State of Global Partnerships 2017 Report

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March 6, 2017


Greetings, Deputy Special Representative Thomas Debass
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Featured Partnerships

SDG 1: No Poverty — Peru Cacao Alliance
SDG 2: Zero Hunger — Feed the Future
SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being — DREAMS & the Dreams Innovation Challenge
SDG 4: Quality Education — Stevens Initiative
SDG 5: Gender Equality — espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program
SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation — Wash for Health 1
SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy — Power Africa
SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth — Global Business Institute
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure — Global Connect Initiative
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities — Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities — The Secondary Cities Initiative
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production — Mitigating Plastic Pollution of the Ocean
SDG 13: Climate Action —“Our Cities, Our Climate”
SDG 14: Life Below Water — ApHRICA: “Ocean pH research Integration and Collaboration in Africa”
SDG 15: Life on Land — Zoohackathon
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions — Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Expression
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals — Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

Stay Tuned


Deputy Special Representative Thomas Debass

Today more than ever, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State recognizes that our global community’s top diplomacy and development goals cannot be achieved alone. When governments engage in cross-sectoral collaboration with non-governmental partners, we leverage each other’s unique individual resources, expertise, and experiences, better enabling us to create innovative solutions for the challenges impacting business, government and society.

A critical mechanism for strengthening diplomatic connections and promoting economic growth, public-private partnerships (P3s) are an especially effective tool in fostering innovative solutions to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 15-year global agenda 193 countries adopted in 2015. This year as part of Global Partnerships Week, the U.S. Department of State is honored to release the annual State of Global Partnerships Report with a special focus on our work to implement the SDGs. The Report seeks to provide a snapshot of the type of public-private partnerships organized by the U.S. Government alongside non-governmental entities, while showcasing how each partnership addresses at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Whether your organization’s mission is most aligned with Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure (SDG 9) or Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) for instance, we hope the 17 partnerships represented in this Report inspire you to embrace public-private partnerships as a mechanism for achieving mutual goals and encourage you to consider using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for finding shared value amongst current or potential partners.

As always, we look forward to staying in touch on Facebook/Twitter: @GPatState or


Thomas Debass
Deputy Special Representative for Global Partnerships
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships


The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships is an entry point for collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, the public and private sectors, and civil society. Launched in 2008, S/GP aims to strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world through partnerships that leverage the creativity, innovation, and core business resources of partners for greater impact.

Non-traditional partners include businesses, philanthropy, and community organizations that have become a core feature of 21st century statecraft as outlined in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. S/GP engages the private sector to advance the Secretary of State’s top policy priorities as well as works to institutionalize private sector collaboration throughout the rest of the U.S. Department of State. Using partnerships in innovative ways to add integral value to the Department of State’s mission, S/GP strengthens U.S. diplomacy and development around the world by tapping new networks and technologies while leveraging specialized expertise. Public-private partnerships have become a critical tool which enables the U.S. Government to leverage the innovation, resources, and solutions-driven approach of the private sector.

S/GP’s mission is to build public-private partnerships that strengthen diplomacy and development outcomes by serving as:

  • Convener, bringing together people from across regions and sectors to work together on issues of common interest.
  • Catalyst, launching new projects, actively seeking new solutions, and providing vital training and technical assistance to facilitate additional projects.
  • Collaborator, working closely with our partners to plan and implement projects, learning from each other, and maximizing our impact by leveraging best practices.
  • Cultivator, providing expertise, access to private sector networks, and mentorship to nurture innovative new partnerships.


Formally adopted by 193 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the global framework outlining the fight against poverty, inequality, injustice, and a range of other challenges facing our global community. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development builds on the success of the Millennium Development Goals, representing an unprecedented global commitment to investing in our collective future and achieving progress on the world’s most significant social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Each of the 17 global goals has specific targets to measure progress for every country in the world. The global goals represent a universal agenda: they apply not only to developing countries, but to developed ones, and set measurable targets for all nations to achieve by 2030. In order to achieve these economic, social, and environmental outcomes, governments, companies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and citizens, all have an essential role. This could include driving inclusive economic growth, investing in gender equality, addressing climate change and protecting our oceans, eliminating food insecurity, and promoting peaceful and just societies.

