Passport Processing Status Update

29 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The Department of State is committed to processing passport applications as expeditiously as possible.  Reducing the volume of pending passport applications, shortening processing times, and increasing agency counter services remain top priorities.

Today, we are updating our public information to reflect that routine processing of a passport application now takes 8-11 weeks, and expedited processing (for an additional $60) takes 5-7 weeks.

These new processing times reflect a return to the way we defined our processing times before the pandemic.  Our processing times now begin the day we receive your application at a passport agency or center, not on the day you mail your application or apply for a passport at a local acceptance facility.  We are no longer using door-to-door timeframes to calculate our estimated routine and expedited service times.  Mail times vary across the country.  Please plan ahead and apply early.

We will continue to provide regular and transparent updates about passport processing times, knowing how critical this information is to our fellow Americans and their travel plans.

For more information and the latest processing times, visit U.S. Passports (state.gov).

For press inquiries, please contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov.

 

Joint Statement of the Ministerial Meeting in Bogotá on the Causes and Challenges of Migration

29 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following Joint Statement was released by the Governments of Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and the United States on the occasion of the regional Migration Ministerial co-hosted by the United States and Colombia in Bogotá, Colombia on October 20, 2021.

Begin Text:

The Ministries of Foreign Relations and high-ranking representatives of Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and the United States of America met on October 20, 2021, in Bogotá, Colombia for an urgent discussion about the causes and challenges of irregular migration, and how to respond to the attendant issues that currently affect various countries in the Americas. The participants analyzed the current patterns of irregular migration in the Americas, noting that this phenomenon had grown exponentially in recent years. They also discussed the factors causing this migration, its characteristics, and the social, health, human rights, and security challenges facing countries of transit, destination, and return.

They also focused on ways to strengthen regional cooperation to work on the causes of irregular migration, including the lack of employment opportunities that would promote economic development and weakened governance in certain countries. They likewise sought to better understand and address these migratory flows by, among other things, combating national and transnational crime that relies on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, while taking into account the respective capacities of each country.

The participants concurred that the irregular flow of migrants requires a regional response, as well as global resources, rooted in solidarity toward migrants and among States, and in the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants. They therefore reached consensus on the need for measures with tangible results that will lead to human rights-based solutions, and that will benefit the countries involved and make it possible to resolve the issue of irregular migration in the Americas.

They prioritized respect for and the guarantee of the human rights of migrants, particularly women, children, and adolescents, especially unaccompanied minors, the majority of whom are physically, economically, and emotionally fragile, while also recognizing each country’s duty to manage, in accordance with its international commitments and domestic laws, the flow of migrants across international borders in a secure, humane, orderly, and regular fashion. They further committed to consider control, health, protection, and security measures in addition to actions to combat the crime of trafficking in persons and of migrant smuggling in particular. The foregoing includes their commitment to address these challenges through greater regional cooperation on migration, by promoting voluntary returns in accordance with applicable national and international laws, facilitating, within countries of origin, paths to legal migration for work, and expanding efforts to identify and investigate the trafficking-in-persons crimes committed against irregular migrants.

To combat trafficking in persons, the participants committed to coordinate existing mechanisms like the Quito Process, the South American Conference on Migration, and the Regional Conference on Migration, as well as others being developed, to strengthen regional cooperation on preventing, investigating, exchanging information about, and prosecuting crimes associated with migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. This effort includes ongoing consideration of forming a Working Group on Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons.

The attendees concurred that a joint effort is required to resolve the structural causes that lead to migration and intra-regional displacement, through policies and programs, like the Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), the Comprehensive Development Plan promoted by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and ECLAC, and the Build Back Better World initiative, among others, as a way to strengthen economic growth and spur development, infrastructure, production, and employment throughout the region. In turn, this effort will help strengthen and consolidate democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. In this vein, they intend to request that the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, CAF, and ECLAC submit a proposal on coordinating the development of production chains and physical infrastructure in the Americas and on investments and a strategy that will generate employment and income opportunities for citizens and receiving cities.

