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Clinton Group Unites Private, Public Spheres on Big Issues

Amid the G-20 and U.N. summits, former President Bill Clinton's foundation brought together big names from both the private and public sectors to tackle major issues.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And next tonight, this was the week that was for meetings of international leaders. One was different than the others: The Clinton Global Initiative brought together big names from the private as well as the public worlds.

    Ray Suarez has been covering that event, and he talked with Judy Woodruff about it earlier this evening.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Ray, hello there.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Hi, Judy.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Bill Clinton, former president, a lot of clout, but no official power. So how does this work? What exactly goes on there?

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The Clinton Global Initiative happens at the same time as the opening of the United Nations General Assembly each year. But unlike the emphasis a couple of blocks away at the U.N., the Clinton Global Initiative emphasizes a sort of hybrid marketplace. It brings together government officials, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, bankers, and corporate chiefs, creates a kind of marketplace where investors can meet up with the people looking for investment.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And they go on to make commitments, some of them. Tell us about those. What are some examples of those this week?

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Commitments are the stock and trade of this week at the CGI in New York, and they can be really big things, like adding zinc and iron to packaged foods to improve the nutritional value of foods sold to people in the developing world, or insuring millions of the poorest farmers in the world in a way that they've never been able to be insured before, against crop losses, against the loss of life and their health.

    But also emphasizing small things, developing models for buildings that can be built easily and cheaply and still be energy-efficient. Over the years, the Clinton Global Initiative claims that it's put together commitments, deals, promises totaling $46 billion to improve the health, the sustainability, and the daily lives of millions of the poorest people on the Earth, $46 billion, as I said. And just today, Pegasus Capital Advisors announced a deal — five years, $2 billion — to help build eco-friendly housing.