blog logo image

Archive for December, 2010

More QDDR Reactions from MFAN Partners

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Bookmark and Share

MFAN Partners continue to respond to the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which Secretary Clinton released last week. If you missed our first recap, click here.

Save the Children LogoCharles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children and MFAN Principal said, “With the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the QDDR reflects a serious effort to elevate the role of ‘civilian power’ in U.S. foreign policy. That’s critical for the wellbeing of children in need worldwide.” He continued, “The world’s top military power must also be as powerful a force at preventing conflict and at responding to the devastating and destabilizing conditions that war, natural disaster and poverty create,” MacCormack said. “This first of a kind, high-level review of U.S. civilian capacity lays the groundwork for more effective and efficient U.S. diplomacy and development work.”garrett_1

MFAN Principal and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations Laurie Garrett commented, “The State Department’s QDDR seeks to prepare all foreign assistance entities in the U.S. government for likely budget cuts, and move development and global health into what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as ‘civilian power in the twenty first century.’ Overall, it creates a complicated set of networks and bridges across the entire government, reflecting the need to minimize use of private contractors, and respond to a broader, transnational, set of challenges to U.S. foreign policy interests.”

Initiative for Global DevelopmentMFAN Partner the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) said in a statement: “IGD commends the Obama administration for the significant steps it has taken – first with the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development announced in September at the United Nations and now with the release of the QDDR – to  improve the effectiveness of U.S. global development efforts and increase economic growth and opportunity around the world…IGD will be monitoring implementation of the reforms introduced by the Obama administration and will continue to provide the input of its business members to improve the effectiveness of U.S. development policies and re-establish the United States as the global leader on international development.”

Other Partners have started to take a deeper look into the QDDR to understand how it fits into the broader reform agenda of the Obama administration. At ONE, MFAN Principal Larry Nowels co-authored a blog post with MFAN member Sara Messer which praises the QDDR for several long overdue reforms. Still, Nowels and Messer point out three major areas that require “further review, planning and negotiation,” identified as the following:

  • Partnering with Congress: In her speech, Secretary of State Clinton noted that the QDDR took place foremost with fiscal responsibility and efficiency in mind. While the funding landscape ahead is challenging, the reforms for greater efficiency and measurable results should appeal to a Congress looking to reduce the deficit and maximize the impact of government spending. The QDDR offers a blueprint that is ahead of this debate and the State Department and USAID should seize the opportunity to forge a positive association with lawmakers. For two years, the administration has missed several critical opportunities to partner with Congress on global development initiatives. The QDDR offers a new opportunity, although in a difficult context.
  • Making tough decisions: President Obama’s Global Development Policy called for greater focus on where the US had comparative advantage and could make the most impact. The QDDR reinforces this principle and sets out six areas of focus: food security, health, climate change, economic growth, democracy/governance and humanitarian assistance. But what has not been said is where the US will pull back. Gaining consensus around where to cut will be difficult, but the QDDR does not help us understand where that might take place. Let’s hope that the FY2012 budget request will begin to define where the Administration has made these tough choices.
  • Harmonizing foreign assistance: The QDDR represents a solid effort to integrate and bring coherence to foreign aid policy and programs. But there are many other agencies besides State and USAID that provide some form of foreign assistance. The report defines “civilian power” as including all US government agencies, not just State and USAID. But breaking down entrenched bureaucratic priorities and convincing all agencies to work under the leadership of USAID on development assistance will be daunting. If we are to achieve a true “whole-of-government” approach, the heavy lifting lies ahead with the agencies and personnel tasked with implementation, and with other agencies whose cooperation they seek. The QDDR takes a leap towards streamlining and modernizing US foreign assistance. Now the hard work of implementation begins.

Development Community Reacts to QDDR

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Bookmark and Share

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) compiled short commentaries from several of their scholars. Please find highlights below.

J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center and Lisa Carty, Deputy Director and Senior Adviser, Global Health Policy Center said, “Secretary Clinton has an impressive command of, and commitment to, the strategic objective of ‘doing better’ in meeting the challenges laid out in the QDDR—most importantly, integrating the work of the State Department and USAID. She is firmly in control and made forcefully clear she is drawing to a close the far-ranging, extended two-year process of consultation and is determined to move forward.”