They shared the perspective that the opportunity exists to create a collective development strategy, taking into account successful models in the region, with a view to promoting conditions that favor investment and economic progress in the Americas. Accordingly, they committed to continue discussing this agenda, while encouraging more countries to participate and consolidating the details of the strategy through collaborative processes to address the challenges of irregular immigration. The emphasis was on immediate efforts that can be pursued with the certain hope of a better future for their citizens and of the consolidation of democracy in the Americas.

End Text.

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT: President Biden’s Historic Build Back Better Framework

29 Oct
President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework is historic and contains critical funding to combat climate change and strengthen our economy, while ensuring corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Since day one, President Biden has been focused on delivering for the middle class and that’s exactly what this framework does — taking critical steps to ensure everyone has a fair shot.

The Build Back Better Framework contains critical funding to combat climate change.

Washington Post: “New budget deal marks the biggest climate investment in U.S. history”

Bloomberg: “Biden’s Economic Plan Cuts U.S. Emissions By More Than a Gigaton”

Bloomberg: “Biden Sides With Detroit Automakers, Unions on EV Credits”

Wall Street Journal: “Biden’s Spending Bill Includes $555 Billion for Climate Measures”

It will invest in the American middle class, helping return Americans to the workforce while driving down inflation.

CBS News: “Yellen says ‘transformative’ $1.75 trillion framework will help return Americans to workforce and drive inflation down”

Letter From 61 Economists: “These once-in-a-generation investments will create millions of jobs, lower costs on essential expenses for American families and help position the United States to meet the enormous challenges of the 21st century.”

And it would be paid for by ensuring the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay their fair share.

Wall Street Journal: “Biden Turns to Taxes on Corporations, Millionaires to Pay for Agenda”

It’s no wonder economists and lawmakers are praising President Biden’s framework and calling on Congress to pass it.

Business Insider: “61 economists including a Nobel winner call on Congress to pass Biden’s social spending framework”

Spectrum News: “’What it contains is transformative’: Lawmakers praise the rollout of the Build Back Better Framework”
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Democrats Want To Vote On The Most Radical Bill In American History Without Reading It

29 Oct

House Democrats are pushing the most radical Far-Left Socialist piece of legislation in American history. The bill’s text is OVER 1,500 pages, and it is unimaginable that any Democrat has actually read the legislation, which was drafted behind closed doors and away from the public eye. This action is reminiscent of when Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats passed Obamacare without even reading it.

Why are Democrats so desperate to ram through this legislation without giving Congress or the American people a chance to read it? It’s because the legislation is still littered with a wish list of Far-Left Socialist policies that the American people have already rejected.

WHAT’S IN THE DEMOCRATS FAR-LEFT SOCIALIST TAX AND SPEND PACKAGE:

  • Provides the IRS nearly $80 BILLION, giving the agency the broad authority to target families, farmers, and small businesses.
  • Grants mass amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants despite the recent decision by the Senate Parliamentarian that this violates reconciliation rules.
  • Does not include the Hyde Amendment, allowing taxpayer dollars to be used to fund on demand abortions.
  • Perpetuates labor shortages by eliminating work requirements to receive welfare benefits for able bodied adults – at a time when there are over 10.4 million job openings.
  • Expands Obamacare subsidies through 2025, overwhelmingly benefiting wealthier Americans and subsidizing people who already have insurance.
  • Unnecessarily expands Medicare benefits at a time when the program is going broke, ultimately harming choices for our seniors.
  • Includes Civilian Climate Corps that would employ thousands of young people to work on climate-change mitigation projects.
  • Provides fake news organizations with up to 750 employees to get a tax cut at a time when their readership has declined due to their liberal bias.
  • Over $400 billion in small business tax hikes, which will be shouldered by Main Street job creators.
  • This bill impedes and bans domestic energy and mineral production, increasing our dependencies on resources supplied by OPEC, Russia, and China.
  • Raises taxes on natural gas, raising the costs of nearly everything.
  • $800 billion in corporate tax increases
  • Turns the Child Tax Credit (CTC) into a permanent cash for kids welfare without work program.

