Remarks by Mark Anthony White at the Indo-American Chambers of Commerce (IACC) “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by Leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs” Event

Monday, August 20, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for inviting me to join you today. It is an honor to speak with such an eminent group of government officials, members of the private sector, and leaders of NGOs about our collective efforts to support India’s development goals. My team here tells me that USAID has worked with and is currently working with many of you, so thank you again for your partnership, passion and dedication to reaching our shared goals.

We’re here today to talk about what needs to be done to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 and how we’re going to do it.

I’d like to talk about the sustainable development goals and outline how we, the United States Agency for International Development, are finding partnerships with government, NGOs, and the private sector to be the most effective way to contribute. During the next few minutes, I’ll explain who we are and share a few examples about what we’ve done.

USAID is the development arm of the U.S. Government. In India, we work in partnership with the Government of India to support its development goals. Our work focuses primarily on delivering quality healthcare, education, safe water, clean energy, sustainable forests, gender equality agriculture and reducing the risk of disasters to a fast growing population. We work in these sectors to contribute to India’s priority development initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Call to Action to End TB, and Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat. These goals are, of course, closely tied to the global sustainable development goals. Padhe Bharat Bhadhe Bharat is unequivocally linked to the “Quality Education” and “Reduced Inequalities” sustainable development goals.  In the same way that all the SDGs and Government of India development priorities are interlinked and cross-sectoral, so too, should be the efforts to achieve them.

To support this, USAID is working to build local capacity in ways that enable organizations to manage development programs in the most sustainable way. USAID is working to build private sector partnerships to forward these development goals. USAID is open to using diverse sources of funding through private sector investments, domestic resources, diaspora, foundations and trusts. These kinds of partnerships leverage both Indian and American human and financial resources to catalyze innovation and solve critical development challenges.

One important step to achieving the SDGs and India’s development goals is to make sure that available resources are channeled into projects that are working towards these priorities on a large scale. Many of you in this audience have access to CSR resources that, I believe, can have an incredible impact.

One example in which we’ve had success is with a multi-million dollar partnership called the “10 to 19: Dasra Adolescents Collaborative.” The goal is to empower more than five million adolescents in India by 2021. The collaborative addresses a whole range of issues such as helping girls stay in school, delaying marriage, improving awareness about gender-based violence, nutrition, menstrual hygiene, reproductive rights and increasing employment opportunities.

These are a lot of activities designed to reach many young people. In order to do them well they require the expertise and funds of many, including Dasra, USAID, several private companies, such as the Bank of America, as well as private foundations. A large partnership such as this one also allows us to address several SDGs and Government of India priorities at once. This partnership has also strengthened U.S.-India relations by engaging the Indian Diaspora, American foundations, and companies interested in working in this sphere.

And this is just one example. In recent years, USAID/India formed more than 50 public-private partnerships that leveraged nearly $6 in additional financial resources for every $1 of funding we put in. USAID/India has partnered with several different companies including Tata Trusts, Coca-Cola, Jal Dhara Foundation, Facebook and others. For example, we work in partnership with Coca-Cola and PLAN India to support sanitation goals in schools by building new toilet facilities and working on activities to change habits around hand washing and sanitation. Many of these successful partnerships were born out of CSR forums like this one.

At USAID, it’s all about creating partnerships among organizations that can complement each other. We are striving to widen the funnel of ideas and resources by bringing new and non-traditional partners to the table as part of our collaborative efforts.  

Another example of partnerships that push development goals forward is The Millennium Alliance.  Under this alliance, partners directly support more than 100 social innovators and entrepreneurs, all of whom, I might add, are always happy for additional funding to take their projects to the next level. Some of the innovations that have come out of this alliance are truly impressive, from introducing healthy cooking stoves that don’t pollute, or carrying out financial inclusion activities and increasing digital literacy.

In each of these examples and countless others we have found working with the government, NGOs and private sector partners to increase the impact of development work and collectively contribute to achieving the development goals. We are leveraging the best of our private sector partner institutions to develop solutions to tough challenges, making our joint assistance more efficient and effective. Curating the right partnerships is key and when we work together, we’re a powerful force for change. 

Before I conclude I would like to thank the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event and providing a platform for all of us to come together and identify opportunities to collaborate.

Through the presentation and discussions that take place today, CSR officials, corporate leaders, philanthropists, NGO leaders, and USAID will have the opportunity to identify synergies, linkages and how we can work together. All of us have the same goal to improve the well-being for India’s people and we can capitalize on this by making these connections today.  I welcome you to join us in projects supported by USAID. If you wish to learn more about our programs, I urge you all to connect with my team and let us find a way to positively impact more people and achieve the ambitious development goals we’ve set for ourselves. Thank you. 

New Delhi
Issuing Country 

Last updated: August 21, 2018

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