Daniel F. Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center, commented that “The challenge for the State Department and USAID is further embedding working with private actors into program design, resource planning processes, some centrally managed discretionary funds for opportunities that walk in door, and other incentives to build partnerships for State and USAID professionals—issues not adequately addressed in the QDDR. If managed correctly, State and USAID will be able to bring about a deeper, more strategic set of partnerships in the coming years.”

Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project Robert Lamb suggested, “Perhaps the next QDDR could address the more difficult questions, such as the place of nonstate actors in international law, or opening up more treaties to entities other than “member states.” This review does not go nearly far enough to recognize the importance of identifying and working with the new nonstate partners that have been acknowledged as being important. But it goes farther than might have been expected, coming out of two institutions whose very structure is dedicated to state-to-state partnerships.”logo

Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, vice president for strategic planning and director of the CSIS Global Food Security Project, and Kristin Wedding, a fellow with the Global Food Security Project noted that, “Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to make Feed the Future efficient, innovative, and work across agencies, serious work remains to be done to build support in the Congress for U.S. agricultural development efforts.”

Katherine E. Bliss of the Global Water Policy Project writes, “With more than 80 percent of the global burden of disease related to water, sanitation, and hygiene, and with water scarcity projected to affect 1.8 billion people by 2025, many in the water community have been wondering what the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review will reveal regarding plans for diplomatic engagement and development assistance on global water challenges. Now that the report, Leading Through Civilian Power, is out, the answer seems to be: Not much.”

Senior Fellow in the Energy and National Security Program, Sarah Ladislaw said, “It is too early to tell whether these organizational changes will have a material impact on the face of U.S. energy priorities abroad, but it does seem to address some long-held criticism that our international economic, energy security, and environmental agenda is often poorly coordinated, contradictory, or overshadowed by other more important foreign policy priorities.”

Gerald Hyman of the Hills Program on Governance commented, “Several new approaches are also noteworthy, however. First, the U.S. ambassador is to be the CEO of the multiagency work in any country and will “direct and coordinate” the civilian efforts there. The question is the extent to which the agencies working with funds not controlled by the State Department will be “directed and coordinated” or, if not, what levers the ambassador will have and what the procedures will be for implementing coordination. The National Security Council has clear interagency authority, but it is hard to imagine that the small NSC staff will be mediating every such problem.”

Additional Reactions to the QDDR

IFES_logo_cleanrim_horThe International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) “is particularly pleased that the QDDR not only recognizes the key role democracy and governance, but proposes concrete structural changes to realize this sharper focus.” “This document makes clear to all what we at IFES already believe:  democracy and governance work is key to successful development,” said IFES’ President and CEO Bill Sweeney.  “Whether you work on economic growth, food security, global health, or disGAdams_Portrait_5164aster assistance, working in a country with better governance and accountability to the people will help such efforts be more effective and efficient.”

In a blog post on, Stimson Center distinguished fellow Gordon Smith said, “I want to highlight just one element of this review, which, if it works, over time could save big bucks in the Defense Department.  The review had led to a decision to beef up State and USAID capabilities to handle conflict prevention and conflict resolution, making this a core mission of the Department.  The effort to create capabilities at State has been going on for about six years now, but this has never been a “core mission,” just a way of delivering civilian bodies to Iraq and Afghanistan to work on reconstruction in the framework of a US invasion and occupation.”

“The QDDR truly emphalogosizes the administration’s commitment to global development, providing hope that people around the world will receive the support, resources, and assistance they need,” said Raj Luhar, CEO of The Children’s Project International. “This is a major accomplishment for those who have pushed the administration and Congress on U.S. foreign aid reform. We are thrilled at the release of this review and look forward to bipartisan legislation to make these plans permanent.  It builds upon the efforts begun under the Bush Administration to recognize the critical role of our civilian agencies and guide our development and diplomacy programs to become more effective and efficient.”

