developing Nations with the Latest Tools and Knowledge

To help connect meteorologists in developing nations with the best-available tools, knowledge, and information resources, NOAA will seek to significantly expand the reach of its highly successful international “Training Desk” program, which brings developing-country meteorologists to the United States for state-of-the-art training and education at NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. Since 1992, more than 300 meteorologists from 35 nations have completed NOAA’s training desk program, helping both to build capacity at meteorological institutions in their home countries for climate prediction, monitoring, and assessments, and to feed local observational climate data back to NOAA upon returning to their home countries. This effort will increase the number of meteorologists from developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia who will participate in the training desks and will expand the curriculum from weather and climate to include the important water challenges (predicting how much, how little and what quality) that are now confronting the global community.

Launching a Public-Private Partnership on Climate Data and Information for Resilient Development

President Obama announced that the United States will develop and launch a new public-private partnership focused on connecting actionable climate science, data, tools, and training to decision-makers in developing countries. This partnership will enhance capacity within developing countries to assess impacts and vulnerabilities associated with climate change, boost resilience, and achieve their own development goals in the context of a changing climate. Building on the skills and investments of USAID’s climate change and development programming, including leveraging the newly announced Global Resilience Partnership, expertise from international and scientific agencies, including the agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program; and the innovation of U.S. universities, NGOs, and the private sector, this new partnership will:

  • Make existing climate data, scientific information, outlooks, tools, and services more accessible to decision-makers around the world;
  • Identify and address targeted climate information and capacity gaps, including by providing targeted training opportunities;
  • Create a global community of practice that links climate data, climate change adaptation efforts, and international development; and
  • Commit to the timely development of new products to support decision-making targeted at the needs of specific climate-vulnerable countries.

Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Launched at the Climate Summit with U.S. Leadership

The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture

The United States is joining the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture as a founding member.  The Alliance brings together governments, businesses, farmers’ organizations, civil society groups, research bodies and intergovernmental entities to address food security in the face of climate change. The United States will bring its existing food security and climate programs to this multi-stakeholder effort, including:

  • Feed the Future – the U.S. Presidential initiative for food security, invests in technologies to deliver drought tolerant seeds, fertilizer and water efficiency technologies, and other tools to help farmers become more climate-smart in achieving its objectives of inclusive agricultural sector growth and improved nutrition.
  • The Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) – the United States co-chairs CCAC’s Agriculture Initiative, which seeks to reduce methane and black carbon emissions while promoting agricultural livelihoods and advancing broader climate change objectives on adaptation and mitigation.
  • The Department of Agriculture’s Regional Climate Hubs will deliver information to American farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them adapt to climate change and weather variability.

Launch of CCAC Oil and Gas Methane Partnership

The United States has played an integral role in launching the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, an innovative public-private initiative bringing together governments, leading oil and gas companies, and other stakeholders in a partnership focused on cost-effective reduction of methane emissions.  The Partnership, an initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), provides involved companies with a systematic, cost-effective approach for reducing their methane emissions and for credibly demonstrating to stakeholders the impacts of their actions.

Global Green Freight Action Plan

The United States is helping to lead the development and implementation of a Global Green Freight Action Plan together with over 20 countries plus NGOs, international organizations, and companies.  This effort will result in fuel and cost savings for businesses and consumers as well as emission reductions of climate and air pollutants such as black carbon, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter.

Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge

The United States applauded the signing of the landmark Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge by the CEOs of Cargill, Asian Agri, Golden Agri-Resources, Wilmar, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  This Pledge includes industry-leading benchmarks such as proactive government engagement on policy reform and a principle of no planting on peat lands, and go beyond the companies’ existing sustainability commitments.  By applying these principles to third-party suppliers and covering the signatories’ operations worldwide, these companies are creating best practices for their industry.  The U.S. Government looks forward to working with the signatories, civil society and the Government of Indonesia to follow and promote implementation of the Pledge.

Pilot Auction Facility (PAF) for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation

The United States will announce the intention to provide a $15 million contribution to the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF), an innovative, World Bank-managed climate finance instrument that will use auctions to maximize the efficiency of public resources for climate change mitigation.  The PAF will pioneer an innovative, results-based climate finance model with potential to support low-carbon investment in ways that provide better value and lower risk for the taxpayer.  The United States drove this concept forward from the time of our G8 presidency in 2012 to its launch by the World Bank this month.

Power Africa Cooperation Agreement with Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

The United States will sign a Cooperation Understanding Agreement with the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative to further strengthen collaboration between the President’s Power Africa Initiative and the UN- and World Bank-led SE4All activities in Africa.  Building on Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid component, the cooperation will focus on expanded energy access, as well as development of renewable energy projects.  At the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, President Obama announced new aggregate goals for Power Africa to add 60 million new electricity connections and 30,000 megawatts of clean energy generation in Africa.  Working with the countries on investment strategies and reducing barriers to project development will be a high priority of the collaboration.