Without a focus on building strong public-private partnerships, we will not achieve the SDGs by 2030. Partnerships in critical sectors, such as finance, technology, and capacity building are essential to global macroeconomic stability. We cannot end poverty, make strides in industry, innovation, and infrastructure, or ensure good health and well-being for all, for example, without shared resources and collaboration between the public and private sectors. The United States is committed to doing our part to make this historic agreement a reality by 2030. We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement the SDGs based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders, and all people. The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the SDGs are realized. Together, we can and will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


SDG 1: No Poverty — Peru Cacao Alliance

Partners: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Palladium, Agrobanco, Acopagro, Athelia Climate Fund, Barry Callebaut, CARANA Agroforestal Peru, Honda, Husqvarna, ICAM, Inka Crops, Grupo Megamar, NaanDanJain, Reforestadora Amazonica, Romex Trading and AgroIndustria, San Fernando, Unitera Peru, and Yara.

Description: The Peru Cacao Alliance promotes climate-smart agriculture in former coca-growing and deforested areas of the Peruvian Amazon. The Alliance aims to create a self-sustaining cacao industry that will provide some 20,000 rural farmers in three regions of the Peruvian Amazon with a competitive alternative to coca cultivation and logging and a sustainable income above the poverty line.

How it works: In its initial phase, the Alliance supported 17,000 farmers who planted 28,000 hectares of high quality cacao. Now in its second phase, USAID and its implementing partners have brought together 16 private enterprises, leaders in the Peruvian and international cacao/chocolate value chain, technology providers, lenders, and investors, who have collectively committed to investing more than $50 million to create a sustainable cacao industry. Partners work with smallholder farmers to improve yields and quality to reach the production volume needed to increase access to high value markets where cacao fetches higher prices. The partnership facilitates large-scale access to credit for on-farm and post-harvest investments. Outcomes from the program’s second phase will concurrently contribute to reforestation, biodiversity protection, and economic empowerment of women.


  • In Phase One, leveraged over $36 million in private sector investment to generate nearly 18,000 jobs and provide sustainable future income.
  • In Phase Two, yields are expected to increase by 70 percent and sales to $300 million over a period of five years.


SDG 2: Zero Hunger — Feed the Future

Partners: U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, and Treasury; Millennium Challenge Corporation; Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Peace Corps; U.S. African Development Foundation; U.S. Geological Survey; Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; a host of U.S., multinational and local businesses.

Description: Feed the Future is America’s initiative to combat global hunger and poverty; it aims to build long-term food security and stimulate broad-based, long-lasting economic growth, which host countries ultimately own and lead.

How it works: Feed the Future creates partnerships with American, multinational, and local companies that help achieve development goals and enable private sector partners to advance their bottom line. Feed the Future’s private sector partners are thought leaders who bring market access, cutting-edge business practices and innovative insights to the development table. These “win-win” partnerships advance the impact of sustainable development and foster private sector-led growth in emerging markets. Collaborations like these are fundamental to reducing poverty, fighting hunger and improving nutrition across the globe.


  • Created nearly 5,000 new public-private partnerships, leveraged more than $600 million in private sector capital investment, and helped farmers generate more than $800 million in new agricultural sales in a year.
  • Helped reduce poverty and malnutrition by up to one-third in some of the areas where Feed the Future works.


SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being — DREAMS & the DREAMS Innovation Challenge

Partners: U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Girl Effect; Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV (a Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson); Gilead Sciences; and Viiv Healthcare.

Description: DREAMS is an ambitious $385 million partnership with the goal of reducing HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in ten sub-Saharan African countries where nearly half of all new HIV infections occurred among AGYW globally in 2014: Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. DREAM’s goal is to help girls become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women. The Innovation Challenge was launched to infuse additional resources and innovative approaches to meet the urgent and complex needs of AGYW in sub-Saharan Africa.

How it works: DREAMS delivers a core package that combines evidence-based approaches beyond the health sector to address the structural drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education. Intervention mechanisms broadly include: condom and contraceptive promotion, HIV testing and counseling, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), sexual health education, social asset building, and community programs to destigmatize HIV. The Innovation Challenge focuses on strengthening capacity for service delivery, keeping girls in secondary school, linking men to health services, supporting PrEP, and providing bridges to employment.


  • Provided over 1 million AGYW with services, including: critical comprehensive HIV prevention interventions to reduce HIV risk; education and social support to keep girls in school; and after-school and community-based AGYW clubs focused on providing girls tools for HIV risk reduction, life-skills, and economic empowerment.
  • Selected 55 winners to implement the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, over half of which are small organizations and/or new PEPFAR partners, including faith-based and community-based organizations.