This legislation is also missing a Congressional Budget Office score, so it is impossible to know how much this legislation will increase Americans’ taxes.

More importantly, the Democrats Tax and Spend spree does nothing to address the numerous crises facing America. Instead, it will only worsen them.

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U.S. Leadership Approval Rebounds, Allies Say ‘America Is Back’ Thanks To President Biden

29 Oct
As President Biden makes his second foreign trip of his presidency, recent polling reveals global approval of U.S. leadership has rebounded after it hit a low under Trump. American allies agree that President Biden is restoring our credibility and leadership on the world stage. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, America is back. 

According to a recent Gallup poll, global approval of U.S. leadership substantially rebounded during the first six months of President Biden’s administration. 

Gallup: “A new Gallup report shows that as of early August 2021, across 46 countries and territories, median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 49%. This rating is up from the 30% median approval at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency and matches the rating during former President Barack Obama’s first year in office in 2009.”

Gallup: “Approval ratings of U.S. leadership increased substantially — by 10 percentage points or more — between 2020 and 2021 in 36 of the 46 countries and territories surveyed through the first half of the year.”

Here’s what leaders and senior officials from our allies are saying:

Latvian President Egils Levits: “It is undeniable that America is back.”

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong: “If you look at the records of his past statements regarding the Korean Peninsula, he’s been a very reasonable guy as to how we can resolve the Korea issue peacefully.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: “I think it’s important to say, given the discussions now taking place in Europe, that I experience Biden as very loyal to the transatlantic alliance.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: “America, she said, was moving ‘to once again take on the role of world leadership, a role only the United States can take on.’”
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What They’re Reading: President Biden’s Historic Build Back Better Framework Will Grow the Middle Class

29 Oct
From Indiana to Florida, Americans are picking up their local news this morning and reading about how President Biden is delivering on his promises to working people with the Build Back Better Framework. As local reports note, President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework will lower costs for working families, help people get back to work, and grow the economy. Together with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, President Biden’s agenda will rebuild the middle class and reward work, not wealth, so that everyone can get ahead. 

Here’s a look at what else voters in states across the country are reading about how the Build Back Better Framework will deliver for American families:

In Wisconsin: Spectrum News: ‘What it contains is transformative’: Lawmakers praise the rollout of the Build Back Better Framework

Wisconsin Democrats said the state stands to greatly benefit from the programs included in President Joe Biden’s revised Build Back Better Plan which the president announced Thursday. 

[…]

“These programs are really needed to help working families get ahead and that’s something, with all the new jobs that will be created; it’s something that is really critical,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

[…]

“We met with the President first thing this morning; he delivered a very impassioned speech about the necessity of moving forward with this agenda,” said Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. “I can’t tell you how many times we had infrastructure week here in Washington over the last 4.5 years, and it went nowhere. And now we’re on the cusp of passing the largest infrastructure reinvestment in America, in our lifetime.”

In North Carolina: News & Observer: What’s in Biden’s compromise spending plan, and how will it affect North Carolina?

In states like North Carolina which have not expanded Medicaid to more low-income people, the White House said the compromise plan would make millions of those people eligible for tax credits to pay premiums on Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.

[…]

The White House said it will not raise taxes on small business or anyone making less than $400,000 per year. In a statement, the White House said Biden “is confident this is a framework that can pass both houses of Congress.”

[…]

“In North Carolina, President Biden’s Build Back Better framework will deliver on issues critical to the future of our state, including expanding access to affordable, high quality child care, providing support for HBCUs, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap,” said Bobbie Richardson, chairwoman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, in a statement.

