U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) Holds Information Technology Workshop on the Future of Work

29 Sep

During the week of September 12-16, 2022, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) held a five-day worldwide workshop to further modernize information technology and solidify IT innovation advances achieved by the Department.  Information Management Officers (IMOs) from over 200 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world came together to strategize and carry out Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call for modernization of American diplomacy.

The State Department continues to make advances in its IT capabilities, to meet the needs of 21st century diplomacy, including to leverage cloud, big data, and secure communications.  U.S. diplomats are among the world’s most tech savvy diplomats and their work is supported by a global cadre of IT professionals who convene annually in one location to exchange best practices and ensure cybersecurity for Department networks.

For further information, please contact Steve Aguzin, Public Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Information Resource Management, at AguzinSM@state.gov.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the Strengthening Atlantic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting

20 Sep

New York City, New York

Palace Hotel

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  There’s an almost-reverent silence in the room.  (Laughter.)  It’s really good to be with all of you.

Foreign Ministers, friends, colleagues, we’re delighted to have you here to discuss the shared interest that everyone around this table has on the future of the Atlantic Basin.  And I especially want to thank our colleagues from Angola, from Brazil, Ghana, Portugal, and Senegal, whose governments have been working with us over the past year to try to imagine together what greater cooperation across the entire Atlantic Ocean – both North and South – might look like.

As fellow Atlantic nations, this group understands the ocean’s centrality to our lives and to our shared futures.  The Atlantic Ocean is home to the world’s largest and busiest commercial shipping routes, some of its most vital natural resources, and so much of its biodiversity.  More commerce flows across the Atlantic than any other ocean.

The Atlantic economy supports 49 million jobs in Africa, $21 billion in GDP in Latin America. Two-thirds of the world’s renewable energy is generated in the Atlantic.  And the Gulf Stream, of course, dictates the Earth’s climate.

We see the Atlantic’s influence right here in New York City.  If you walk just a few blocks from here, you run into the East River.  Its storied Brooklyn Navy Yard was created by President John Adams in 1801 to protect the Atlantic trade of our nascent nation.  Fifty years later, a U.S. ship built in that navy yard teamed up with a British ship to lay an undersea telegraph cable, through which Queen Victoria transmitted the very first transatlantic Morse Code message.  Over a century later, in his first visit to the United States as president, Nelson Mandela announced a new trade office in New York to expand economic ties between our nations and our peoples.

Today, the Port Authority is working to combat the climate crisis with more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets and a new generation of fuel-efficient container ships.  And New Yorkers are working to restore the oyster reefs that once lined the harbor and to bring back the woodlands, salt marsh, and wetlands that once dominated this coastline.

The commercial, communications, and conservation challenges and opportunities you see right here in this city are shared by the community of Atlantic nations.  We know we can’t take for granted the free and open maritime trade that employs so many of our citizens, the undersea cables that connect us, the fish stocks and wildlife that sustain us.  Only together can we address rising challenges and threats to our Atlantic future.

Piracy; illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing; transnational organized crime; climate change; pollution; environmental degradation – these are just some of the challenges that we have to face together.

Consider just for a minute illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.  According to the FAO, one of – one in five fish on the market come from illicit fishing – one in five fish on the market.  That translates to losses of between $10 and $23 billion a year to lawful fishing industries in the region.  That harms coastal communities that rely on sustainable fish stocks for their income, for food.  It fuels corruption.  It threatens the health and biodiversity of our oceans.

The joint statement that we’re adopting today affirms our shared responsibility to try to foster a peaceful, prosperous, open, and cooperative Atlantic and protect its richness for future generations.  We’re also committing to build shared capacity to achieve these goals, drawing on the innovative technologies and best practices developed by Atlantic nations, for the benefit of all Atlantic nations.

Following the ministerial today, we plan to launch a consultative process to develop together a framework for regular cooperation among Atlantic countries through which our countries can carry out a shared approach to advancing our joint development, economic, environmental, scientific, and maritime governance goals.

We’re not pre-judging the results of these consultations.  We want to hear from everyone about your priorities, about your vision for enhancing cooperation, and not only from big countries but also small island nations whose voices need to be heard.  And we hope you’ll join us in encouraging more Atlantic nations to take part.