SDG 4: Quality Education — Stevens Initiative

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships; governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates; Bezos Family Foundation; and The Aspen Institute.

Description: The Stevens Initiative is a multilateral public-private partnership designed to increase people-to-people exchange between youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa as a lasting tribute to the legacy of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The Initiative uses technology to connect youth in secondary through post-secondary education with their peers from around the world.

How it works: Through structured online engagements between youth at various education levels, the Initiative increases mutual understanding and equips a generation of globally minded youth with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. The Stevens Initiative provides funding through merit-based competitions for organizations to administer virtual exchange programs between youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. The Initiative also supports in-person exchanges to complement participants’ virtual exchange experiences.


  • The Bezos Foundation contributed over $9 million and pledged an additional $15 million; foreign governments contributed over $2 million.
  • In 2016, ten U.S. organizations administered virtual exchanges that reached more than 21,000 students in 25 U.S. states and 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


SDG 5: Gender Equality — espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; espnW; University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society; and over 75 American organizations in the business, education, media, non-profit and sports sectors.

Description: Launched in 2012, the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) pairs emerging female leaders from around the globe with female executives from leading U.S. companies in the sports sector for a month-long mentorship experience. As one of the cornerstones of the U.S. Department of State’s initiatives to empower women through sports, the Global Sports Mentoring Program supports the U.S. foreign policy goal of advancing the status of women and girls around the world by helping them transcend gender stereotypes and encouraging them to be leaders in their communities.

How it works: espnW works with the U.S. Department of State to secure mentors and host organizations with an interest in empowering emerging leaders to serve their local communities by increasing access to and opportunities for participation in sports. U.S. Embassies nominate program participants, who are between the ages of 25 and 40, based on their accomplishments and commitments to contribute to the development of their country’s sports sectors. Each participant must craft an action plan to create sports opportunities for girls and women in their country of origin. Mentors provide participants with opportunities to cultivate management and business skills in an American sports environment, and participants become part of a global network of strong women leaders in sports.


  • Since 2012, the GSMP to empower women has included 82 international participants, including Olympians, Paralympians, journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, sports administrators, and others.
  • From 2012 to 2016, espnW GSMP emerging leader alumni have forged 315 partnerships with a variety of local and international organizations, corporations, and government entities to implement their action plans.
  • Emerging Leaders have established new organizations or NGOs, such as:
    • Nungshi and Tashi Malik of India’s NungshiTashi Foundation to help young girls in India obtain employment in the mountaineering industry.
    • Chyloe Kurdas’ 2016 pivotal role in the launch of the national women’s Australian Football League (AFL) competition.


SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation — Wash for Health 1 (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene)

Partners: U.S. Agency for International Development/Ghana (USAID/Ghana), The Coca Cola Africa Foundation, and Rotary International.

Description: The Ghana Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (GWASH) Project began as a four-year (2009-2013) initiative to improve access to potable water and sanitation facilities and to promote hygiene. The project is engaged in more than 160 communities in five regions in Ghana: Western, Central, Eastern, Volta, and the Greater Accra. USAID/Ghana developed two separate PPPs dedicated to constructing and rehabilitating small town water systems such as mechanical and manual boreholes and rainwater harvesting schemes, promoting behavioral changes in hygiene, and building local capacity to manage all constructed GWASH facilities.

1. USAID/Ghana – Rotary International:

How it works: Rotary International is responsible for construction activities, including drilling boreholes for institutional and household latrines. USAID is responsible for monitoring and evaluation activities, building local management capacity, and conducting behavior change communication campaigns. Each partner contributed $2 million.


  • Construction of 57 boreholes, 20 wells, 41 public school latrines, three public toilet and shower-block units, and three mechanized water supply and distribution systems.

2. USAID/Ghana – Coca-Cola Africa Foundation

How it works: The PPP focuses on providing access to improve potable water and basic sanitation in six communities. Coca-Cola manages local construction companies and provides project financial oversight. USAID is responsible for monitoring and evaluation activities, building local management capacity, and conducting behavior change communication campaigns. Both partners contributed $623,000.