In Pennsylvania: WILK-AM: Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti talks Build Back Better on WILK’s Morning News

“It is still an enormously transformative bill, it invests in the type of things that we need…We’ve got to be investing in the next 100 years, not just 100 days or even the next 10 years. This is the type of bill that gets us on our way to do that from the climate resilience pieces to investing in things like universal pre-K.”

In Arizona: Arizona Republic: Why we’re Republicans who support the infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion companion reconciliation bill being debated in Congress would fix potholes in the largest sense possible. They would fund nonpartisan priorities such as better roads and bridges, clean water, clean energy, support for electric vehicles, energy efficiency, a more robust electric grid and more.

[…]

While we were elected in nonpartisan elections, we’re both proud to be Republicans. We believe in fiscal responsibility and government accountability, and the bills in Congress fall in line with our ethos. Washington should support responsible investments that boost local communities.

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The Praise for President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework Keeps On Coming

29 Oct
Yesterday, President Biden delivered on his promise to forge consensus and make government work for working people again by announcing the historic Build Back Better Framework. This framework is focused on fulfilling Joe Biden’s campaign promise to strengthen the middle class, and would do so much to improve the lives of Americans across the country. That’s why so many stakeholders continue to praise this framework.

Here’s what groups who have long been advocating for programs like these are saying about President Biden’s historic investment in climate, workers, child care, health care, the middle class, and so much more: 

AFSCME: “AFSCME’s Saunders: Build Back Better deal marks ‘sea change moment’ that will prioritize the needs of working families”

Protect Our Care: “Today’s announcement shows President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to deliver on a future where health care is a right, not a privilege.”

MoveOn: “The framework includes so much of what MoveOn members and progressives have supported for decades. It includes historic investments for the care our children and elders need, the biggest investments in history to tackle the climate crisis and advance a more equitable, clean energy economy, along with critical reductions to healthcare and childcare costs.”

SuperMajority: “SUPERMAJORITY APPLAUDS THE HISTORIC BUILD BACK BETTER FRAMEWORK”

National Women’s Law Center: “This framework brings our country closer to a more fair and just economy for workers and families.”

American Association of People with Disabilities: “We can acknowledge the work that remains ahead while also pausing to celebrate our successes. Today, AAPD is celebrating the funding for HCBS, affordable health care expansion, climate and universal pre-k provisions of the #BuildBackBetter agreement. These are huge wins.”

Little Lobbyists: “The inclusion $150B for home & community based services is an historic investment that will improve the lives of disabled people & caregivers. We look forward to continuing the work to #BuildBackBetter to create the future all our families deserve.”

Family Equality: “National LGBTQI+ Organizations Call on Congress to Pass Robust Build Back Better Legislation”

National Domestic Workers Alliance: “Build Back Better Reconciliation Framework Represents Historic Progress for Home Care Workers, Women of Color, Aging Adults, and People With Disabilities”

The Century Foundation: “This will be the most transformative investment in children and early education in generations.”
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An appeal to G20 leaders to make vaccines accessible to people on the move

29 Oct

We are writing to you on behalf of the millions around the world struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic far from home. Some have been forced to flee wars, conflict, persecution and human rights violations. Others are on the move to escape socioeconomic hardship or the consequences of climate change.

As strangers far from home, many are at risk of exclusion or neglect. Owing to their living situation, many face barriers accessing vaccinations, testing, treatment, care, and even reliable information.

It is a stark reality that some of the world’s poorest countries shoulder the greatest responsibility for supporting displaced people and other people on the move. They need a reliable and adequate supply of vaccines and other critical supplies to stabilize their fragile and over-burdened health systems, to help save the lives of their citizens, migrants, as well as refugees and other displaced people they host.

Yet the current vaccine equity gap between wealthier and low resource countries demonstrates a disregard for the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. For every 100 people in high-income countries, 133 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, while in low-income countries, only 4 doses per 100 people have been administered.

Vaccine inequity is costing lives every day, and continues to place everyone at risk. History and science make it clear: coordinated action with equitable access to public health resources is the only way to face down a global public health scourge like COVID-19. We need a strong, collective push to save lives, reduce suffering and ensure a sustainable global recovery.

