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Archive for the ‘MFAN News’ Category

Charting A Way Forward on U.S. Development Policy

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
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See below for a post by MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette.

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The U.S. has an important leadership role to play when it comes to supporting development and reducing poverty around the world. Foreign assistance serves our national interests by enhancing national security, expanding global economic opportunities, and promoting American values. In 2008, MFAN was established because of the growing recognition that U.S. foreign assistance and development policy needed to be strengthened and modernized in order to confront today’s challenges and bring about a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Since MFAN’s founding we have seen the Administration and Congress take actions to improve development policy and practice and make U.S. assistance dollars work smarter. Today, with the launch of our new policy paper, The Way Forward: A Reform Agenda for 2014 and Beyond, we both reflect on past achievements and humbly recognize there is much more work to be done.

MFAN’s new agenda outlines two powerful and mutually reinforcing pillars of reform – accountability through transparency, evaluation and learning; and country ownership of the priorities and resources for, and implementation of, development. These pillars are vital to building capacity in developing countries to enable leaders and citizens to take responsibility for their own development.

We applaud the many actions that have already been taken or put in motion to advance accountability and country ownership. For the Obama Administration, these include the commitment to fully implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative, USAID’s Partnership for Growth and Local Solutions initiatives, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s commitment to transparency reflected by its top ranking on the 2013 Aid Transparency Index. In addition it is particularly encouraging to see that transparency is embedded in the recommendations of the Global Development Council that were released this week. Congress has also taken up the reform cause with the creation of the Congressional Caucus on Effective Foreign Assistance, the introduction and reintroduction of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, and recent efforts to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of international food aid.

These next two years are an important window of opportunity for U.S. aid reform. The midterm elections in 2014 are certain to shake up the membership of Congress. In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals will expire and a new global development agenda will take its place. And 2016 will bring a new administration and further changes in Congress.  We urge the Administration and Congress to work together to institutionalize the important reforms that have already been introduced and continue to push forward on strengthening country ownership and accountability. The profound changes in international aid globally make the focus on these changes even more important to ensuring US aid effectiveness.

We will be tracking progress made on the key reform actions we outline in the paper and sharing our thoughts with the community, the Administration, and Congress. We invite – and look forward to – the dialogue that these recommendations will generate.

NGO Community Shows Broad Support for Transparency & Accountability Bill

Friday, July 12th, 2013
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This week, a bicameral, bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced to strengthen transparency and evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance. The bill, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 2638; S. 1271), was introduced by Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). An earlier version of the legislation was introduced last year and passed the House with a unanimous vote of 390-0. The legislation establishes uniform interagency guidelines – with measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans and also requires the President to maintain and expand the Foreign Assistance Dashboard.

MFAN is pleased to see that the legislation has been reintroduced with bipartisan backing in both the House and Senate as well as strong support from the NGO community. Brookings and Oxfam put out blog posts applauding the bill’s introduction, and in addition to MFAN’s statement, below you will find additional statements of support from MFAN partners.

  • “We thank Reps. Poe and Connolly and Sens. Rubio and Cardin for introducing this important bipartisan legislation that will enact common-sense reforms to improve U.S. foreign assistance programs. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to reforming and improving foreign assistance through greater transparency and accountability measures. Ultimately, these reforms will empower us to better serve the world’s poor, as well as American taxpayers.” – Samuel A. Worthington, President & CEO, InterAction
  •  “It took great bipartisan effort to move this bill forward and we hope it sets a constructive precedent for further reform. When people in developing countries know what the US is doing in their communities, they can take action themselves to amplify the results. And when the US government has better information and tools for measuring the impact of our programs, we can help make sure they are delivering better results for America and our partners.” – Gregory Adams, Director of Aid Effectiveness, Oxfam America
  •  “This bill is an important step toward increasing the transparency, accountability and impact of foreign aid. With upwards from 22 agencies currently implementing U.S. foreign assistance, the bill aims to streamline and clarify how programs across federal agencies deliver aid.” – Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy, Mercy Corps
  •  “This legislation demonstrates a real desire in Congress to make our foreign assistance programs, which are saving millions of lives around the world, even better by making them more effective, efficient and transparent. We look forward to working with Members of both chambers to enact this legislation during the 113th Congress.” – Tom Hart, U.S. Executive Director, ONE
  •  “The USGLC commends Congressmen Poe and Connolly and Senators Rubio and Cardin for their leadership on this bipartisan legislation to further enhance the accountability and effectiveness of foreign assistance programs.  In addition to ensuring ample funding and resources for development and diplomacy, it’s vital that we ensure the highest standards for transparency and results.” – Liz Schrayer, Executive Director, USGLC

EVENT – The United States and Global Development: An Approach in Transition

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
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The United State and Global Development: An Approach in Transition 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 2:00 — 3:30 pm

The Brookings Institution, Saul/Zilkha Rooms, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

As President Barack Obama begins his second term, the U.S. global development community is taking stock of the reform efforts that began in 2010 to elevate development—joining defense and diplomacy—as a core pillar of U.S. national security and foreign policy, while advancing proposals for what the administration should focus on going forward. In January 2013, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a reform-minded coalition that is focused on advancing the effectiveness and impact of U.S. global development efforts, submitted its recommendations to President Obama.

