Waste Less To Feed More

Posted by Robert D. Hormats / February 15, 2013

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Indian farmers and migrant laborers harvest wheat crop on the outskirts of Amritsar, India. [AP File Photo]

I recently spoke at the 13th annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi, India. My remarks focused largely on the importance of creating a good environment for investment in the agricultural sector. I emphasized the particular need to improve food supply chains that connect farmers to markets. Significant additional improvements in food supply chain infrastructure are needed to reduce post-harvest food losses, which are disturbingly high in many parts of the world.

Some important progress already has been made. The Government of India recently took steps to open India's multi-brand retail sector to encourage foreign direct investment. This investment is critical for India's overall economic growth prospects as well as the development of India's food storage and distribution industry. As Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explained, an organized and efficient… more »

Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss

Posted by Jose W. Fernandez / February 12, 2013

Soybeans are harvested on a farm near Pergamino, Argentina, July 14, 2012. [AP File Photo]

On February 19, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs along with the Office of Global Food Security and the Foreign Service Institute will host the conference "Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss." Government officials, representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and foreign diplomatic corps will discuss the issue of postharvest loss, focusing on Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Postharvest loss is collective food loss along the production chain, from harvest and handling to storage and processing to packing and transportation.… more »

Small Grants: Huge Impact

Posted by Roberta Jacobson / February 09, 2013

Three WEAmericas Small Grants awardees (from left) -- Founder and President of Comunidades de la Tierra Maria Pachecho (Guatemala), Board Member of Women Entrepreneurs Network Caribbean Yaneek Page (Caribbean), D.C. Director of Fundación Paraguaya Mary Liz Kehler (Paraguay) -- pose for a photograph at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Small grants: huge impact. That was the recurring theme of an inspiring event Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer hosted earlier this week at the Department of State. As part of the WEAmericas initiative to support economic empowerment for women-owned businesses in the Western Hemisphere, we announced 25 small grants for organizations in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as two regional projects. The Walmart Foundation and the Secretary of State's International Fund for Women and Girls sponsored the grants.

We… more »

Celebrating the Power of Collaboration

Posted by Melanne Verveer and Kris Balderston / January 31, 2013

About the Authors: Melanne Verveer serves as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, and Kris M. Balderston serves as the Special Representative for Global Partnerships.

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted over 200 representatives from business, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups to celebrate the power of collaboration. As one of the last events the Secretary hosted, the meeting was momentous. Not only for the more than $80 million in public-private partnerships announced but also because it showcased how much has been achieved over the last four years.
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U.S.-Africa Partnership: The Last Four Years and Beyond

Posted by Johnnie Carson / January 29, 2013

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson observes elections in Dakar, Senegal, February 26, 2012. [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

After more than 40 years of experience in Africa -- and the ebbs and flows of hope and conflict -- I've become ever more optimistic about Africa's future. As those of you who know me are aware, I like to base my conclusions on analysis and factual observations. Here, too, my optimism is grounded in real developments: expanded democracy, rapid economic growth, and greater security and opportunities for Africa's people. It's now realistic to think that the 21st century will not only be shaped in Beijing and Washington, but also in Pretoria, Abuja, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa.

In my January 16 remarks at the Wilson Center, I elaborated about this optimism and the Obama Administration's policies in Africa. Somalia and South Sudan are two places where no one previously believed… more »

Building on a Strong Foundation of Historic Ties With the Asia-Pacific

Posted by Kurt Campbell / January 18, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with a member of the Tomodachi program youth in Tokyo, Japan, on July 8, 2012. [State Department photo by William Ng/ Public Domain]

Economic issues were also at the forefront of our engagement with the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, particularly fostering economic integration and open markets. On March 15, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement -- the largest U.S. FTA in nearly two decades -- entered into force. This historic agreement is expected to increase goods exports by billions of dollars annually for both sides, supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in both countries. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) annual meetings,… more »

Multilateral Organizations Play Important Role in the Asia-Pacific

Posted by Kurt Campbell / January 17, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for the ASEAN family photo in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on July 12, 2012. [State Department photo by William Ng/ Public Domain]

Regional multilateral organizations play an increasingly important role in the Asia-Pacific and the United States further strengthened its engagement with these institutions. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) all play a vital role in mobilizing common action for shared concerns. President Obama made his fifth trip to the region in November to attend the East Asia Summit and meet the leaders of the 10 member states of ASEAN. The trip included… more »

Demonstrating U.S. Commitment to the Asia-Pacific Region

Posted by Kurt Campbell / January 16, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speak to the press at her residence in Burma, Nov. 19, 2012. [AP File Photo]

This was an historic and consequential year for U.S. diplomatic relations with the Asia-Pacific region. Following Secretary Clinton's announcement of a "pivot" to Asia in late 2011, the United States substantially increased efforts to refocus and strengthen its relationships across the Asia-Pacific. We witnessed dramatic improvements in our bilateral relationships and an unprecedented level of engagement with the region's multilateral institutions. As the Secretary said, the Asia-Pacific is a key driver of global politics and home to the world's fastest growing economies. As a Pacific power, the United States is irrevocably and geographically bound to the region and our future security and prosperity will be largely defined by events and developments there. With that in mind, the Bureau of East Asian… more »

The Power of Partnerships

Posted by Thomas Debass / January 16, 2013

Participants pose for a photograph at the DEMO Africa Forum in the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, October 25, 2012. From left to right: Tom Genton, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs; Jon Gosier, CEO of Appfrica; Bahiyah Robinson, Appfrica; Barbara Birungi, Appfrica; Emmanuel Owusu Addai, Farmerline (Ghana), Apps4Africa 2011 West Africa regional winner; Marieme Jamme, Appfrica; Eric Mutta, Mini Shop Tanzania, Apps4Africa 2011 East Africa regional winner; and Thomas DeBass, Director of the Secretary of State's Office of Global Partnership Initiatives. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

On our final day of this multi-blog series on partnerships, I'd like to highlight other ways in which the Global Partnership Initiative helped advance a number of other meaningful partnership activities. These partnership "wins" include:

- Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA): In May, I helped launch the LIONS@FRICA partnership at the World Economic Forum on Africa along with key public and private sector partners to strengthen… more »

The U.S.-Europe Relationship

Posted by Philip H. Gordon / January 16, 2013

The NATO leaders gather for a group picture upon their arrival for dinner at Soldier Field in Chicago, May 20, 2012. Front row from left are Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Belgium Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, President Barack Obama, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa. Second row from left are Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Siguroardottir, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Back row from left are Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, Latvian President Andris Berzins, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Romanian President Traian Basescu, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, and Slovakian President Ivan Gasparovic. [AP Photo]

Looking back at the busy and productive year we've had, I would say that the United States and Europe have never been more closely aligned, both in overall goals as well as tactics to achieve those goals. From the beginning of the Obama Administration we've made a deliberate and conscious effort to strengthen our ties with Europe and to work with our most important allies around the world on global issues. During 2012 the pace of our work continued with a multitude of high-level visits, ministerial meetings, summits, and international conferences. Not only did I travel widely for meetings with my counterparts, but 2012 also marked Secretary Clinton's 38th visit to Europe. This intense diplomatic engagement is driven by our profound belief that successful alliances require investment and that such investment pays real… more »

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