Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Millennium Challenge Corporation Signing Ceremony

avatar Yesenia

Secretary Clinton: Thank you very much, Daniel, and thanks for all of your work directing the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and to all who worked with you in order to achieve this very impressive compact.The MCC embodies the United States’ commitment to work in partnership with nations around the world to support economic growth and deliver results that make a difference in people’s lives. So it is an honor to join the finance minister and so many other distinguished ministers, representatives of the Indonesian Government, ambassadors, and friends of — in the Indonesia-United States comprehensive partnership. This signing will further deepen the relationship between us. And I am very committed to doing all that we can to make sure that this compact represents the very best of that partnership.As you know, the MCC and the Government of Indonesia have worked for almost three years to develop this $600 million compact, one of our largest ever, to reduce poverty and promote economic growth hand-in-hand with the Indonesian Government and people. This is truly a milestone for us all.The size and scope of this compact over the next five years makes it an essential part of the U.S.-Indonesia comprehensive partnership that our presidents launched one year ago. The three projects in this compact reflect our shared values, and Indonesia’s priorities. And each support the economic and development pillar of our comprehensive partnership.

First, green development and efforts to mitigate climate change have long been rich areas of cooperation between our countries. We both understand that unsustainable land use practices threaten natural resources. Illegal logging, polluting of water resources undercuts Indonesia’s long-term economic growth, as does a lack of access to affordable, reliable electricity. So we want to work together to find ways to foster low carbon development in local communities. And I mentioned to the ambassador to the United States that I was so impressed by President Yudhoyono’s composition lauding the efforts on behalf of climate change and cooperative commitment to preserving the great beauty of Indonesia at the gala dinner last evening.

Under this compact, over half of the 600 million is devoted to the Green Prosperity Project. This will help provide viable renewable energy alternatives, and help support natural resource management. While we see this as an end in itself, we are particularly excited, because we think that rural people will be able to raise their incomes while reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and on logging. And it will complement Indonesia’s efforts to meet its international commitment of reducing projected greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 41 percent by 2020.

I am also pleased that Indonesia will have the first-ever MCC compact with a focus on early life nutrition. Ensuring adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second birthday is the single most effective investment we can make in a child’s physical and cognitive development. The scientific research is overwhelmingly clear: If you want a healthier, better educated workforce, it starts in those very early months of life. And ultimately, an early focus on nutrition can reduce poverty, promote broader prosperity, and improve the security and stability of communities and nations.

Indonesia is already making critical investments in this area, and we welcome Indonesia’s strong interest in joining the UN-sponsored SUN, Scaling Up Nutrition, movement. The Scaling Up Nutrition movement, called SUN, helps countries target under nutrition more effectively, and reach more people by coordinating investments, resources, and programs.

The Community-Based Nutrition to Prevent Stunting Project that we will be working on under the compact recognizes the importance of this investment, and that it pays dividends for generations. This project is expected to help as many as 2.9 million children and their families in 7,000 villages where the rates of childhood under-nutrition and stunting are especially high. We are very eager, not only to partner with Indonesia, but to learn from Indonesia’s progress, and together to help carry these lessons on to mothers and children all over the world.

The third leg of this compact reflects Indonesia’s commitment to being a leader in open and transparent government. The Procurement Modernization Project will support two of Indonesia’s presidential regulations to reform and improve the government’s system for making purchases on behalf of the people, everything from office supplies to maintenance contracts. We thinking, working with our Indonesian partners, that this proposal has the potential to save as much as $15 billion annually for the government and people of Indonesia, and it will help develop the Indonesian Government’s human resources by supporting career paths for civil servants who have the authority and incentive to do their jobs well.

And Indonesia, as one of the co-founders of the Open Government Partnership and a member of its steering committee, is positioned to really help demonstrate modernizing government practices to countries not only throughout the region but far beyond. Open government practices save money, reduce corruption, improve efficiency and accountability, and produce results for citizens. And we think Indonesia will help shape the international community’s thinking on procurement reform.

So, each of these projects represents a significant step forward in our partnership, and we are so excited about this Millennium Challenge Corporation’s compact. I look forward to signing it in just a few minutes with my counterpart, Minister Martowardojo, and I invite him now to please take the podium to share his thoughts. Thank you. (Applause.)

Remarks originally posted on state.gov.