The United States currently spends over $400 million each year on maritime initiatives in the Atlantic.  Working with the United States Congress, we hope to invest an additional $100 million in the next year in support of shared priorities that we’re discussing today: Atlantic maritime governance, inclusive economic growth, innovative adaptations to the growing impact of climate change.

Last year, we joined the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.  This July, we joined the European Union and six nations from the Western Hemisphere and Africa in the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance Declaration to promote scientific cooperation for the health and sustainable development of the Atlantic.  And in the coming months, we hope to come together with many of you to conclude years of negotiations on protections of the high sea areas and sharing of the benefits of maritime genetic resources that are collected there.

We recognize the importance of expanding support for, and working with, existing Atlantic initiatives – Portugal’s leadership in creating the Atlantic Center in the Azores, Brazil’s vision of a zone of peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic, the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea – efforts that continue to make significant – to have a significant impact.  Still, as challenges mount and our innovations and opportunities expand, we believe our partnerships need to grow to meet those challenges.

So I’m really grateful to everyone around this table for being here today and for the work that we’re doing together.  And I look forward to all that we can actually accomplish together in the months and years to come.

Thanks to everyone for being here.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Travel to Honolulu

12 Sep

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 13 to participate in the 2022 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) convened by the East West Center Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP). She will lead a high-level U.S. interagency delegation, including representatives from the National Security Council, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of the Interior, USAID, and U.S. Coast Guard. At the PICL, the Deputy Secretary will highlight a range of ongoing areas of U.S. partnership with the Pacific Islands and meet with PICL leaders on the margins to discuss increasing U.S. engagement with these countries and with the Pacific Islands Forum. She will also meet with Pacific Islands students and professional fellows to learn about their priorities and concerns.

The Deputy Secretary’s participation follows her August travel to Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands and comes two weeks before President Biden will host Pacific Islands leaders at the White House for the first U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit. These engagements reflect the United States’ commitment to engage meaningfully with fellow Pacific nations in the spirit of partnership and friendship.

Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer’s Travel to Ethiopia

3 Sep

Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOA) Mike Hammer will travel to Ethiopia and the region September 4-15. He will press for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the start of peace talks.

In addition to meetings with Ethiopian government and African Union officials, Special Envoy Hammer will meet with civil society and political actors representing different regions of the country to discuss how best to promote efforts towards a lasting peace, security, and prosperity for all people in Ethiopia. The United States is committed to the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.

Travel of Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim to Tokyo

3 Sep

U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Ambassador Sung Kim will travel to Tokyo September 7-9.  Special Representative Kim and Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn will participate in a trilateral meeting hosted by Japanese Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Funakoshi Takehiro.  The three sides will discuss a broad range of issues, including our continued joint efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  Special Representative Kim will stress the U.S. commitment to dialogue, even while we will take all necessary action to address the threat Pyongyang poses to the United States and our allies.

This trilateral meeting underscores the importance of ongoing close U.S. collaboration with Japan and the ROK on DPRK issues and the ironclad U.S. commitment to the security of the ROK and Japan.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry’s Travel to Egypt, United Kingdom

2 Sep

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to Cairo, Egypt, September 7-8 to continue ongoing discussions with government and private sector counterparts on accelerating global climate cooperation ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6-18. Secretary Kerry will also participate in the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum and Meeting of the African Ministers of Finance and Environment.

Secretary Kerry will also travel to Glasgow, United Kingdom on September 9 to engage business and NGO leaders on efforts to enhance global climate action and accelerate the clean energy transition.

For media inquiries, please contact ClimateComms@state.gov.

U.S.-Pakistan Health Dialogue Launched to Deepen Health Sector Cooperation

26 Jul

On Monday, July 25, 2022, the United States and Pakistan hosted the U.S.-Pakistan Health Dialogue at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC to further deepen our robust bilateral health sector cooperation.  The U.S. side was co-led by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Global Health Atul Gawande and U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Loyce Pace, and included representation from Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Federal Minister of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Abdul Qadir Patel led the Pakistan delegation, which included officials from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, Federal Directorate of Immunization, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The U.S.-Pakistan Health Dialogue provides a framework to sustain and strengthen health sector collaboration.  The discussions centered on establishing a Pakistani CDC, global health security, childhood immunizations, COVID-19, maternal and child health, and non-communicable diseases.  Both sides identified areas of mutual engagement and established an action plan to reach shared goals.

