By Maryam Alam
The Department of State announced the recipients of the fourth annual Resilience Innovation Grant, a part of the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards, June 28. Sponsored by the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO), the grant provides up to $1 million annually to help U.S. embassies and consulates address emerging environmental risks to their operations with innovative solutions. This year, several projects were also supported by the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. The 19 funded projects will positively impact the communities the Department operates in and provide tangible examples of sustainability and resilience technology and interventions.
This initiative also supports the Department’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan. Released in October 2021, the plan outlines priority actions the Department is taking to mitigate its global risk to climate hazards, such as drought, flooding, extreme heat, and landslides, to its infrastructure and operations. The Resilience Innovation Grant is a key way the Department strives to meet the White House’s goals on combating the climate crisis, mitigating the financial and operational risks of climate change, and highlighting U.S. commitment to climate leadership.
Incorporating a variety of technologies and spanning every region, the 19 winning projects will improve the Department’s energy use, waste management, and water conservation. Several winning projects focus on energy, which include installing solar water heaters, enhancing energy efficiency with energy conservation measures, and building infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) charging at diplomatic posts.
This year, GDI received 40 project applications from 33 different posts representing every region. Winning diplomatic posts include Embassy Lusaka, Embassy Mbabane, Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Embassy Manila, the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, Embassy Bern, Embassy Singapore, and Embassy Bridgetown—which received grants for projects to improve their energy efficiency. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Embassy Riga, Embassy Manama, Embassy Valletta, and Embassy Tunis received grants to improve their water consumption and implement sustainable gardening practices. Embassy Singapore, Embassy Oslo, Embassy The Hague, and the U.S. Consulate General in São Paulo received grants to build infrastructure for EV charging stations. Embassy Bishkek received a grant aimed at improving its cycling infrastructure, and Embassy Lima will use their grant to reduce waste by installing composting systems.
While not all projects could be selected, several of the submissions, particularly solar projects, will be expanded in scope or integrated into upcoming projects and funded by OBO over the next several years.
After Resilience Innovation Grant projects are implemented, posts will share these efforts with internal and external audiences to enhance eco-diplomacy efforts and demonstrate American leadership in response to the climate crisis.
Maryam Alam is an eco-pathways intern for the Greening Diplomacy Initiative in the Bureau of Management Strategy and Solutions.