Washington, DC - Each Earth Day, the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards recognize innovative leadership within the Department of State in energy and environmental diplomacy. Since 2009, GDI has been the Department’s effort to support environmental policy priorities and catalyze climate action in host countries through leveraging the United States’ embassies and consulates.
The awards ceremony on Earth Day, hosted by the Director of the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation, Adam E. Namm, was particularly poignant this year due to the signing of the historic Paris climate agreement at the United Nations on the same day. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science Anne Hall and Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Deputy Director Casey Jones also made remarks.
Consulate General Ciudad Juarez was named the 2016 GDI Award winner. The Consulate General obtained a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat certification, using native and drought-tolerant landscaping to help support President Obama’s goals to revive pollinator populations. Beyond the compound, the consulate works with the local community to raise awareness and promote eco-friendly practices including through a Green Race and Eco Fair.
U.S. Embassy Lusaka was named the runner-up, thanks to its work to conserve water, paper, and energy. It started a reusable bag borrowing system and was able to reduce the sale of plastic water bottles by 50 percent through an awareness campaign. Other GDI Award winners, chosen by employee vote, include Mission India for an innovative whole-of-country approach to greening. One of its consulates, Consulate General Kolkata, even reduced water use by 45 percent through waste water recycling. Employees also chose U.S. Embassy Amman to win an accolade for working to save energy and water in a dry climate, avoiding substantial costs.
Tri-Mission Rome was an honorable mention for obtaining the Department’s first LEED Certification for Existing Buildings for a facility that is nearly 100 years old. Additionally, the Tri-Mission helped launch an Eco-Capitals Forum chapter in Rome, joining Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand in a platform for diplomatic communities to support the host cities’ sustainability goals.
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations provided three honorable mentions for Energy Efficiency Achievements to Embassy New Delhi, American Institutes in Taiwan, and Embassy Mexico City.