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MFAN Statement: Praise for President Obama’s Development Leadership at the G8 Summit

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June 28, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

MFAN commends President Obama for showing leadership on development with his statement at the G8 Summit in Muskoko.  We continue to strongly support the Administration’s efforts to elevate and institutionalize the idea, most recently articulated in the National Security Strategy, that fighting global poverty is a “moral, strategic, and economic imperative for the United States,” as well as a key component of our “comprehensive, integrated” foreign policy in a world of complex challenges.

We eagerly await the impending release of the development policy directive highlighted in the G8 statement, and we support the general themes of growth, innovation, partnership, and accountability that were affirmed in the document.  We are particularly hopeful that the directive will answer a critical question that has not yet been addressed by the Administration: How will the U.S. foreign assistance system be modernized to institutionalize the importance of development, make U.S. assistance more responsive to local priorities, and deliver transformative results for the poor people we are trying to help?

In conjunction with the release of the directive, we call on the Administration to take three important steps to catalyze and strengthen the reform process:

  • Fill the senior leadership void at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which currently lacks the full complement of Deputy Administrators and Assistant Administrators needed to effectively execute the Administration’s new approach;
  • Prepare America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy ahead of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in September, in order to set a strategic foundation for U.S. development efforts and deliver on the President’s pledge to announce “a plan” for how the U.S. will contribute to eradicating extreme poverty by the MDG deadline in 2015; and
  • Announce now that the Administration will work with Congress to modernize foreign assistance in a durable way, including by rewriting the antiquated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective in support of global development and poverty reduction.

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