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The Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) is the entry point for collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, the public and private sectors, and civil society. Launched in 2009, 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. The Special Representative for Global Partnerships is Andrew O'Brien.
Under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry, S/GP works with partners across sectors, industries, and borders to promote economic growth and opportunity; to invest in the well-being of people from all walks of life; and to make democracy serve every citizen more effectively and justly.
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 while avoiding duplication, learning from each other, and maximizing our impact by looking for best practices.
- Cultivator, nurturing innovative new partnerships by providing the space, access to networks and capital, and mentoring assistance to turn a good idea into reality.
In December 2007, the Global Partnerships Center (GPC) was established to lead efforts to advance the use of results-based public-private partnerships as a mainstream tool for U.S. diplomacy. The cornerstone of this effort was the Global Partnership Clearinghouse, the first-ever database of multi-sector partnerships created under Chief of Mission authority.
On April 22, 2009, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told the Global Philanthropy Forum that “the State Department is opening its doors to a new generation of public-private partnerships” with foundations, businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, and faith communities through her new Global Partnership Initiative. The GPC subsequently transitioned into GPI and the office was placed under the Secretary's Office (S). Secretary Clinton has called for the United States to “lead by inducing greater cooperation among a greater number of actors and reducing competition, tilting the balance away from a multi-polar world and toward a multi-partner world,” as she described at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2014, the office modified its name to the Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP).
As late as 1969, 70% of U.S. resource flows to the developing world took the form of Official Development Assistance. However, by 2005, 80% of U.S. resource flows to the developing world came from private capital. While resources are becoming more scarce relative to increasing demand, the private sector role in the international arena is increasing, making partnerships essential.
- Conservative estimates of resource flows to the developing world show that they have increased by nearly $52 billion in the last two years, reaching approximately $164 billion in 2005.
- U.S. FDI/Private Capital Flows and Remittances account for the largest categories of flows (at 42.1 percent and 25 percent, respectively).
- Official Development Assistance (ODA) makes up the third largest category of flows with approximately 17 percent of the total. While the share of ODA has shrunk over the past twenty-five years, the total value has grown at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent, from $7.14 billion in 1980 to $27.6 billion in 2005.
The Department defines a partnership as a collaborative working relationship with non-governmental partners in which the goals, structure and governance, as well as roles and responsibilities, are mutually determined and decision-making is shared. Successful partnerships are characterized by complementary equities, openness and transparency, mutual benefit, shared risks and rewards, and accountability.
Types of partnerships
Potential partners can include U.S. and foreign government agencies, UN organizations, international/regional finance institutions, donor agencies, academic institutions, religious organizations, foundations, multinational corporations and other businesses, trade associations, unions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and individual major donors or investors.
U.S. Department of State public-private partnerships (PPP) assist in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, education and training, improve access to potable water, advance public diplomacy, counter radical extremism, and enhance national security, among other applications.
The State Department’s partnerships includes activities targeting:
- Energy policy and climate change
- The fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa
- Economic policy and trade promotion
- Educational and cultural exchanges
- Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility abroad
- Human rights and labor issues
- Security and counter-terrorism
- Population and refugee resettlement
- Democracy promotion
- Volunteerism and interfaith service
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment
Examples of current partnerships
S/GP catalyzes partnerships that are cross-cutting, dynamic and multiregional. The partnerships that are currently managed by the office include:
- International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) provides a platform for diaspora communities to promote diplomacy and development in countries of heritage by forging partnerships around trade and investment, volunteerism, philanthropy, and innovation. Website
- Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) is a new public-private alliance platform aimed at serving America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for diplomacy and development careers, providing education and employment resources and expertise while enhancing America’s global leadership. Website
- LIONS@FRICA is a public-private partnership that seeks to enhance and deepen the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast-growing African economies.Website
- Partnership Opportunity Delegations (PODs) are delegations led by the S/GP office that bring together government, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropy, academics, faith-based organizations, and the private sector to make exciting new connections and open new markets. Website
Past partnership examples
Some partnerships are now being managed by other offices within the Department of State or by external partners.
- Accelerating Market-Driven Partnerships (AMP) is a public-private partnership that seeks to unlock unprecedented economic value while delivering positive social and environmental impact. Website
- Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private initiative to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. Website
- Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) is a platform designed to promote public-private partnerships that create economic opportunity, foster advances in science and technology, enhance educational opportunities and catalyze exchange programs. Website
- Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships Website
- Swearing In Ceremony for Kris Balderston
- 2012 Global Diaspora Forum
- Global Impact Economy Forum
- Partners for a New Beginning
- Tunisia Partnerships Forum
- The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
- USAID Resource Flows Diagram
- Global Philanthropy Forum Speech
- Global Business Coalition Speech
- Ambassador Bagley's Swearing In Remarks
- Guide to Partnering with State
- Partnership Case Studies
- TED@State Opening Remarks
- TED@State White House Blog
- Council on Foreign Relations Speech