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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks to Global Washington

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
Special Representative, Global Partnership Initiative
Washington, DC
December 7, 2009


I’d like to begin by thanking Global Washington. I’ve met with so many passionate people who care about strengthening the global development sector. But you really have created something special here. Through this network, you are promoting the global development sector in the state of Washington in ways that make your group a model that others are noticing, learning from, and replicating. Congratulations on not only this conference and the relationships and results that will come from it, but also for all that you have already accomplished.

I would also like to thank Microsoft, who is a valued partner of the Global Partnership Initiative, particularly for the Shanghai Expo. The 2010 Shanghai World Expo will run from May 1st to October 30th and will be the largest Expo in history and the first ever hosted by China. During its 6 month operation, it is expected to attract 70 million visitors – more than any Expo in the 150 years of Expo history. When Secretary Clinton was sworn in less than a year ago, not a penny had been raised for the Shanghai Expo. In the past six months we’ve signed a participation agreement, we’ve named a commissioner general, and we’ve raised two-thirds of the money in the midst of difficult economic conditions. From the very beginning, Microsoft has been an extremely valuable partner in this effort and I would like to thank them for their leadership in supporting this strategic foreign policy priority.

Thank you for inviting me her today to outline the Obama Administration’s approach to global partnerships and to issue this challenge on behalf of the President and the Secretary of State: we must increase the scale of our collaborations in order to meet the scope of the shared problems our world is facing. I want to make just three main points and then I look forward to the Q&A session that will follow my speech so we can really get to know each other and find ways that our office and the Global Washington network can work together.

First, we must understand why the trends of globalization necessitate partnerships; second, I want to outline what we are doing to change the US government’s approach to partnerships and how networks like yours can play a role; and third, I want to discuss our priority areas that we are pursuing so that our strategy will turn the President and Secretary’s vision for partnerships a reality.

First, we must realize that the scope of the world’s challenges requires us to act now to create a better, smarter, and more equitable approach to globalization. In the 1960s, nearly 70% of all money flowing from the United States to the developing world was official development assistance; today, over 80% is from private sources. Globalization is making the pie that much bigger: the total value of Official Development Assistance has actually grown at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent, from $7.14 billion in 1980 to $27.6 billion in 2005. But even with this growth, the share of the pie has decreased from 70% to 20% of the total money flowing from the US to the developing world.

As globalization impacts our world in these ways, it acts as a double-edged sword with great rewards and even greater responsibilities; and with the recent economic crisis, we know that it can cut both ways. Yet if we don’t work together to solve the food, water, climate, health, and energy crises we are facing, the worst will be yet to come.

In this young century, the world has flattened, information exchanges have quickened and new technologies have become interwoven into the lifestyles of people everywhere. These powerful networks increasingly define a changing world. This has expanded the influence of new players in international affairs and diminished the impact that traditional actors, including governments, can have simply by doing business as usual.

No one government can address our world’s challenges alone. No group of world leaders could possibly come together and concoct the right solutions for any of these unprecedented challenges – whether it is climate change, HIV/AIDS, global poverty, food security, or human rights. And since all of these issues are interconnected, so too must our response be integrated and coordinated. The smarter, better, and more responsible answers require new partnerships among government, the private sector, civil society, philanthropies, faith-based communities, diaspora groups, and everyday citizens in order to solve our shared problems.

If any of our institutions or sectors tries to go it alone, we will unnecessarily limit ourselves, and we will fail by design. From the perspective of the US Government, our economic development and foreign assistance goals won’t be achieved without innovation, our diplomatic efforts will fall short, and our national security will be increasingly threatened unless we view global partnerships as critical to our mission.

That is why Secretary Clinton appointed me to work at the highest level of the State Department as her Special Representative for Global Partnerships, leading this administration’s efforts for global partnerships in the three Ds of Development, Diplomacy, and Defense. The launch of Secretary Clinton’s Global Partnership Initiative demonstrates partnerships are at the heart of what she refers to as “smart power.” This new approach to 21st century statecraft seeks to go beyond “soft power” and “hard power” by employing partnerships with non-governmental entities to achieve foreign affairs goals.