And while vaccines are a very powerful tool, they’re not the only tool. Tests are needed to know where the virus is, treatments including dexamethasone and medical oxygen are needed to save lives, and tailored public health measures are needed to prevent transmission.

As the leaders of the world’s largest economies, you have the power and responsibility to help stem the pandemic by expanding access to vaccines and other tools for the people and places where these are in shortest supply.

We welcome the fact that this weekend’s summit in Rome will call for “courage and ambition” to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time, and specifically the need to recover from the pandemic and overcome inequality. We collectively call on you, G20 leaders, to commit to:

  1. Increase vaccine supplies for the world’s poorest: We call on the world’s leading economies to fully fund and implement the Strategic Plan and Budget for the ACT Accelerator, and to distribute vaccines, tests and treatments where they are needed most. If we are to recover from the pandemic, we must — at a minimum — meet the targets to vaccinate 40 per cent of the world’s population by year-end – and 70 per cent globally by mid-2022.
  2. Ensure access to vaccines for all people on the move: We call on every country to ensure that everyone on its territory regardless of legal status – including refugees, migrants, internally displaced people, asylum-seekers, and others on the move – have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment for COVID-19. They should adopt concrete measures to remove barriers to vaccination for everyone on their territory — for example the need for specific documents, geographical barriers,  the requirement in some settings that health care seekers are reported to immigration authorities, high fees — and fight misinformation that fuels vaccine hesitancy.
  3. Support low- and middle-income countries to combat COVID-19 with all available means: Low- and middle-income countries need comprehensive support – financial, political, technical, logistical – to vaccinate people quickly and effectively to expand access to tests and treatments, to implement tailored public health measures, and to build more resilient health systems to prepare for, prevent, detect and respond rapidly to future health emergencies.

We urge you to take swift action to ease the pandemic’s devastating human toll.

Yours faithfully,

Filippo Grandi
UN High Commissioner for Refugees  

António Vitorino
IOM Director General   

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Director-General      

Logo-WHO

 

2021 Indo-Pacific Business Forum Promotes an Open, Interconnected, Resilient, and Secure Indo-Pacific

29 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The Governments of the United States and India co-hosted the fourth annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) virtually October 28-29, 2021.  This marked the first time this event has been co-hosted in South Asia.  The IPBF advances the United States’ vision for an open, interconnected, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific region.  As the premier annual U.S. government-sponsored commercial diplomacy event for the region, the Forum facilitates business, government, and civil society participants in building connections and partnerships, exchanging best practices, and stimulating innovative thinking.  It showcases high-impact government and private sector activities to support pandemic recovery, job growth, and high-standard development for greater prosperity and economic inclusion in the Indo-Pacific.

More than 2,300 business and government leaders from the United States, India, economies of the Indo-Pacific region, and countries around the world participated.  The 2021 Indo-Pacific Business Forum provided the opportunity for business executives and government leaders to forge connections, learn about industry, regulatory, and policy trends, and explore new ways to contribute to regional and global economic recovery.  The key themes for the Forum were economic recovery and resilience; climate action; and digital innovation.

By hosting the Forum virtually, we eliminated the health risks associated with travel and large assemblies and facilitated a safe and productive commercial and diplomatic engagement despite the pandemic.

