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Strategic Goal 4 - Selected Strategic Priorities and Analyses

Bureau of Resource Management
April 21, 2011


ENERGY SECURITY: Enhance United States and global energy security by promoting open, transparent, integrated, and diversified energy markets; encouraging appropriate energy sector investments; and developing and sharing clean energy.

Analysis: A primary focus of the Department of State’s diplomatic efforts in the area of energy security is promoting the development and implementation of policies in foreign governments designed to diversify energy sources and foster growth in the clean energy sector. An illustrative indicator for this Strategic Goal is the percent of world energy supplies from non-oil sources. Results that indicated increased use of non-petroleum energy sources around the globe from FY 2007 to FY 2009 have since leveled off. In FY 2010, the percentage of world energy supplies from non-oil sources remained at the same level as the FY 2009 rate, likely reflecting a decrease in near-term demand and financing difficulties as a result of the global economic downturn. In the long term, the figures suggest a steady trend towards broader diversification of energy sources. USAID complements diplomatic efforts with direct investment in energy infrastructure and technical assistance to improve the enabling environment for sustainable energy provision.

TRADE AND INVESTMENT: Promote increased trade and investment worldwide on both multilateral and bilateral levels through market-opening international agreements and the further integration of developing countries into the international trading system.

Analysis: In the area of Trade and Investment, data reflect declining economic trends in Africa consistent with the global recession. The level of two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, another illustrative indicator for this goal, decreased in FY 2009. While data for FY 2010 is not yet available, trade is expected to rebound as part of the recovery from the recession. Recovery is vital for Africa to build on recent gains in economic growth, living standards, and poverty reduction.

AGRICULTURE: Support increased productivity and growth in the international agriculture sector by promoting expanded agricultural trade and market systems, broadening the application of scientific and technical advances (including biotechnology), and encouraging sustainable natural resource management.

Analysis: Increased agricultural productivity is an important goal for nearly all of the countries to which the United States provides assistance. The number of men and women benefiting from U.S. assistance who apply new technologies or management practices that increase their productivity continues to rise. In FY 2010, the target of 897,881 people was exceeded by 67.5 percent. Success comes from an increased emphasis on extension and outreach, expansion of activities to new areas and crops, and the impact of prior programs on livelihoods. Previous successes powerfully demonstrated the benefit of using improved crop varieties and better cultivation techniques. Many beneficiaries are among the most vulnerable populations and include a significant number of women. Activities launched under the Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative directly target women because of the key role women play in agriculture. Gender awareness is also being promoted among implementing partners and their host-country counterparts.

PRIVATE-SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS: Promote economic environments that encourage entrepreneurship, competition, and investment, and empower men, women, and enterprises to take advantage of economic opportunity.

Analysis: Key to sustained economic growth is increasing productivity at the level of firms, from microenterprises and family farms to multinational corporations. In many poor countries, complex and costly regulations discourage firms from investing in new technologies and inhibit productivity growth. A primary focus of U.S. foreign assistance is removing unnecessary regulation. Evidence indicates this is an effective way to improve the microeconomic environment, reduce corruption, and encourage private-sector-led growth. USAID also provides direct assistance to empower men, women, and enterprises to take advantage of new economic opportunities. The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is a new indicator in FY 2010. GCI generates a score by monitoring 12 determinants of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation. Higher scores reflect improvements in the business environment conducive to trade and investment, and indicate that countries have implemented policies that will lead to greater economic growth and poverty reduction.

ENVIRONMENT: Promote partnerships for economic development that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and create other co-benefits by using and developing markets to improve energy efficiency, enhance conservation and biodiversity, and expand low-carbon energy sources.

Analysis: Greenhouse gas emissions reduced or sequestered as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent is an internationally-recognized measure of climate-change mitigation. It enables comparison of impacts from activities that reduce, avoid, or store carbon in the energy, industry, transport, land-use, agriculture, forestry, and conservation sectors. Results can be aggregated to demonstrate program-wide impact on reducing atmospheric inputs that lead to climate change. Preliminary FY 2010 results fell below the target to reduce or sequester emissions by 133 million metric tons. This result is due to a shift in emphasis to more cost-effective activities that seek transformational change through policy reform, outreach, and training. These activities do not lead to easily quantifiable near-term emissions reductions, and long-term impact may be indirect or subject to a substantial time lag. To improve results over the long term, the President’s Global Climate Change Initiative will work with partner countries to develop long term strategies, increase capacity to inventory greenhouse gas and participate in carbon markets, improve access to private finance, and reform the energy sector. Targets for FY 2011 and FY 2012 have been reduced to reflect the low level of funding for clean energy activities in FY 2009 and the completion of some larger energy programs in Georgia, Indonesia, and Liberia. In addition, greater accuracy in emissions accounting led to lower estimated results in FY 2009 and FY 2010, consequently lowering targets for the future.

Global Climate Change Initiative

Photo showing the silhouette of Secretary of State Clinton as she arrives for a press conference at the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The silhouette of Secretary of State Clinton as she arrives for a press conference at the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. ©AFP Image

Climate change is one of the century’s greatest challenges, and will be a priority of U.S. diplomacy and development work for years to come. Climate change can compound preexisting social stresses—including poverty, hunger, conflict, migration, and the spread of disease—and threatens to diminish the habitability of the planet.

In December 2009, aided by U.S. leadership, the international community took a meaningful and unprecedented step forward in international climate negotiations. The resulting Copenhagen Accord outlines key elements that are essential to a long-term solution to the climate change challenge:

  • Recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius
  • Ensuring action by all major economies to mitigate climate change
  • Promoting transparency to see that actions are taken
  • Providing financial and technological support to help the poorest and most vulnerable developing nations

To respond to the profound threat that global climate change poses to development, the United States has launched the Global Climate Change Initiative to spur reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate change adaptation in vulnerable countries and communities. As part of this effort, the United States has committed to contributing its share of a sum approaching $30 billion over the 2010–2012 period, as called for in the Copenhagen Accord, for “fast-start” funding to assist developing countries address climate change.

As the lead entity in the U.S. Government for bilateral and regional assistance, USAID focuses on helping partner countries to establish the policy environments, improved governance, and financial incentives to set their economies on a low-emissions path of sustainable development and reduce vulnerability to climate impacts. USAID investments are working to spur reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and to promote climate change adaptation in vulnerable countries and communities. As the Administration’s chief climate negotiator, the Department of State’s Special Envoy for Climate Change plays a central role in developing U.S. international policy on climate and representing the United States internationally in bilateral and multilateral negotiations regarding climate change.

For more information, visit Environment and Climate.


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