About the Author: Kris Balderston serves as Special Representative for Global Partnerships.
Throughout 2010, Secretary Clinton has championed partnerships with the private sector and civil society as a cornerstone of foreign policy. Our office, the Global Partnership Initiative, has led the way by developing innovative models to bring in non-governmental actors to work with the U.S. government. Two of our flagship partnerships from 2010 particularly stand out:
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
A public-private initiative to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change 3 billion people in over 500 million homes use dirty, inefficient cookstoves and open fires to cook their food. Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires -- the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people in the developing world -- causes 1.9 million premature deaths annually, with women and young children the most affected. Cookstove smoke contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and the World Health Organization estimates harmful cookstove smoke to be the fourth worst overall health risk factor in developing countries. Reliance on biomass for cooking and heating increases pressures on local natural resources (e.g., forests, habitat) and forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting wood. Women and girls also face severe personal security risks as they forage for fuel from refugee camps and in conflict zones. Inefficient cookstoves also contribute to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and aerosols such as black carbon.
To address this range issues, the Global Partnership Initiative, the United Nations Foundation, and other Founding Funders launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in September 2010 -- a ten-year, $250 million public-private partnership in support of a bold vision of universal adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions and an interim goal to enable 100 million households to adopt clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The groundbreaking approach taken by the Alliance is that a wide range of partners -- a variety of U.S. government agencies, other governments from around the world, multilateral institutions, businesses, foundations, and others -- have come together to help overcome the market barriers that currently impede the production, deployment, and use of clean cookstoves in the developing world. With recent coverage in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, PBS, the Martha Stewart Show, the State Department has worked with partners to bring about what the a New York Times editorial called an “ingenious and overdue response to a global problem.”
Partners For A New Beginning
Broadening and Deepening Engagement Between the U.S. and Muslim Communities
In his historic speech in Cairo, President Obama called for a New Beginning between the U.S. and Muslim communities around the globe in a spirit of mutual understanding and mutual respect. The President was clear that this effort would require more than government action: “The United States cannot do this alone and the United States government cannot do this alone. All these things must be done in partnership.” Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), the private sector response to the President's speech, was launched by Secretary Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on April 27 of this year. Going beyond one-off, individual efforts, the Global Partnership Initiative instead developed this partnership to be much broader in scale and scope, through a long-term investment that has already mobilized many of America's most eminent leaders.
On the morning of September 22, PNB inaugurated its full Steering Committee, with former Secretary Albright serving as PNB Chair and Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, and Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, joining her as the PNB Vice Chairs.
Other members of the PNB Steering Committee Members are as follows:
• Mr. Tarek Abdel-Meguid, Founding Partner, Parella Weinberg Partners
• Ms. Cathleen Black, President, Hearst Magazines
• Ms. Jean Case, Chief Executive Officer, The Case Foundation
• Mr. John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc.
• Mr. Kenneth Cohen, Chairman, ExxonMobil Foundation; Vice President of Public Affairs, Exxon Mobil Corporation
• Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA
• Mr. Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
• Mr. Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman, and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
• Mr. John Mack, Chairman, Morgan Stanley
• Mr. Paul Otellini, President and CEO, Intel Corporation
• Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
• Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University
These leaders have committed that over the next five years, they will build partnerships to increase access to financing, business capacity and development services, improve educational opportunities for students and teachers, foster physical and virtual exchange programs, and enhance science and technology solutions that will positively impact up to 500,000 people across the PNB targeted geographical areas of Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, and West Bank/Gaza. Local Chapters in each of these countries are also being developed to build locally-driven, community-based partnerships based on the leadership of 15-20 private sector and civil society leaders, including local representatives of multi-national companies, as well as local businesses and organizations.
Together, this coalition of U.S. government, private sector, and civil society leaders will foster broader and deeper engagement between the United States and Muslim communities around the world, thus fulfilling the Secretary of State's statement when she launched the partnership that “This is a high priority for both the President and myself. I think that this is one of those occasions in the diplomatic history of our country that we will look back on and say that that made a difference.”
In 2011 and beyond, we can expect to see more examples of partnerships like these brokered by the State Department. In particular, the Global Partnership Initiative has targeted work in climate change and clean energy, diaspora community engagement, and impact investing and the scaling of social enterprises. As the first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review has made clear, this approach to harnessing networks of public and private actors will increasingly become the way the State Department does business in the decade to come, considering that “Private sector partners can add value to our missions through their resources, their capacity to establish presence in places we cannot, through the technologies, networks, and contacts they can tap, and through their specialized expertise or knowledge. Their reach and influence continues to grow. So too must our efforts to connect with, build upon, and amplify their work to advance our common interests -- including through our Global Partnership Initiative office.”