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Policy Issues

We prioritize anti-corruption and seek to make it even harder for criminality and terrorism to take root and spread, to promote governments that are more stable and accountable, and to level the playing field for U.S. businesses to compete in every region.

Arms Control [Shutterstock]

We work to counter threats to the United States and the international order caused by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, advanced conventional weapons, and related materials, technologies, and expertise.

U.S. climate and environment diplomacy aspires to realize economic growth, energy security, and a healthy planet. The well-being of the natural world affects millions of U.S. jobs and the health of our people, and so we work with partners to advance U.S. interests on issues such as addressing the climate crisis, combating wildlife trafficking, fostering resilience, conserving nature, water security, and reducing harmful pollutants.

Bold action to tackle the climate crisis is more urgent than ever. The record-breaking heat, floods, storms, drought, and wildfires devastating communities around the world underscore the grave risks we already face. Through our actions at home and our leadership abroad, the United States is doing its part to build a zero-carbon future that creates good jobs and ensures a healthy, livable planet for generations to come.

Effectively combating transnational criminal organizations requires a comprehensive, committed, and well-coordinated approach between us, other federal agencies, and our partners around the world.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). [CDC Image - Photo Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM]

COVID-19 is a global challenge that requires a global response.  Together, we will lead the world out of this pandemic. The United States is exercising diplomatic leadership to mobilize an international response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its secondary impacts while strengthening global biosecurity infrastructure to address both the current crisis and future health-related threats.

Counter Terrorism [Shutterstock]

As the threats posed by terrorist organizations continue to evolve, we work to build global consensus to degrade and defeat these adversaries.  We also work closely with the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, and the Intelligence Community to lead an integrated whole-of-government approach to international counterterrorism.

In partnership with other countries, we lead the U.S. government’s efforts to promote an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable information and communications infrastructure that supports international trade and commerce, strengthens international security, and fosters free expression and innovation.

Our economic officers focus on building a strong U.S. economy that creates jobs and underpins national security, highlight economic considerations in policy formulation, and build the relationships needed to expand commercial ties that drive American prosperity.  

We promote U.S. interests globally on critical issues such as ensuring economic and energy security for the United States and its allies and partners, removing barriers to energy development and trade, and promoting U.S. best practices regarding transparency and good governance. We also work to deny terrorists and rogue nations access to funds derived from energy production.

Global Health [Shutterstock]

Outbreaks of infectious disease do not respect national boundaries. Halting and treating diseases at their points of origin is one of the best and most economical ways of saving lives and protecting Americans. We actively work to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.

The United States is committed to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy. We have identified four key priorities to advance gender equality and the status of women and girls around the world: women, peace, and security; women’s economic empowerment; gender-based violence; and adolescent girls.

The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. We work with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.

Women walking through rice terraces. (Pixabay; 2016)

We lead U.S. global engagement to combat human trafficking and support the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government. The United States follows the widely used “3P” paradigm — prosecution, protection, and prevention — to combat human trafficking worldwide. We also employ a “4th P” — for partnership — as a complementary means to achieve progress across the 3Ps and enlist all segments of society in the fight against modern slavery.

The United States works to efficiently and effectively develop and manage ocean resources with neighboring countries and the international community to preserve their health and wealth for many generations to come. The changes today in the Arctic — economic, social, and environmental — transcend national borders, opening new opportunities and making international cooperation critical for the Arctic’s continued sustainable development.

Refugees And Migration [Shutterstock]

The primary goal of U.S. humanitarian assistance is to save lives and alleviate suffering by ensuring that vulnerable and crisis-affected individuals receive assistance and protection.  U.S. funding provides life-saving assistance to tens of millions of displaced and crisis-affected people, including refugees, worldwide.

We execute public diplomacy programs that promote the value of science to the general public. We also implement capacity-building programs in emerging markets that train young people to become science and technology entrepreneurs. Our efforts contribute to scientific enterprises that hasten economic growth and advance U.S. foreign policy priorities.

Treaties and other international agreements are written agreements between sovereign states (or between states and international organizations) governed by international law.  The United States enters into more than 200 treaties and other international agreements each year.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future