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January is meant to be a time of renewal and energy, offering a fresh perspective and approach towards a hopeful year extending in front of us. It is my desire that each of you feel that enthusiasm. However, as we enter into this New Year, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale, urgency, and complexity of challenges facing the world today. January does not feel much different than December, at least to my inbox, newsfeed, and caffeine intake. I am heartened, at the same time, that these challenges will not be solved alone and thus do not have to be faced alone, and that the collective insight, influence, and inputs gathered across Concordia’s membership offer an important balance point to explore ways forward. The Concordia team, therefore, has an ambitious year ahead of it and welcomes the Community into the moment.

There are a few points of light that I want to draw attention to. 

While the international community continues to come together to combat the COVID pandemic, great progress is being made in other health spaces. The world is on track to eradicate malaria, a disease that killed nearly 630,000 people and affected 241 million people in 2020 alone. The Global Fund and its partnerships sit at the center of this progress, driving new capital and innovation towards national education, prevention, diagnostic, and treatment strategies. The Global Fund faces a replenishment year in 2022 in support of the next wave of efforts to eliminate malaria from 35 countries by 2030. Concordia and The Global Fund are working together this year through a Programming Partnership to highlight the importance of renewed global focus on malaria eradication and in support of a successful replenishment. (Please note: The Global Fund has issued an RFP for a Network Generator, filling a key role in this replenishment period.)

COP26 may have left many frustrated by inaction, but it presented some positive moments as well. The Great Green Wall, an African Union initiative to combat desertification across the Sahel, garnered important attention and funding. The Great Green Wall offers a multitude of PPP opportunities, with exponential progress on key environmental, economic, and social issues across the region. Africa Regional Patron Member Futures Agribusiness is working within the Great Green Wall framework to support sustainable agriculture and regenerative forestry across Chad and Cameroon, having planted over 1 million trees in partnership with Trees for the Future, the Arbor Day Foundation, the NBA, and many local partners. Concordia and FAGRIB are working to identify additional private and philanthropic partners to support the second phase of planting, delivering measurable action aligned with carbon and climate commitments. 

2022 will require continued and dedicated action towards enhancing social progress across the U.S. and around the world, a challenge Concordia and its Member Community are rising to. We look forward to elevating Members operating in policy-making spaces, like BirthQueen (committed to reducing Black maternal mortality in the U.S.) and connecting 2021 Concordia Annual Summit Programming Partner AARP or new Global Patron Member the Center for Workforce Inclusion to businesses large and small to increase and improve employment opportunities for a workforce over 50 years of age. And, we welcome back iDE to Concordia’s Patron Membership community—iDE won the 2017 P3 Impact Award for its market-based sanitation solutions, addressing a human need so deeply tied to human dignity: access to latrines in Cambodia. Concordia will serve as a partnering platform to support their global poverty alleviation work and I couldn’t be happier to renew the relationship as we kick off this new year.

Each of these progress points relies on partnerships for their success, which motivates Concordia to continue leading in the partnership development space. Each conversation with a Member, each successful Concordia Connect introduction, each private roundtable or public event that expands collective wisdom and builds new relationships, moves us collectively forwards achieving the SDGs. Our team is looking to 2022 to continue growing (yes! We’re hiring!) and delivering for our Membership Community (yes! It’s expanding!) amidst our most ambitious calendar yet (yes! 6 major events across 4 continents!). But, as with all of the above, we do not need to do this alone. 2022 is a year for coming together in pursuit of shared goals, and we look forward to working with you across these endeavors.