May 27, 2024

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Announcing the Winners of the 2024 Greening Diplomacy Initiative Award and the GDI-OBO Resilience Innovation Fund

Secretary Blinken congratulates the winners of the 2024 Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Award and the GDI-OBO Resilience Innovation Fund.  This year’s winners have gone above and beyond and showcase innovative and impactful initiatives in support of White House, Congressional, and Department mandates, including Executive Orders 14008 and 14057 and the Federal Sustainability Plan.

For over a decade, GDI has catalyzed climate solutions within the U.S. Department of State’s management and operations to help conserve natural and financial resources, build climate resilience, and showcase U.S. innovation.  Every year, GDI honors teams and initiatives that exemplify sustainable principles and practices in operations and public engagement. 

Winners of the annual GDI Awards, including the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) sponsored Resilience Innovation Fund, were announced at the Department of State’s Earth Day event.  Acting Chief Sustainability Officer Caroline D’Angelo, OBO Director William Moser, and the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions Director Danny Stoian participated in the awards ceremony highlighting the Department of State’s sustainability and climate action achievements.

The GDI Award for Excellence in Team Sustainability Performance recognizes achievements of groups or teams within posts, offices, and bureaus.  The winners are selected by an intra-agency committee made up of representatives from the policy, functional, and regional bureaus, as well as senior leadership and former GDI winners.  The People’s Choice Award winner is selected by a vote open to all Department of State employees; nominations consist of all the submissions for the GDI Award for Excellence in Team Sustainability.

Winners of the GDI Awards:

  • U.S. Embassy Islamabad is the overseas winner of the 2024 GDI Award for Excellence in Team Sustainability Performance. In 2023, U.S. Embassy Islamabad implemented initiatives to reduce energy use by 312,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, saving $400,000 and reducing the Embassy’s annual carbon footprint by 250 tons.  The team replaced over 1,000 filters to increase the efficiency of the HVAC system, increased wastewater recycling by 6.57 million gallons, reduced gas consumption by 4 percent, reduced fertilizer use by 200 kilograms per year, replaced plastic take-out containers for recyclable aluminum at an average of 2,000 dishes per week, and planted a citrus grove to act as a carbon sink.  Additionally, U.S. Embassy Islamabad partnered with several organizations such as the U.S. National Parks Service and Duke University to host events focusing on conservation, wildlife protection, air quality improvement, and other relevant climate topics.  In the past year, sections across U.S. Embassy Islamabad contributed more than $150 million in foreign assistance to help mitigate the effects of climate change.  $72.8 million in grant financing were secured for USAID’s Recharge Pakistan Project to improve water systems and expand green infrastructure.
  • U.S. Embassy Bogota is the runner-up for the 2024 GDI Award for Excellence in Team Sustainability Performance. U.S. Embassy Bogota sponsored the Carrera Verde de Bogota (Bogota’s Green Race) and led multiple collaborative initiatives to generate buzz for the race.  This included a “launch event” where the DCM spoke in front of media outlets with other race sponsors and a partnership between the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the National Police to showcase how U.S. Embassy Bogota helps Colombia address environmental crimes related to wildlife and timber trafficking.  The race ultimately saw over 6,500 participants fund the planting of 20,000 trees in a preserve near Bogota.  U.S. Embassy Bogota also purchased six electric vehicles (EV), which entered the fleet at the end of 2023.
  • U.S. Embassy New Delhi is the winner of the 2024 People’s Choice Award for Team Sustainability Performance. With over 1,200 of votes casted, U.S. Embassy New Delhi emerged as the employee favorite.  U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s Resource Conservation Unit (RCU) championed the on-compound waste management program in 2020 and has expanded it in the past year to include project work debris from residential make-ready and renovations.  By selling the recyclable material, U.S. Embassy New Delhi reduced the inhouse labor cost and time required for storage and transportation.  The program diverted the waste going into landfills and reduced the U.S. Embassy New Delhi trash disposal cost by 70 percent, saving over $40,000 every year.  This endeavor also generated over $300,000 in revenue for U.S. Embassy New Delhi with the sale of over 430 tons of material, which accounts for 10 percent of the total city waste produced in a year.  U.S. Embassy New Delhi found ways to save time, money, and carbon emissions by upgrading the primary crew transportation from a pick-up truck to EV motor bikes (scooters).  By investing in over a dozen EV scooters, FAC staff saved on commuting time and labor hours since motor pool drivers were not required.  To reduce the environmental impact, the FAC/RCU team installed a solar charging station for the EV scooters and golf carts. 

Now in its sixth year, the Resilience Innovation Fund, sponsored by OBO, provides up to $1 million for innovative projects at posts that advance the Department of State’s resilience and sustainability in its operations and facilities.  This year, 16 U.S. embassies and consulates will receive funding for a wide array of projects, including the installation of residential insulation, EV charging stations, irrigation systems, rainwater harvesting systems, low power consumption light upgrades, bicycle storage, and flood fortifications.

Winners of the GDI-OBO Resilience Innovation Fund:

  • U.S. Embassy Lilongwe
  • U.S. Embassy Bern
  • U.S. Embassy Windhoek
  • U.S. Embassy Beijing
  • U.S. Embassy La Paz
  • U.S. Embassy Dar Es Salaam
  • U.S. Embassy Sofia
  • U.S. Embassy Islamabad
  • U.S. Embassy Kigali
  • U.S. Embassy Astana
  • U.S. Embassy Rome
  • U.S. Embassy Budapest
  • U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo
  • U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
  • U.S. Consulate Monterrey
  • The American Institute of Taiwan
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