  • Installed decentralized water treatment facilities to improve access to safe water and constructed two bio-gas latrine facilities, five ventilated improved pit latrines, 233 household latrines, and 20 handwashing stations.


SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy — Power Africa

Partners: The World Bank Group; the African Development Bank; the European Union; the Governments of Canada, France, Norway, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development; the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative; the International Renewable Energy Agency; the U.S. Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; U.S. Trade and Development Agency; U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, and Energy; U.S. Agency for International Development; Millennium Challenge Corporation; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. African Development Foundation; more than 120 private sector companies; African governments and institutions; and civil society organizations.

Description: Power Africa is a U.S. government-led partnership that comprises 12 U.S. government agencies and a diverse coalition of more than 140 public and private sector partners that have committed more than $54 billion in investments in sub-Saharan Africa’s energy sector. Power Africa’s goals are to double Africans’ access to electricity by adding 60 million new connections and increasing generation capacity by 30,000 MW by 2030.

How it works: Power Africa leverages private capital to accelerate and maximize development impact. The partnership engages directly with the private sector to identify market imperfections that constrain investment in Africa’s power sector and impede projects from moving forward. To help advance transactions, Power Africa mobilizes the wide range of resources of the U.S. government and more than 140 public and private sector partners, including early stage financing and risk mitigation, policy and regulatory design and reform, capacity building, and legal assistance.


  • Supported the financial close of over 5,700 MW of power projects.
  • Yielded over 8 million connections, providing energy access for more than 40 million people.
  • Mobilized more than $54 billion in financing commitments from more than 140 public and private sector partners.


SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth — Global Business Institute

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), The Coca-Cola Company, and Indiana University.

Description: This partnership was established to encourage entrepreneurship and business innovation among young people in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. For the past five years, Coca-Cola and NEA have jointly sponsored a scholarship program at Indiana University for young entrepreneurs from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan to enable them to learn about business in the context of American culture and to build key skills necessary for business development and entrepreneurship.

How it Works: NEA and Coca-Cola jointly fund the program. NEA Embassies select participants and arrange visas for the entrepreneurs; Coca-Cola funds travel. Based on the core elements of the Kelley School of Business’ undergraduate program, the Global Business Institute’s three-and-a-half week program provides selected entrepreneurs a basic understanding of American business practices and pedagogy. The program requires each student to develop a feasibility study for a business idea to launch in his or her home country and to learn business and project management skills, such as: budgeting, business pitch development and delivery. The program concludes with a “Day at State” which consists of an overview of the U.S. Department of State’s function and an opportunity to meet with regional desk officers.


  • Seventy-three Global Business Institute alums have started their own businesses following the program, creating more than 270 jobs.
  • Sixty-eight percent of alumni are engaged in entrepreneurial activities, including: entrepreneurship clubs, start-ups, and start-up competitions.
  • In 2016, more than 6,000 students from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, and Tunisia applied for 100 program spots.


SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure — Global Connect Initiative

Partners : Thirteen U.S. government agencies and commissions, including the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs; the U.S. Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Federal Communications Commission (FCC); U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank; and numerous private sector and civil society organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Description: The Global Connect Initiative (GCI), an initiative led by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, seeks to support SDG 9’s goal of providing universal and affordable access to the Internet by connecting the next 1.5 billion people to the Internet by 2020. GCI is based on the notion that all stakeholders— governments, the private sector, civil society, multilateral development banks, and international organizations—must play their part to expand digital connectivity. The GCI seeks to mainstream the idea that connectivity is as critical to economic development as other forms of infrastructure.

How it works: GCI works to encourage foreign countries to prioritize Internet connectivity in development plans, promote the implementation of technical and regulatory best practices, and encourage the development of digital literacy programs in developing nations. The initiative seeks to raise awareness and encourage cooperation among stakeholders.


  • The Department of State and the Federal Communications Commission provided capacity building in telecommunications regulations and spectrum management to Argentina, a new GCI partner.
  • OPIC financed over $1 billion of information and communication technology projects worldwide, including commitments of $171 million in India and $4.1 million in Kenya in 2016.
  • USAID, through its Global Broadband and Innovations Program, with partners such as Microsoft and NetHope, implemented development assistance programs to expand connectivity in Indonesia, Botswana, Jamaica, Kenya, and the Philippines.


SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities — Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Kiva, Bank of America, PepsiCo Foundation, BlackRock, Inc., and Milaap.

