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Bill Clinton opens sixth annual meeting on philanthropy

Former US president Bill Clinton opened his sixth annual philanthropic summit in New York on 21 September with a call to philanthropic institutions and governments to work together to promote economic growth and achieve their philanthropic goals.

During his opening address Clinton said: "I hope when we come out of this meeting every one of you will have a clearer idea about how you can best use your resources in this climate to promote more economic growth in all the countries represented here."

This year the summit, organised by the Clinton Global Initiative, will have a specific focus on how best to respond to natural disasters such as those seen in Haiti and Pakistan, and for the first time will also host a plenary session on empowering girls and women. 

Clinton went on to say: "There's every reason to believe that the incidence of economically devastating natural disasters will accelerate around the world with the changing of the climate."

He also announced that 67 current and former heads of state, more than 600 businesses leaders and more than 500 leaders from NGOs and philanthropic institutions are attending the summit. In order to attend, commitments must be made to improve education and health, create a cleaner environment and empower the poor alongside disaster relief.

As the summit opened, Clinton said 17 new commitments to action has been pledged, mostly focusing on immediate and long-term solutions for those affected by the disasters in Haiti, Pakistan and the Gulf of Mexico.

The meeting will last three days and features renown philanthropists such as Bill Gates, heads of state including Barack Obama and business leaders like Muhtar Kent, chief executive of The Coca-Cola Company.

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