New U.S. Commercial Initiatives in Indo-Pacific

Participating U.S. and partner nation officials, and executives representing businesses operating in the Indo-Pacific region, highlighted a wide range of commercial deals and new initiatives, including:

  • Arizona-based First Solar formally announced a decision to invest $684 million in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for a new, vertically integrated solar module manufacturing facility.  The investment is linked with creating more than 1,000 jobs, with an anticipated 60 percent of the employment going to women. 
  • U.S. firm Bentley Systems announced a $1 billion acquisition and partnership with New Zealand-based Seequent, a global leader in 3D modeling software for the geosciences.  The deal will facilitate collaboration of software solutions between two groundbreaking infrastructure companies.
  • FedEx built a new $30 million express air cargo gateway at Clark International Airport in the Philippines.  The opening of the Clark gateway facility marks the 37th anniversary of FedEx in the Philippines.  FedEx will employ more than 900 team members at Clark.
  • Amazon Web Services announced the opening of a Cloud Region in New Zealand, valued as a $5.25 billion investment.  The cloud center is expected to create 1,000 jobs and boost the country’s digital economy.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced $49 million for the South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP).  This initiative will improve access to affordable, secure, reliable, and sustainable energy in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – strengthening systems and processes in line with these countries’ economic and energy-security priorities.
  • The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will make an equity investment in a Nepal-based private equity fund focused on small and medium enterprises.  The fund is targeted to reach $75 million in commitments for investment in portfolio companies in Nepal.  This project marks the DFC’s first investment in Nepal.
  • DFC is also providing a $50 million loan to Northern Arc Capital to expand its loan portfolio with a focus on loans for women-owned businesses and food security in India.  The loan is part of a co-financing with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which will also provide a $50 million loan.
  • A U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) feasibility study will help develop four utility-scale solar generation plants in collaboration with the Rural Electrification Finance Corporation in the Philippines.
  • USTDA is helping Vietnam’s Ecotek Corporation transform its Ecopark Township into a cutting-edge smart and sustainable city through technical assistance that will develop a project implementation roadmap. 

New U.S. and Partner Efforts to Advance an Open, Interconnected, Resilient, and Secure Indo-Pacific

  • The United States and Japan affirmed their shared commitment to support countries in the Indo-Pacific and around the world in their transition to clean energy while maintaining energy security and sustainable growth through a new Japan-U.S. Clean Energy Partnership (JUCEP).  The United States and Japan will collaborate to address climate change; support competitive energy markets; facilitate universal access to affordable, clean, and reliable energy; and engage Indo-Pacific and other partners to encourage rapid deployment of clean energy.
  • In Indonesia, USAID is investing $71.7 million over five years to support the country’s fight against the global climate crisis.  Subject to availability of funds, this new support will launch two new projects — the Sustainable Environmental Governance Across Regions (SEGAR) project and the Sustainable Energy for Indonesia’s Advancing Resilience (SINAR).  Efforts under these new programs will help the country adopt greater renewable energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen efforts to achieve inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
  • In the Philippines, USAID announced $82.4 million for three new projects that will promote interconnectedness and resilience.  The Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) activity will promote an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet by working with government partners and leading industry partners — including the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council — to improve the country’s ICT infrastructure, promote cybersecurity awareness, and bolster ICT protections.  The Climate Resilient Cities project will help cities in the Philippines adapt to, mitigate, and endure the impacts of climate change by increasing their access to climate financing and tools to build resilience, and the Energy Secure Philippines flagship project will promote the country’s key energy sector priorities and support its climate mitigation goals.
  • USTDA announced a call for aviation proposals to support new aviation infrastructure in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.  Interested U.S. firms and Southeast Asian and Pacific Island aviation stakeholders are encouraged to submit initial proposals for feasibility studies, technical assistance and pilot projects to develop airport, airspace, airline and other aviation infrastructure to USTDA by January 10, 2022.

Our Commitment to Indo-Pacific Economic Recovery and Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

As all nations strive to recover from the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of economic and commercial cooperation and partnership is paramount.  As the world’s largest economy and most generous humanitarian assistance donor, the United States is leading the way in that recovery effort, both at home and abroad.

