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Archive for the ‘MFAN News’ Category

MFAN Event, 7/28: ACCOUNTdown to 2017

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
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ACCOUNTdown to 2017: Strengthening a Bipartisan Legacy of Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance

 Please join the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) for a discussion on how Congress and the Administration can solidify existing reforms and further progress on aid effectiveness.

Tuesday July 28, 2015 8:30 – 10:00 am
The Holeman Lounge at the National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor

Remarks by:

Representative Ted Poe
Congressman from Texas’ 2nd District

The Honorable Richard G. Lugar
Former U.S. Senator & President, The Lugar Center

Carolyn Miles
President and CEO, Save the Children & MFAN Co-Chair

Followed by a Panel Discussion featuring:
Daniella Ballou-Aares, Senior Adviser for Development to the Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Eric G. Postel, Associate Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
Nancy Lee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation
John Norris, Executive Director, Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative, Center for American Progress

Moderated by

George Ingram, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution & MFAN Co-Chair

***

A light breakfast will be provided
Please RSVP to Jill MacArthur, jmacarthur@modernizeaid.net or 202-776-1586.

Broad Coalition Calls on U.S. Senate to Confirm Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator

Monday, June 15th, 2015
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Broad Coalition Calls on U.S. Senate to Confirm Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator

June 15, 2015 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette:

MFAN, along with a broad coalition of international development organizations, policy experts, and the private sector, is calling on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Gayle Smith as the next permanent USAID Administrator. Having a Senate-confirmed appointee at the helm of USAID is essential to advancing U.S. development goals and optimizing the use of U.S. foreign assistance resources. As we cautioned in our open letter to the President in April, when the Administrator position was vacant in 2009 for nearly a full year, USAID and its programs suffered.

Gayle Smith is a strong and experienced leader and is well-equipped to further implement and institutionalize important reforms at the U.S. government’s lead development agency. Smith has long been a champion of the aid effectiveness agenda while ensuring development has a strong voice at the policymaking table. In her time as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy, Smith has helped to foster a more robust interagency dialogue and coordination around U.S. development efforts.

At a time when we are responding to global crises in places like Nepal, Syria, and Yemen, and with the Millennium Development Goals expiring and a new set of goals taking their place, the United States cannot afford to be without a strong, permanent USAID Administrator to lead our engagement and represent our development interests internationally.  We are pleased to see that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for this week and urge a swift confirmation process in order to sustain strong U.S. leadership on development programs and the accountability of our foreign assistance.

MFAN Co-Founder Gayle Smith Nominated as Next USAID Administrator

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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April 30, 2015 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette:

MFAN applauds today’s announcement by the White House that Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council, has been nominated as the next USAID Administrator. Smith, a Co-Founder of MFAN, has long been a champion of the aid effectiveness agenda while ensuring development is an equal pillar of U.S. foreign policy. In her role at the NSC, Smith has ensured development has a strong voice at the policymaking table, while helping to foster a more robust interagency dialogue and coordination around development efforts. We are pleased to see the White House nominate a strong and experienced leader to take the helm at the U.S. government’s lead development agency.

In her time at the National Security Council, Gayle Smith was instrumental in the creation of the first-ever Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which focused on reestablishing the U.S. as the global leader on international development by rebuilding USAID’s capacity and modernizing our approach to development. The policy directive also paved the way for USAID’s sweeping reform agenda, USAID Forward. Through this agenda, USAID has made dramatic steps in recent years to strengthen its ability to deliver results for the American people and for people in developing countries around the world. As the new USAID Administrator, we hope to see Smith maintain, if not accelerate, the momentum around implementing and institutionalizing the key reforms of the USAID Forward agenda and to ensure the continued elevation and inclusion of development alongside defense and diplomacy.

A permanent USAID Administrator is essential to sustaining strong U.S. leadership on development programs. As we cautioned in our open letter to the President earlier this month, when the Administrator position was vacant in 2009 for nearly a full year, USAID and its programs suffered. With less than two years remaining in the Obama Administration, we urge the Senate to now swiftly confirm Gayle Smith so that we can continue to advance U.S. development goals and the aid effectiveness agenda.

MFAN, Devex Launch New Series on Aid Effectiveness: Reform for Results

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
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Today, Devex and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network are launching a new series on U.S. foreign assistance reform, Reform for Results. Last Spring, we released our policy paper, The Way Forward: A Reform Agenda for 2014 and Beyond, which laid out concrete goals the U.S. government could take to make U.S. aid work harder and achieve more. With this series, we will examine accomplishments to date and emerging opportunities in 2015. We believe that the time to push the envelope on key reforms is now as the Obama Administration moves into its final years, the U.S. considers its commitment to the next round of global development goals, and Congressional interest in ensuring aid dollars are well spent increases.