Description: According to the International Finance Corporation, as many as 70 percent of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in developing economies are unserved or underserved by financial institutions. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF) is a matching loan fund that provides women with direct access to capital, addressing the gender inequality in access to capital that prevents women from fully participating in the economy, especially at the SME level. Through a unique blend of crowdfunding, capacity building, data collection, and advocacy, the WEF empowers individual women entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses and create jobs, thereby empowering entire communities.

How it works: Public and private donors contribute $250,000 or more to the WEF. The WEF matches, dollar-for-dollar, money lent to women entrepreneurs on Kiva’s online platform by private individuals. Kiva tracks loan data to measure the effectiveness of WEF in expanding access to finance. U.S. Embassies and Consulates will use the data to work with the public and private sectors to expand women’s access to capital. The data will also inform the U.S. Department of State’s efforts to develop programs and promote legal and regulatory reforms to broaden women’s financial inclusion.


  • Enables corporations, foundations, multilaterals and individuals to support direct loans to 1.5 million women in 86 countries around the world.
  • Since February 2016:
    • $1 million raised for loans for women entrepreneurs.
    • Over 500 loans funded throughout the world.


SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities — The Secondary Cities Initiative

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; implementing partners include, American Association of Geographers, Colorado State University, EcoCity Builders, Esri, Kathmandu Living Labs, Wisnu Foundation, and other public and private sector partners.

Description: Secondary cities are small or mid-sized cities that serve as regional hubs for commerce, logistics, services, and governance. Because these cities are often data-poor, under-resourced, and lag in infrastructure and essential services, they experience unplanned and informal growth patterns and exhibit environmental security and sustainability issues. The Secondary Cities (2C) initiative builds international partnerships to enhance geospatial capacity and create data about secondary cities that will enable local science-based decision making. Geospatial tools help build resilience against natural disasters and climate change, and aid urban planning and management of growth.

How It Works: Secondary Cities (2C) local partners build relationships in the field working with U.S. Embassies and local government officials, universities, and non-governmental organizations. The 2C project and partners support any combination of open source and proprietary geospatial tools and technologies for data generation, data management and sharing, data visualization, and remote sensing.


  • Over 37 community engagement activities held in the first six 2C projects to expand the role of geographic data in addressing local challenges such as emergency preparedness, waste management, and water management.
  • Over 386 new open data layers shared publically on the Secondary Cities GeoNode data portal that enable local science-based decision making in urban planning.


SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production — Mitigating Plastic Pollution of the Ocean

Partners: U.S. Embassies Copenhagen, Tallinn, Lisbon, Rome, and Valleta; National Aquarium of Denmark; Plastic Change (Danish NGO); European Union (EU) Directorate (DG) for Maritime Issues and Fisheries; Italian Ministry of Fisheries; Energy Discovery Center Tallinn; Ciencia Viva (Lisbon), Genoa Aquarium (Italy); and other private sector partners.

Description: Every year, 10 million tons of plastic are discharged into the oceans. In some areas of the world’s oceans, the amount of plastic exceeds the amount of plankton by five times, and collectively, the areas of decomposed plastic are as large as the continent of Africa. On October 28, 2016, the National Aquarium Denmark, NGO “Plastic Change,” and U.S. Embassy Copenhagen launched a public education exhibition on plastic pollution of the oceans.

How it works: The interactive exhibition promotes awareness about plastics pollution, describes the impact of micro-plastics on the ocean environment, and provides examples of actions individuals can take at home to prevent micro-plastics pollution. The exhibit will travel to four EU member states (Estonia, Portugal, Italy, and Malta) to raise public awareness and highlight U.S. leadership on this issue in the lead up to the 2017 EU-hosted Our Ocean conference in Malta.


  • Creates public awareness about reducing marine pollution, especially plastics in the marine environment, and advancing sustainable consumption and production.
  • Strengthens U.S. strategic alignment with the European Union on environment, science, technology, and health issues.


SDG 13: Climate Action — “Our Cities, Our Climate”

Partners: Bloomberg Philanthropies and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in coordination with the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Office of the Special Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs.

Description: The partnership, “Our Cities, Our Climate”, highlights the critical role cities play internationally in advancing climate change action. The partnership leverages city leadership globally by providing an international forum where mayors and sustainability directors – along with U.S. officials and organizations – meet to share their experiences, discuss solutions, and ultimately accelerate the progress the world’s cities are making to address climate change. An initial exchange forum took place in 2015 prior to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties and achievement of the historic Paris Agreement (COP 21).