The caliber of the United States leadership in the 2021 IPBF is evidence of the importance the United States places on this event.  Three U.S. Cabinet officials spoke at the 2021 Indo-Pacific Business Forum:

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken
  • Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh
  • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai

Nine U.S. Ambassadors and Chiefs of Mission from across the Indo-Pacific region also participated, along with senior State Department officials, including Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Acting Director Vinai Thummalapally served as Master of Ceremonies.  Senior government officials from Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Malaysia delivered remarks on behalf of their agencies.  Distinguished speakers from the private sector and partner organizations participated in various IPBF sessions, including executives and officials from:

  • AC Energy
  • Accenture
  • Actis
  • ADM
  • AECOM
  • Airports Corporation of Vietnam
  • Amazon
  • Anchorless Bangladesh
  • Apollo Hospitals Group
  • Avaada
  • Bank of America
  • Bharti Airtel
  • Black & Veatch
  • The Boeing Company
  • Boston Scientific
  • Cargill
  • Chart Industries
  • Chunghwa Telecom
  • Cisco Launchpad
  • Citigroup
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
  • The Consumer Goods Forum
  • Core Lithium
  • DBS Bank
  • Facebook
  • FedEx
  • The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
  • Fluence
  • IBM
  • IHS Markit
  • Intel
  • International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific
  • IQVIA
  • ITC
  • Industrial Technology Research Institute
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • JP Morgan
  • Mastercard
  • Mavenir
  • Micron
  • Microsoft
  • Minerals Council of Australia
  • Open RAN Policy Coalition
  • Oracle
  • Pacific Islands Forum
  • Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSC)
  • Port of Los Angeles
  • Qualcomm
  • Rakuten Mobile
  • RedDot Foundation
  • ReNew Power
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • SCG International
  • Shikho
  • ShopUp
  • State Bank of India
  • STL Access Solutions
  • Sunrise Energy Minerals
  • Sustainable Finance Institute Asia
  • Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)
  • Tangeng Advanced Vehicles
  • Tata Cleantech Capital
  • Tata Steel
  • Tesla
  • 3one4 Capital
  • United Airlines
  • UPS
  • U.S.-ASEAN Business Council
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum
  • Venable
  • WEConnect
  • Winbourne Consulting
  • Wipro

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency sponsored the Forum in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. India Business Council, U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum, AMCHAM India, and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.

For additional information on the 2021 Indo Pacific Business Forum please visit: https://www.indopacificbusinessforum.com/.

World Health Organization Secretariat announcement regarding the election of the next WHO Director-General

29 Oct

The appointment of the next Director-General of the World Health Organization will take place at the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly in May 2022 (WHA75). The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.

The election process began when Member States, through a circular letter sent by the WHO Secretariat in April 2021, were invited to submit proposals for candidates for the Director-General position. The deadline for submission of proposals was 23 September 2021. The date on which WHO is scheduled to publish information on candidates, including the curricula vitae and other particulars of their qualifications and experience as received from Member States, is to follow the closure of the last WHO Regional Committee meeting of the year.

As today marks the closure of the last Regional Committee meeting, WHO can announce that a single candidate was proposed by Member States by the 23 September 2021 deadline: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the incumbent Director-General.

Proposals from 28 WHO Member States, from all WHO regions, were received by the deadline: Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Oman, Portugal, Rwanda, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the 150th session of the Executive Board in January 2022, the Board will conduct an initial screening to ensure that the candidate meets the criteria decided by the Health Assembly, interview him and then decide on the nomination by secret ballot. The nomination will be submitted to WHA75.

The appointment will take place at WHA75 in May 2022, also by secret ballot. The term of office of the next Director-General will start on 16 August 2022. 

A Director-General can be re-appointed once. Therefore, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the incumbent Director-General, is eligible to be proposed for a second term of five years.

 

Note to media: The term “appointment” derives from WHO’s Constitution, Chapter V11, Article 31, here.

Typically, candidates are proposed by one Member State, although (as has happened on this occasion) the same candidate may be proposed by multiple Member States.

 

Online resources:

Proposals from the 28 Member States and the candidate’s CV and statement can be found here.

Information on process and timelines for the election of WHO Director-General, April 2021-May 2022, can be found here:

Documents concerning the election process for the WHO Director-General are available here.