We start the series with a piece from MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette, which can be found here. In the coming weeks, we will be publishing new content to the Reform for Results website on our pillar issues of Accountability and Country Ownership and we encourage the community to engage in the series starting today using #Reform4Results on Twitter.

Year in Review: Looking Back at The Way Forward

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
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As 2014 comes to a close, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on what has happened and what we’ve accomplished throughout the year to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective.

We kicked off the year under the new leadership of Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette, along with our longtime co-chair George Ingram, and set out to refocus our agenda. In April, with broad support from the community, we released a refreshed policy agenda, The Way Forward: A Reform Agenda for 2014 and Beyond, centered on the two pillar issues of accountability through transparency, evaluation and learning; and country ownership of the priorities, resources, and implementation of development.

We saw notable progress for aid reform this past calendar year. In February, the 2014 Farm Bill was reauthorized with positive reforms that ensure greater flexibility and effectiveness of our international food aid programs. PEPFAR announced a three-year agreement with the MCC to promote greater host-country responsibility and ownership in the U.S. global AIDS program in April. The President’s Global Development Council, a group of experts from a variety of sectors that advises the President and other senior officials on global development policy and practice, released its first report. Beyond Business as Usual calls for a focus on the private sector, innovation, transparency and evidence, climate smart food security, and global leadership, coinciding with many of the points from MFAN’s policy paper.

The Government Accountability Office published a report assessing USAID’s Local Solutions initiative, and specifically its principal indicator of the percentage of funds obligated to local organizations in partner countries. The report finds that USAID has increased funding to local organizations, but needs to be doing more to track and measure progress, an issue MFAN’s Country Ownership Working Group is examining as well. The second part of GAO’s report, requested by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected by the spring of 2015. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, established at the Fourth High Level Forum in Busan in 2011, met in April in Mexico City to evaluate donors’ progress on their commitments to the Global Partnership Principles, including the commitment that donors publish all aid data to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard by 2015. While the U.S. continues to make progress on this front, the record is mixed across agencies and more needs to be done to meet the deadline a mere twelve months away.

This summer, MFAN convened the community for a public event to reflect on why accountability and country ownership are central to our agenda and how they are being put into practice. The Foreign Assistance Dashboard grew, adding data from the Department of Agriculture and the State Department. Legislation introduced in the House last year by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Karen Bass (D-CA), the Food Aid Reform Act, and subsequently this past June by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), the Food for Peace Reform Act, would modernize U.S. food aid programs and remove outdated red tape. We will continue to push for similar legislation to be introduced and passed in the new Congress. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, held in Washington DC in August, brought U.S. and African government and civil society leaders together to discuss important issues such as energy and electricity, climate change, and strengthening country ownership. MFAN convened two side events with African civil society leaders to discuss our pillar issues of accountability and country ownership. In working toward its commitment to IATI, the Foreign Assistance Dashboard adopted the IATI standard with a tailored U.S. extension in August, consistent with other donors’ practices.

Into the fall, USAID held its second Frontiers in Development conference focused on ending extreme poverty, tackling questions related to inequality, fragility and instability, climate change, and global health. MFAN’s Accountability Working Group released a one-pager, The Role of Transparency, making the case for why high quality, timely information is key to ensuring our aid has maximum positive impact. In October, Publish What You Fund released its 2014 Aid Transparency Index. This year, the MCC celebrated its 10th Anniversary by maintaining its place among the top three global donors, while PEPFAR made substantial progress by moving up 20 spots in its ranking from 2013. Also, following the fall midterm elections took place, 2015 will usher in a Republican-controlled House and Senate. This positions longstanding aid-effectiveness champions Senator Corker and Congressman Royce to make even more headway as chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, respectively.

As we look toward the kickoff of a new session of Congress and the last two years of the Obama Administration, we will continue to work with the Hill and the Administration to push forward on reform. In early 2015, we will say goodbye to USAID Administrator Raj Shah, who recently announced his mid-February departure. Administrator Shah has been an important ally for reform and has worked hard to strengthen the agency in both its intellectual and operational capacity and effectiveness. We look forward to spending time on the Hill working with and educating new members on the critical relationship between accountability and country ownership. We hope to see new legislation introduced on transparency and evaluation and to continue to push for other important reform-minded bills such as the Food for Peace Reform Act.

2015 will have its share of big moments for development, and we hope in turn for aid reform. In particular, we will be watching closely for the release of a new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the International Conference on Financing for Development, the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals and the introduction of the Post-2015 agenda, and the deadline for the U.S. to meet its commitment to IATI.

We wish everyone a restful and happy New Year and look forward to hitting the ground running in 2015!