Shah Talks about Feed the Future on ABC’s This Week

Monday, December 20th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Yesterday, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour to discuss the Obama administration’s approach to food security. He spoke at length about the marquee food security initiative–Feed the Future–with it’s emphasis on malnutrition and supporting local farmers so that countries can move away from a dependence on food aid. He also talked about engaging other partners, including the private sector, and the central role innovation and research are playing in this effort. Reiterating his first point, Shah commented: “part of the solution here is reinvesting in agriculture. And that’s why the Feed the Future program that we’ve launched is really not just about how we do food aid. It’s about creating the conditions that allow countries to take care of their populations from an agriculture and nutrition perspective so food aid is not needed in the very long run.” Read the full transcript here and see the video below:

MFAN in the News: QDDR Release

Monday, December 20th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alongside USAID Administrator Raj Shah and others, rolled out the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). As MFAN Co-Chairs Rev. David Beckmann and George Ingram said in their statement: “With today’s release of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the Obama Administration has finalized its road map for how U.S. foreign aid can be made more effective, efficient, and accountable in the 21st century.  This is absolutely critical in a resource-constrained world where our efforts to save lives and help vulnerable people build their own livelihoods are as important as our military and diplomatic activities.”

MFAN’s Partners responded in force to the release, noting the positive efforts to reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies while boldly pointing to areas where the QDDR is not clear. Below is a collection of excerpts from news stories and opinion pieces featuring MFAN experts from across the network:

  • Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin—of The Cable blog—reported twice on the rollout. MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy, posed a question to the Secretary at the Town Hall last Wednesday on whether the QDDR addresses the tension between short-term diplomatic priorities and long-term development priorities. Clinton responded: “I don’ think there’s any way to resolve it. I don’t think it will disappear but there is a way to diminish it. But we’ve got to have somebody in each country that actually speaks for the entire government.” In a follow-up report, Rogin quoted several MFAN Partners, including MFAN’s Co-Chairs: “David Beckmann and George Ingram, co-chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), called for the reforms in the QDDR to be codified in law through corresponding congressional action. “These reforms would pay major dividends in terms of lives saved and improved around the world — and they would make sure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are getting into the hands of people who need them. But they will only have lasting impact if the Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress work together to develop and pass legislation that establishes them in law,” they said in a statement.”
  • Devex posted a round-up of reactions to the QDDR, including from MFAN’s Co-Chairs, MFAN Principal Connie Veillette of the Center for Global Development, MFAN Principal Noam Unger of the Brookings Institution, ONE CEO and MFAN Principal David Lane, MFAN Principal and InterAction CEO Sam Worthington, and MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Paul O’Brien.
  • In his report, the Christian Science Monitor’s Howard LaFranchi quotes MFAN Principal and executive director of the US Global Leadership Coalition Liz Schrayer, who comments, “The QDDR represents a bold step toward implementing a smart-power foreign policy by elevating our civilian power and ensuring effective, results-driven programs,” says Liz Schrayer, executive director of the US Global Leadership Coalition.”
  • IPS News reported on the rollout, which included a quote from MFAN Principal and InterAction President Sam Worthington: “We urge Congress to support the many positive changes being proposed and to provide the necessary resources for USAID and the State Department as they implement a new, more effective, approach to global development.”
  • Worthington also had an op-ed in The Huffington Post exploring the role State and USAID each play in humanitarian relief and disaster response, as laid out in the QDDR.

Other notable coverage of the rollout includes:

Stimson Center Launches QDDR Scorecard

Friday, December 17th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

The Stimson Center has put together a helpful scorecard on their assessment of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). Focusing on authorities, structures, and capacity this QDDR scorecard is a useful tool to keep in mind as you make your way through the 200+ page document. Categories include:

  • Define State and USAID missions and set organizational priorities
  • Create a meaningful, integrated strategic planning and budgeting process
  • Address fundamental, lingering organizational problems
  • Justify the needed personnel capacity for 21st century challenges

See a snapshot of the scorecard below:

Stimson Center QDDR Scorecard