To the MFAN network:
Several months ago, MFAN issued a challenge to U.S. government agencies involved in global development: we asked them to provided public information on how they were working to make the core tenets of the September, 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) a reality. Transparency is a critically important component of the reform process for the American public, our donor and developing country government partners, development practitioners, and, most of all, aid recipients. We at MFAN are particularly focused on ensuring the Administration remains committed to transparency as this new approach to global development is brought to life in our policymaking and programming.
We are pleased that four key agencies responded to our call: we have received information from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the Peace Corps. Our review of this information (which can be viewed on our new microsite) gives us reason to believe that the new policy has meaningfully enhanced interagency dialogue and coordination and set us on a path toward greater transparency and accountability for U.S. taxpayers and recipient countries. As other agencies respond, we will add the information they provide, along with our analysis, to the site.
We have assessed the agencies’ responses based on criteria laid out in our own agenda—From Policy to Practice—including recommendations on eliminating wasteful regulations, partnering better with donors, and responding to local priorities. Overall, we are pleased with some of the progress made:
- USAID’s Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCS) are a positive example of how the agency has put a premium on locally-driven priorities;
- With a redesigned Threshold Program that was better able to target constraints to growth, MCC supported Tunisia following the Arab Spring;
- Through the recently launched African Competitiveness and Trade Enhancement initiative, USTR is helping to provide technical assistance to sub-Saharan African countries to enhance regional and global trade; and
- More than 3,000 Peace Corps volunteers helped to implement the Stomping Out Malaria campaign in Africa, done in collaboration with the President’s Malaria Initiative, by assisting communities with the distribution of bed nets and collecting data for evaluation purposes.
So where do we go from here?
In the short term, we feel the information gathered on our microsite is another strong sign that the Administration has embraced openness and will continue to look for ways to make our foreign assistance system more efficient and effective. Transparency is linked to accountability, and our community has been called on by Administration officials to hold them accountable for their reform commitments. We hope that the light we are shedding on PPD implementation will help all development stakeholders in holding the Administration accountable and advancing reform.
This site is not meant to be stagnant, and we hope today to launch a longer-term conversation with all development stakeholders—in DC, in the field, among citizens of developing countries, implementing partners, donor governments, multilateral organizations, and thinkers—about whether and how these changes are bearing fruit on the ground. Is the direction our policies have taken the right one? Are we achieving the desired results, or should we be doing more or differently? We will be providing opportunities and prompts for you to contribute your voices to this conversation, through the microsite and our ModernizeAid blog. The more people contribute, the more accountability—and the better results—we will see.
As a sign of your support for this initiative, we encourage you to share the following message on Twitter and Facebook:
MFAN likes #transparency. RT to join us in holding the Admin accountable for development reforms http://www.modernizeaid.net/policy-to-action/