The Health Dialogue is an example of the strong ties between the United States and Pakistan and highlights the depth and breadth of our bilateral relationship, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.  During the dialogue, the United States also announced it was donating 16 million doses of pediatric vaccines for COVID-19 to Pakistan in partnership with COVAX, on top of the 61.5 million adult vaccines doses already donated.  An additional $20 million in USAID funding is also planned to support vaccination efforts.  The Dialogue also highlighted the donation of four mobile testing labs by the United States through USAID to Pakistan’s National Institute of Health worth a total of $4.6 million.  These labs will strengthen Pakistan’s ability to diagnose COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, especially in remote and underserved areas.  In addition, the U.S. CDC announced the successful transfer of the Pakistan Field Epidemiology Training Program to the government of Pakistan, and that it will build upon this program and other ongoing investments to support and coordinate strong disease surveillance and response systems.

Signing of Supply Chain Memorandum of Understanding With “Alliance for Development in Democracy” Countries: Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama

26 Jul

Today, the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Panama signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the U.S.-Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD) Consultative Dialogue on Supply Chains and Economic Growth.  Under the memorandum, participant countries will work together to strengthen supply chain resiliency, with a view to sharing best practices and results with the entire region.  Leaders also met with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to finalize the development of the U.S. Chamber Survey on Supply Chain Resiliency, which will identify key opportunities, challenges, and areas for collaboration.

Today’s meeting in Washington, D.C. builds on momentum from the Summit of the Americas and will deepen economic cooperation and help generate economic growth in the region.  Along with our partners, the United States is focused on practical steps to create a better environment for democracy and private sector investments.

Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Panama constitute founding members of the Alliance for Development in Democracy.  The Alliance offers a model of cooperative innovation between like-minded, democratic countries to improve the lives of their citizens and the citizens of the entire region by strengthening democratic institutions and promoting economic prosperity.  We congratulate the newest member of the Alliance, Ecuador, which has joined this group to combine forces in building a more stable, secure, and prosperous Western Hemisphere.

Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

1 Jul

The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on foreign interference in U.S. elections.

The reward offer seeks information leading to the identification or location of any foreign person, including a foreign entity, who knowingly engaged or is engaging in foreign election interference, as well as information leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference.

Foreign election interference includes certain conduct by a foreign person that violates federal criminal, voting rights, or campaign finance law, or that is performed by any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of, or in coordination with, a foreign government or criminal enterprise. This conduct includes covert, fraudulent, deceptive, or unlawful acts or attempted acts, or knowing use of information acquired by theft, undertaken with the specific intent to influence voters, undermine public confidence in election processes or institutions, or influence, undermine confidence in, or alter the result or reported result of a general or primary federal, states, or local election or caucus. Such conduct could include vote tampering and database intrusions; certain influence, disinformation, and bot farm campaigns; or malicious cyber activities.

This reward offer reflects additional authorities to provide rewards for information on foreign interference in domestic elections provided by the William M. “Mac” Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

More information about this reward offer is located on the Rewards for Justice website at www.rewardsforjustice.net .  We encourage anyone with information on foreign interference in U.S. elections to contact the Rewards for Justice office via its Tor-based tips-reporting channel at: he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion (Tor browser required).

The Rewards for Justice Program is an effective law enforcement tool and is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $250 million to more than 125 people across the globe who provided information that helped prevent terrorism, bring terrorist leaders to justice, and resolve threats to U.S. national security. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RFJ_USA .

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Palestinian President Abbas

1 Jul

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss President Biden’s upcoming trip to the Middle East. Secretary Blinken stressed the U.S. commitment to improving the quality of life of the Palestinian people in tangible ways and the Administration’s support for a negotiated two-state solution.  The Secretary also emphasized the importance of thorough, transparent, and impartial investigations into the circumstances of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing.