OES is the Department of State bureau responsible for the integration of matters relating to the environment, science, and technology into United States foreign policy. It works closely with the White House, Congress, U.S. government agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens, as well as other Department of State bureaus. Among the specific areas OES addresses when representing the U.S. in making agreements with other nations: Bio-terrorism, climate change, conservation, fisheries, forests, international health issues, oceans, the use of outer space, and wildlife.
In October 1973 Congress passed the Department of State Appropriations Authorization Act that mandated the creation of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), and it was established a year later, on October 8, 1974. OES assumed the duties of several State Department offices and positions that were then abolished, including the Office of International Scientific and Technological Affairs; Office of Special Assistant to the Secretary of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Coordinator of Ocean Affairs; Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Population Matters; and Special Assistant to the Secretary for Environmental Affairs. In addition, the Act gave OES responsibility for promoting U.S. interests in various matters relating to conservation, environmental issues, fisheries, health arenas, oceans, scientific topics, and wildlife, designating it as the primary office for negotiation of international environmental and natural resource agreements and treaties with other nations.
OES is the U.S. State Department Bureau responsible for the coordination, integration, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy in the areas of International Science and Technology; Environmental, Health, Natural Resource Protection, and Global Climate Change; and Oceans and Fisheries. It represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth, while also aiming to ensure as little harm as possible to the environment occurs in the process. Among the wide range of specific global issues it addresses are bio-terrorism; climate change; conservation of natural resources, including forests, fisheries, oceans, and wildlife; health issues, particularly avian influenza; science; technology; and the use of outer space.
The work of OES is accomplished through various directorates and offices:
-The Environment Directorate deals with a broad range of global topics related to environmental protection and natural resources conservation, many of which are addressed by the Office of Environmental Policy, which coordinates U.S. approaches to air quality and environmental issues that cross national boundaries; environmental aspects of free trade agreements; and environmental issues in international financial institutions. The Office of Ecology and Natural Resource Conservation also covers areas relevant to the Environment Directorate, coordinating U.S. approaches to international wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and issues related to the conservation of coral reefs, wetlands and drylands, and control of invasive species.
-The Health, Space, and Science Directorate acts in conjunction with several U.S. Government agencies, including the Office of International Health Affairs, which facilitates policy-making regarding international bio-terrorism, infectious disease, surveillance, environmental health, and health in post-conflict situations. The Office of Space and Advanced Technology works to see that U.S. space exploration policies are science-based, protect national security, advance economic interests, foster environmental protection, and enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace industry, and is also coordinating a broad diplomatic effort to encourage acceptance of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) as a worldwide standard for satellite-based navigation. The Office of Science & Technology Cooperation promotes the interests of the U.S. science and technology communities in the international policy arena, negotiating agreements, taking a leading role in representing U.S. science and technology in organizations such as UNESCO, and managing the State Department's Embassy Science Fellows Program.
-The Oceans and Fisheries Directorate has two offices addressing its issues, the Office of Marine Conservation, which concentrates on international fishing matters, and the Office of Ocean Affairs, which is primarily responsible for international ocean law and policy, marine pollution, marine mammals, polar affairs, maritime boundaries, and marine science.
-The Office of Global Change functions in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to develop a post-2012 climate strategy that is environmentally effective and economically sustainable, and aims to create, as part of a global agreement, binding international commitments for all major economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but flexible, depending on each country’s circumstances and capabilities.
The Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking aims to focus political and public attention on the threat to global wildlife from poaching and illegal trade. The coalition members, in addition to the U.S., include: India, the United Kingdom, the American Forest and Paper Association, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Conservation International, the Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Save the Tiger Fund, the Smithsonian Institution, Traffic International, WildAid, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Actress Bo Derek is currently Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for Wildlife Trafficking issues, and recently spoke out on the topic along with OES Current Assistant Secretary Claudia A. McMurray.
Launched by President Bush in 2005, the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, supports international efforts to combat avian flu and the potential for a human flu pandemic. The U.S. has pledged $629 million to this initiative since 2005, about half of its budget.
The Methane to Markets Partnership was launched in November 2004 by the United States and 13 other national governments to promote the use of methane as an energy source. The chair is the deputy assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Methane emissions come from animal waste, coal mines, landfills and oil and gas systems.
The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 was passed to improve access to safe water and sanitation for developing countries. OES works closely with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the policy in 35 countries worldwide.
The position of Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs can be an unexpected springboard to greater things. The first person to hold the office, Dixy Lee Ray, was later elected governor of the state of Washington. Patsy Mink went on become the first Asian American woman to be elected to Congress. Thomas Pickering was later U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and John Negroponte went on to serve as Ambassador to Iraq and Director of National Intelligence.
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Agricultural Affairs: Who is Robert Hormats?
On December 12, the State Department announced that the Office of the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs would be renamed the Office of Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs. The new office will oversee the Bureau of Oceans and Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the reorganized Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, the Bureau of Energy Resources, the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor and the newly formed Office of the Chief Economist of the State Department.
Among the key duties that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted her undersecretary for economic growth, energy and agricultural affairs, Robert D. Hormats, to perform when she chose him was to help refine Washington’s relationships with China, India and Russia on economic, trade and environmental issues. As the former head of Goldman Sachs’ international operation, Hormats knows quite a lot about economic dealings with these three powerful states. In fact, his work with China upset some human rights activists once they heard of Hormats’ selection for the post in the Obama administration. Hormats was sworn in as undersecretary September 23, 2009.
Earlier this decade, Hormats played a leading role in defending PetroChina when Goldman took the Chinese oil company public. Because of PetroChina’s parent company’s dealings with the government of Sudan, some human rights activists expressed worry that the public offering might wind up funneling more money to Sudanese officials who have been accused of carrying out a campaign of genocide in Darfur. Hormats was in the thick of this ordeal, and offered public assurances that the PetroChina move would not aid Khartoum. The public offering wound up being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over the early release of information, which led to Goldman Sachs paying a $2 million settlement.
In rejoining the State Department, Hormats is returning to his Washington roots, where his career first began before joining Wall Street.
His father, Saul Hormats, was the chief scientist of the Army's Edgewood Arsenal and headed the team that developed chemical warfare agents. However, he later spoke out against the dangers of chemical warfare.
Bob Hormats was born in Baltimore on April 13, 1943. He was educated at Tufts University, earning a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in economics and political science in 1965, and a Master of Arts (1966) and PhD (1970) in international economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
In 1969, Hormats joined the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) during the Nixon administration. He wound up spending eight years with the NSC, becoming a senior economic advisor and serving under Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.
In 1977, he shifted to the State Department and served as Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs until 1979. It was then on to working as an ambassador and Deputy US Trade Representative for two years, before serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 1981-1982.
At that point Hormats left government service to join Goldman Sachs, eventually becoming vice chairman of the firm’s international operation. In 1998, he became a managing director.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Hormats donated $128,375 to Democratic candidates, between 1989 and 2006, including multiple contributions to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and the campaign fund that supports Democrats running for the U.S. Senate. He also donated to the campaigns of Republicans George H.W. Bush and Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Jones graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Barnard College at Columbia University. Before attending graduate school, she worked as an assistant for research at the Rockefeller University in immunology and development biology. Jones obtained her PhD in 1985 from the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, where she studied the effects of stress on protein expression and metabolism, using nuclear magnetic resonance.
Prior to working for the U.S. government, Jones was an independent consultant, and served for a year in New Delhi, India as, the biotechnology advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission.
She worked in management and technical positions with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and USAID before becoming associate director for national security and international affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1996-1999). Jones was responsible for policy development, budget analysis, and interagency coordination of security and international science and technology issues, including nuclear non-proliferation, counterterrorism, emerging infectious disease and international cooperation. During her tenure, she testified before the Senate and served as interim director of the office. Jones also served on the National Security Council as the senior director for science and technology affairs.
From 2000 to 2002 she served as the director for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research for the state of Maine.
Prior to her appointment to the State Department, Jones worked as an independent consultant specializing in strategic planning and the development of research and education portfolios. In 2008, she donated $3,300 to the senatorial campaign of Maine Democrat Tom Allen.