The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance

The United States is a founding member of the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, a new initiative aimed at helping cities around the world access financial tools for low carbon, climate resilient infrastructure.  The Alliance will bring together cities, national governments, financial institutions, NGOs, and other stakeholders.  The United States will contribute experience, best practice and lessons learned from ongoing efforts such as the National Disaster Resilience Competition and Climate Resilient Transportation System.

National/Subnational Cooperation on Climate Change

Enhanced cooperation and coordination among national and subnational levels of government is essential to forge coherent, effective, and efficient responses to climate change.  The United States has been at the leading edge of efforts to connect these national and subnational efforts through its State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and other programs, and announced a range of initiatives at the Climate Summit including:

Climate Action Champions – The Climate Action Champions initiative will recognize local and tribal government entities that are leading emission reductions and climate resilience efforts domestically. The initiative will enhance opportunities for financial and technical assistance, as well as facilitated peer-to-peer networking and mentorship, to support and advance their climate mitigation and resilience objectives.

Public Transportation Resilience Projects – The U.S. Federal Transit Administration announced the awarding of nearly $3.6 billion for climate resilient transportation infrastructure projects in the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy that were competitively selected.

Federal-Tribal Climate Resilience Partnership The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs launched a new $10 million program for delivering adaptation training.

First Green Guaranties Issued by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

By providing “Green Guaranties,” OPIC (the U.S. government’s development finance institution) joins other public and private sector institutions in supporting climate-friendly investments.  OPIC’s first Green Guaranties were offered to eligible U.S. investors in the domestic debt capital markets on September 17, 2014.  These U.S. government-guaranteed certificates of participation adhere to the Green Bond Principles of 2014, which have been collaboratively developed with the guidance of leading capital markets issuers, investors, underwriters and environmental groups.  The placement enables OPIC to boost an asset class that is rapidly becoming an attractive investment for generating both social and financial returns.  Proceeds raised under these Green Guaranties will total an initial $47 million to be deployed in the construction of the Luz del Norte solar project in Chile – which, when completed, will be the largest photovoltaic project in Latin America. 

Phasing down Climate-Potent Hydrofluorocarbons

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and other industrial applications as replacements for ozone-depleting substances.  At the Climate Summit, a large group of governments and civil society partners agreed to support phasing down consumption and production of HFCs through a Montreal Protocol amendment; promoting public procurement of climate-friendly alternatives to high-GWP HFCs; and welcoming new private sector led initiatives aimed at reducing HFC emissions, including a Global Cold Food Chain Council, and a Global Refrigerant Management Initiative.  This summer, EPA proposed two new rules under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program that would smooth transition to climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs in the United States by expanding the list of acceptable alternatives and limiting use of some of the most harmful HFCs where lower risk alternatives are available.  Last week, the Obama Administration also announced new private sector commitments and executive actions that will reduce the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon pollution globally through 2025.  Companies committed to introducing new climate-friendly alternatives, transitioning production lines and cold food chain equipment – the equipment that brings food from farm to market – away from potent HFCs.

City Action to Reduce Methane and Black Carbon from Municipal Solid Waste

The United States, in cooperation with over 60 country, city, non-government, and private sector partners, is taking action to reduce harmful methane and black carbon from municipal solid waste through a global city network that seeks to catalyse action in 1,000 cities by 2020.  The United States is providing direct technical assistance to cities to improve waste and emissions data, design waste policies and programs, and conduct project studies.  American cities like San Diego and San Francisco are also doing their share by building partnerships with cities overseas to help them apply our world-class practices in their own cities. 

U.S. Leadership on Forest Preservation

The United States joined other governments, the private sector, civil society, and indigenous peoples organizations in signing the New York Declaration on Forests.  Supporting the Declaration reaffirms the ongoing commitment of the United States to protecting the world’s forests and restoring degraded lands, including our pledge to restore 15 million hectares (ha) of forest land domestically as our contribution to the Bonn Challenge global goal to restore 150 million ha of forests and degraded lands by 2020.  The United States government has committed over $1.3 billion to support REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) since 2010.  The United States was a co-founder of the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL), which seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from REDD+, and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.  The ISFL co-founders announced at the Climate Summit that they have agreed to establish the first two large-scale, public-private programs in the Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia and the Luangwa Valley of Zambia.

New International Energy Partnerships

At the Climate Summit and SE4All events in New York, the United States announced its support for three group initiatives:

  • The Africa Clean Energy Corridor is a regional project in East Africa aimed at accelerating renewable energy development and complements the Administration’s Power Africa initiative; 
  • A coalition of foundations and private companies is launching “energy efficiency accelerators” to pursue policy reforms and commercialization of new technologies in buildings, appliances and lighting, and transport.  The United States will support these accelerators through the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) Clean Energy Solutions Center and other CEM initiatives; and
  • The SIDS Lighthouse Initiative complements U.S. efforts in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands and the new Caribbean Energy Security Initiative.