On February 19, the Development Assistance and Governance Initiative at Brookings and MFAN will co-host a discussion on the current status and future of the U.S. global development reform agenda. Panelists will include: Sheila Herrling, vice president in the Department of Policy and Evaluation at the Millennium Challenge Corporation; Steven Radelet, distinguished professor in the practice of development at Georgetown University; Susan Reichle, assistant to the administrator at the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Connie Veillette, former director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Program at the Center for Global Development. Brookings Senior Fellow George Ingram will moderate the discussion.

After the program, the panelists will take audience questions.

Moderator

George Ingram, Senior Fellow

The Brookings Institution

 

Panelists

Sheila Herrling, Vice President

Department of Policy and Evaluation, Millennium Challenge Corporation

 

Steven Radelet, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Development

School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

 

Susan Reichle, Assistant to the Administrator

Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, U.S. Agency for International Development

 

Connie Veillette, Consultant 

 

To RSVP for this event, please call the Office of Communications at 202.797.6105 or click here.

 

 

Who Do YOU Think Should Serve on the Global Development Council?

Monday, January 7th, 2013
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Just before the holidays, the White House announced nominations for nine of the twelve seats on the President’s Global Development Council. As you recall, the Council—established by executive order last February—was originally called for in the 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD-6).

Click here to see the nine individuals appointed to the Council so far.

As MFAN Principal Sarah Jane Staats, director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Project at the Center for Global Development, writes, “The line-up so far pulls in research, private sector and philanthropic expertise and does not include operational or advocacy organizations (which may be a smart move to avoid conflict of interest with organizations who receive federal dollars for aid programs).”

Though the President is not obligated to fill all twelve slots, we’re interested to hear who you think should fill the remaining three seats.

Who else should be on the Global Development Council? Let us know by:

Send us your suggestions by January 14.

Once we’ve gotten enough suggestions, we will ask you to take our poll and vote on who you think should be on the Council. The names of the three individuals with the most votes will then be shared with the White House.

We look forward to collecting your nominations!

 

Community Supports Introduction of the Global Partnerships Act of 2012

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
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The Global Partnerships Act of 2012 (GPA), H.R. 6644, was introduced yesterday by Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) with widespread support from the international development community. In working with Congressman Berman and his staff, development leaders were able to contribute their knowledge and expertise to help shape the much-needed rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The bill enables government agencies who deliver foreign assistance to better address the challenges facing U.S. development programs in today’s world.

Moreover, the GPA is essential to codifying the foreign assistance reforms already underway within the U.S. government and seeks to ensure a continued effort in making foreign assistance more effective. The bill mandates: transparency and evaluation to learn from mistakes and inform future programs; better coordination within our own government, with the private sector, and with other donors to make programs more efficient; and long term-strategic planning to focus resources where they are most needed. It also puts partners in the driver’s seat by requiring consultation throughout the program planning process—emphasizing capacity building, and making it easier to work more directly with local organizations. These important and necessary reforms will allow the U.S. government to maximize its development impact and U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.

Don’t just take our word for it. Our partners spoke up about the bill as well:

“The Global Partnerships Act will bring U.S. assistance into the 21st century by establishing a coherent framework for streamlining cooperation between Congress, the executive branch, and civil society. By requiring a comprehensive U.S. Strategy for Global Development every four years, it will guarantee a foreign assistance strategy that is clear, specific and current.” Save the Children

“WWF is particularly pleased with the legislation’s recognition of the environment as a critical cross-cutting priority. America’s foreign assistance must clearly address the reality that environmental pressures and resource scarcities around the world increasingly affect American prosperity.” World Wildlife Fund

“This holistic approach recognizes the necessity of working closely with partner countries to build health systems that effectively tackle priority health needs. Skilled health workers are the backbone of any health system, so we welcome the legislation’s explicit support for the recruitment, training, retention, effectiveness ,and equitable distribution of skilled health workers,” Management Systems for Health

You can read more supportive statements below:

Bread for the World

Caucasus for Effective Foreign Assistance

Freedom House

Habitat for Humanity

InterAction

International Housing Coalition

Mercy Corps

Professional Services Council

Publish What You Fund

USGLC

Women Thrive Worldwide