How it works: Under the umbrella of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor’s Leadership Program, international sustainability directors travel to the United States to meet with their U.S. counterparts and leaders in the sustainability field; visit innovative programs focused on specific climate mitigation and adaptation challenges; and learn from each other through interactive problem-solving sessions. In 2016, leveraging off a successful initial meeting in 2015, 17 international sustainability officials were hosted by their counterparts in San Francisco, Austin, and Washington, D.C.


  • Reinforced climate-action momentum in the final months before December’s UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21).
  • Created and strengthened a growing network between international and U.S. cities dedicated to mitigating and adapting to climate change.
  • Showcased cutting-edge U.S. climate change efforts, encouraging the implementation of best practices at the subnational level.


SDG 14: Life Below Water — ApHRICA: “Ocean pH research Integration and Collaboration in Africa”

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs; U.S. Embassies Maputo, Port Louis, and Pretoria; NOAA Ocean Acidification Program; Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre; The Ocean Foundation; The Heising-Simons Foundation; Schmidt Marine Technology Partners; and the XPRIZE Foundation.

Description: The ApHRICA partnership was launched to extend the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) coverage to the Indian Ocean, where there is limited monitoring, by training monitors and managers from Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, and South Africa; to equip African countries with sensors and the laboratory equipment necessary to collect ocean acidification data; and, to strengthen the resiliency of coastal communities by building the foundation for predictive ocean monitoring systems. ApHRICA was aided by the auspiciously-timed development of a breakthrough ocean pH sensor by Sunburst Sensors, located in Montana. The company’s iSAMI sensor was awarded the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition to incentivize breakthroughs in pH sensor technology to accurately and affordably measure the acidification of our oceans.

How it Works: The partnership was launched with a capacity building workshop held in Mauritius in July 2016. Eighteen ocean scientists from nine African countries received classroom, lab, and field training to learn how to operate new ocean acidification monitoring technology. Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, and South Africa will each receive monitoring equipment and resources to support data collection and sensor maintenance. Program partners also created the OA Africa network, a continental network for collaboration that will ensure long term capacity building opportunities.


  • Improves oceanographic collaboration in Africa and extends the GOA-ON to the Indian Ocean to improve understanding of ocean acidification.
  • Led to the creation of a new partnership with The Ocean Foundation: Enhancing Capacity for Ocean Acidification Monitoring and Mitigation in the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean.


SDG 15: Life on Land — Zoohackathon

Partners: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Justice, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoological Society of London, Smithsonian National Zoo, San Diego Zoo Global, Woodland Park Zoo, Taronga Conservation Society, the Convention on the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, WildLabs.Net, Jane Goodall Institute, Internet of Elephants, Wildlife Conservation Society, Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute, Unilever, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Google.

Description: The U.S. Department of State and AZA organized the first Zoohackathon on World Wildlife Day, March 3, 2016, to challenge the public to develop technological solutions to address wildlife trafficking. The first Zoohackathon was hosted in six leading conservation zoos worldwide.

How It Works: Hosted at partner zoos around the world, Zoohackathon is modeled after Fishackathon, and is an annual weekend-long event where teams of volunteer coders and technologists meet to develop technological solutions to help combat wildlife trafficking, the fourth largest transnational crime in the world and valued at between $8-10 billion annually. Hundreds of hackers, coders, program designers, and conservationists spend two days working on problem statements submitted by leading conservation groups and vetted by top technologists as they compete for prizes and recognition. At the host zoos, teams interact with some of the animals they are working to save.


  • Raised awareness for people who are often unaware of how their consumer choices affected delicate ecosystems and communities.
  • Created more than 30 new conservation technology products at Zoohackathon 2016.
  • Fostered new partnerships between Zoohackathon partners on a variety of other efforts, including conserving interdicted live animals and “gaming for good” initiatives.


SDG 16: Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions — Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Expression

Partners: U.S. Embassy Singapore, ArtStage Singapore, and individual artists and curators.

Description: The Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Expression seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies by honoring artists or curators in Southeast Asia who are actively committed to expressing the ideals of freedom and liberty through their works, in spite of adversities. U.S. Embassy Singapore and partner, ArtStage Singapore, jointly host the annual awards event as part of Singapore’s ongoing expansion of the arts.

