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Archive for the ‘Obama Administration’ Category

MFAN Statement: Food Aid Reform Necessary; Administration Urged to Release Proposal

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
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February 19, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network is intrigued by reports that the Obama Administration may propose changes to the U.S. approach to providing overseas food assistance, including reforms that could make this assistance more cost effective and allow us to reach more people around the world in need of help.  While we don’t yet have details of these proposed changes, we believe strongly that improving the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S. food aid is long overdue and could provide millions more people with life-saving assistance—all without increasing the budget for these programs.

The current approach to delivering food aid is outdated and in need of reform.  In an era of decreasing budgets, policymakers simply can’t afford not to consider any credible proposal to maximize the impact of taxpayer dollars.  We urge the Administration to make its proposal public and include it in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, and we urge Congress to give it careful and complete consideration.

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.

 

 

USAID Administrator Should be Given Seat on NSC

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
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Last week, Foreign Policy’s “Best Defense” blog had a guest post from Major Jaron Wharton, U.S. Army. In the piece, Maj. Wharton makes a compelling case for the USAID Administrator to be granted a seat on the National Security Council given the increased role development plays in our national security. MFAN has long held the position that the USAID Administrator should hold a seat on the National Security Council, especially with the emphasis on smart power seen during the Obama Administration. Read the full piece here and see key excerpts below:

“Because we are living in times that require a fully integrated national security approach, the USAID administrator should become the president’s principal advisor for development and assistance (akin to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff role and associated linkage to the secretary of defense, but concomitant to the secretary of state) and a permanent member on the National Security Council. This elevated position will provide the president with unfettered development advice, while codifying the position that development is on par with defense and diplomacy. Maintaining USAID’s intimate relationship with State recognizes the inherent ties of development assistance to foreign policy.”

[ ... ]

“USAID should take internal steps to reinforce its relevance and further professionalize its engagement in the national security apparatus. However, as in Goldwater-Nichols, where the ramifications for the professionalization of the Joint Staff were extreme, USAID is already fully-capable of the increased level of responsibility. There is no longer a dichotomy within USAID between those focused on altruistic development and assistance and those who understand the necessity, practicality, and Hill-emphasized need for more targeted work to support national security objectives.

Indeed, the development portfolio is now facing critical challenges and is at significantly increased risk given growing fiscal constraints. Despite being elevated by the Global Development Policy to be on par with defense and diplomacy, elements of any effort by the agency to demonstrate true relevancy in national security must include improved and sustained engagement in the NSS. This inherently makes the case USAID’s activities are considered in the national interest. Elevation of the administrator as a permanent member on the NSC provides an additional forcing function on the broader USG to recognize this point. At a minimum, the USAID administrator should be elevated and maintain his presence at the principals’ committee level beyond an “informal member as appropriate.”

Women Thrive Welcomes President’s Memo on Empowering Women and Girls Globally

Friday, February 1st, 2013
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Please see below for a guest post from Ritu Sharma, Co- Founder & President of Women Thrive Worldwide. 

It’s not that often that we get to tell you about a big new thing that will empower women and girls from around the world. But this week, we can!

Yesterday (January 30th), the President signed the memorandum Coordination of Policies and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally and sent it off to all heads of executive departments and agencies. We at Women Thrive Worldwide are excited to see the President issue such a strong statement of support for gender equality, and ask that all of the government take this seriously.

Specifically, the memorandum calls for the Secretary of State to designate an Ambassador at Large to lead the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The Ambassador at Large would be responsible for making sure that policies and programs benefit women and girls and that the overall focus of international policy, including partnerships with other countries and working with NGOs and companies around the world, is to empower women and girls worldwide. This position existed under Secretary Clinton, and helped enormously to make gender a core part of our nation’s foreign policy. Women Thrive has been working hard to ensure that this focus on women and girls continues after Sec. Clinton’s departure. Yesterday’s memo helps ensures that it will.

This is good news for women and girls around the world. It’s also just smart policy. When women and girls do well, whole communities do well. We at Women Thrive know this especially from our work with organizations and women around the globe.  Women comprise a majority of the world’s poorest citizens, and any long-term effort to increase global security and prosperity must include women at its core.

While this is just one step of many our government can take to ensure that the policy making process is effective in meeting our global goals, it’s a particularly good one.

You can read the President’s full memorandum online 

The Results are in

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
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Thank you to all who participated in our survey asking which voice should be added to fill the remaining three seats on the President’s Global Development Council. The missing voice that received the most votes is a U.S. civil society or NGO leader. View the voting results below.

 

Global Development Council votes