Similar to the “three D’s,” Secretary Clinton also refers to the Department’s work in partnerships as “the three Cs” of convening, catalyzing, and collaborating, in which the Department of State acts as a convener, a catalyst, and a collaborator. You will notice how closely these fit with your own themes of Convene, Strengthen, and Advocate; and this leads me to my second point, about how we will meet the challenges of our times and capitalize on all of these trends of a globalized world.

First, we will first work as a convener that brings people together from across regions and sectors on issues of common interest. I am committed to having the U.S. Government’s presence abroad – and our partners’ presence abroad – represent not the least common denominator, but rather, the highest possible multiplier effect for the results we can achieve together.

Second, we will also act as a catalyst, with our Foreign Service Officers and USAID development professionals working closely with businesses’ local and regional directors to implement new projects. Together, we can benefit local economies, bolster U.S. business interests overseas, and pursue the right kind of international development strategies. When we say that we are changing the way that we do business, we mean it. And we are equipping our Ambassadors with new toolkits and introducing incentive structures for our Foreign Service Officers in order to ensure that fostering partnerships becomes an integral part of their day-to-day jobs.

Third, we will act as a collaborator. We will lead interagency coordination so that when you are speaking to the U.S. Government, you will know that we have already compared notes and can respond with one voice. Many businesses have already partnered with one USG agency or another, but we are hoping to expand the base of support to include all U.S. Government presence abroad – through USAID, MCC, HHS, DOD and Commerce, to name a few – so that we can take a fully integrated approach. We will maximize our capacity on areas of mutual strategic importance everywhere that your organizations and the US Government are doing business.

As a convener, a catalyst, and a collaborator, the Department of State wants to work with each of your organizations over the coming years. We are creating real change in how government should not only work with other governments – but also philanthropies, NGOs, citizens, and businesses – and we are asking you to change the way that you approach government.

In this spirit, I want to outline the Secretary of State’s eight strategic priorities that can serve as a basis for building partnerships that advance our foreign policy goals.

First, we are seeking global economic recovery and growth by strengthening our own economy, advancing a robust development agenda, expanding trade that is free and fair, and boosting investment that creates decent jobs.

Second, we are working on food and water security as part of a collaborative global effort centered on country-led processes to improve food security.

Third, we are engaging diaspora communities by focusing on creative mechanisms through which they can contribute to political, economic, and social growth.

Fourth, we are reaching out to Muslims around the world by building partnerships to promote civil society, entrepreneurship and economic development, educational opportunity, scientific advances, and interfaith cooperation. In particular, we will be hosting a Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship this spring in Washington and we are asking for your help to make it a success.

Fifth, we are working on energy security by building partnerships that encourage clean energy investments and foster sustainable systems to address climate change and to lay the foundation for a prosperous clean-energy future.

Sixth, we are building partnerships to further the US foreign policy goals on democracy and human rights issues, including women’s empowerment, anti-trafficking in persons, protecting minority rights and freedom of the press, and fostering democracy and the rule of law.

Seventh, we are building partnerships with public and private actors for nuclear non-proliferation so that we move towards disarmament, reverse the threat of nuclear weapons, and work towards a world that can rely on peaceful nuclear energy.

And eighth, we are addressing global health issues, including HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB, and other pandemics, as well as the President’s Global Health Initiative and maternal health issues by working with PEPFAR, CDC, USAID and HHS.

On April 22, when Secretary Clinton announced the launch of the Global Partnership Initiative, she stated that the “doors to the State Department are wide open.” Which leads me to my third point: since organizations like Global Washington can play a key role in convening networks interested in development partnerships. I hope that you will know that this is not just a speech; it is an invitation to collaborate with us.

As President Obama has said, “Just as no nation can wall itself off from the world, no one nation -- no matter how large, no matter how powerful -- can meet these challenges alone. Nor can governments alone. Today's threats demand new partnerships across sectors and across societies -- creative collaborations to achieve what no one can accomplish alone. In short, we need a new spirit of global partnership.”

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