How it works: U.S. Embassy Singapore and ArtStage Singapore solicit nominees from ASEAN countries who have distinguished themselves as champions of freedom in the arts. A jury panel, comprised of distinguished members of the arts community, screens the nominees; the U.S. Ambassador and Lorenzo Rudolf, the Founder and Director of ArtStage, select the winner. Partners provide equal funding for the event, which is hosted at the Ambassador’s residence. Winners have included: Indonesian artist FX Harsono (2015); Singaporean artist Lee Wen (2016); and, Burmese artist Aye Ko (2017). The artists, activists in their countries, embody the ideals of the Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Expression.


  • The Award promotes universal values and empowers artists in the ASEAN countries.
  • In three years, the event has drawn more than 800 people, including a distinguished group of VIP art collectors and established and emerging artists.


SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals — Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

Partners: The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is a growing network of more than 200 partners; foreign governments, such as Colombia and the United Kingdom; private companies, such as IBM and Microsoft; civil society organizations, such as Civicus and Open Data Watch; international organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF; academic institutions; and foundations. The U.S. Government is an anchor partner.

Description: Launched in 2015, the Global Partnership is working to ensure that data is used more effectively and efficiently to advance sustainable development, by: governments to improve policy-making and service delivery, including aligning budgets with needs; citizens and civil society groups to make better decisions and hold leaders accountable for their actions; and companies to build capacity and drive entrepreneurship and innovation.

How it works:

The Global Partnership catalyzes efforts to bring together data from multiple sources, such as official statistics, geospatial data, citizen-generated data, and big data, to build the capacity of countries and stakeholders to use that data to drive action, innovation and accountability in implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Partnership helps to raise the profile of data on global, regional, and national political agendas and, to build broad constituencies to support data production, access, and use; to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration to innovate, share knowledge, and solve problems; and, to improve data access and interoperability mechanisms and standards.


  • Supported the development of country-led multi-stakeholder “Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development” in Colombia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, and the Philippines.
  • Launched a multi-million dollar Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development grant challenge to harness and scale collaboration and innovation in the use of data for sustainable development.
  • Developed a Data4SDGs Digital Marketplace to align supply and demand of SDG data sources, products and services and foster collaboration and learning.



Spring 2017

Partnership Excellence Award:

  • The public-private partnerships highlighted in this report reflect the innovation, creativity, and dedication of many individuals and organizations. This year, the U.S. Department of State awards the 2017 annual Partnership Excellence Award to several leaders in the public-private partnership space across the U.S. Government. Winners of the 2016 Partnership Excellence Award were Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, John Heffern, for his leadership in promoting public-private partnerships; and Valerie A. Wenderoth, an attorney and advisor in the Department, for her leadership in developing the legal framework to conduct partnerships. Thank you to them and numerous others who continue to advance the important role of public-private partnerships.

Sustainable diaspora Goals (SdG) Challenge:

  • This initiative was launched on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) to scale up diaspora-focused or diaspora-driven partnerships and activities that are positioned to address the SDGs. Partnership ideas were solicited from diaspora communities in the fall of 2016. This spring, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships will award five diaspora organizations $50,000 to $100,000 each and assist the organizations in scaling their partnerships by involving private sector partners.

Summer 2017

Unreasonable Goals:

  • The U.S. Department of State and Unreasonable Group have teamed up to launch a preeminent global initiative dedicated to scaling high-growth entrepreneurs worldwide who are best positioned to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The inaugural accelerator will launch in July of 2017 when we will bring together 16 entrepreneurs and their solutions for a two week program dedicated to providing mentorship, financing, government relations, and a global network to enable them to scale their innovative solutions that address each of the Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit:

Fall 2017

P3 Impact Award:

  • Organized by the U.S. Department of State, Concordia, and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society, the P3 Impact Award recognizes and honors best practices of public-private partnerships that are improving communities and the world in the most impactful ways. The annual award seeks to highlight leading practices and actionable insights in the P3 arena and encourage the creation and scaling of the P3 model worldwide. An independent panel of judges reviews applications based on the PPP’s measurable impacts, economic and social benefits, innovation, financial effectiveness, and scalability. Award finalists are recognized and the winner is presented at the Concordia Summit in New York City each fall. For more information, visit:

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Robert Williams

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