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Archive for the ‘State Department’ Category

Brookings, CSIS Issue New Report on Foreign Assistance Reform

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
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Noam UngerBrookingsCSIS logoMargaret Taylor

In a new report – “Capacity for Change: Reforming U.S. Assistance Efforts in Poor and Fragile Countries” – by co-authors Noam Unger (Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution and MFAN Principal), Margaret Taylor (Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project), and Frederick Barton (former co-director of the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project), policymakers are presented with key recommendations to inform a coherent and effective national approach to both stabilization and broader development.

As the Obama administration moves through two strategic reviews – the Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy and the State Department’s first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review – the report concludes that “there is a stunningly broad consensus that improvement is needed across the board” on how the U.S. government provides foreign aid.  The report also predicts that “new presidential decisions and policies are expected” from the administration this spring on key questions around foreign assistance and the elevation of development as a strong pillar of U.S. foreign policy.

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Sec. Clinton’s Remarks on World Health Day

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
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Read Secretary of State Clinton’s remarks below, in which she talks about the impact of global health on poverty and how the administration’s Global Health Initiative will address these challenges to foster security, political stability, and economic growth and development.

Today the United States joins the World Health Organization and countries around the world in commemorating World Health Day.

This year’s theme is “Urbanization and Health: Urban Health Matters.” The rapid rise in the number of people living in cities will be among the top global health issues of the 21st century. The World Health Organization estimates that six out of every 10 people will be city dwellers by 2030, rising to seven out of 10 by 2050. In many cases, especially in the developing world, the speed of urbanization has outpaced the ability of governments to build and maintain essential health, water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure and provide basic services.

Disease is both a symptom of poverty — with over-crowding, inadequate infrastructure and lack of health care increasing transmission and susceptibility — and also a contributor to poverty. Poor health shreds communities, undermines economic opportunity, and holds back progress. And it denies children around the world the opportunity to live up to their full God-given potential. We have also seen that oceans and borders are no defense against the pandemics that threaten us all. These are global challenges that demand a global response.

The United States and our international partners are committed to improving health and strengthening health systems around the world. We understand that addressing global health challenges is not just a humanitarian imperative — it will also bolster global security, foster political stability and promote economic growth and development.

Through our Global Health Initiative, we are investing $63 billion, with an emphasis on women and girls whose health has the biggest impact on families and communities. Efforts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Safe Water Programs and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Making Cities Work strategy are focused on public health concerns of urban residents worldwide. Our foreign assistance programs are improving local governance, creating new partnerships with civil society and the private sector, and targeting the urgent needs of the urban poor. From Afghanistan to Zambia, we are helping cities create a better quality of life for their inhabitants through access to higher paying jobs, improved health care, and quality education.

On this World Health Day, let us renew our resolve to work together to meet the global health challenges of the 21st century.

QDDR Blog Series Wrap-up

Monday, April 5th, 2010
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With the release of initial findings from the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) on the horizon, MFAN put forward a variety of perspectives from across the coalition on how the QDDR can complement legislation and promote transparency, civil society engagement, gender, and ownership to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective and accountable.  The QDDR will provide a strategic blueprint for U.S. development and diplomacy efforts – the first of its kind.  This unique review, the idea for which came from a Secretary of State fully committed to development issues, will undoubtedly have an effect on other key actions including the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy and bipartisan reform efforts in the House and the Senate.  Because of the impact the QDDR will have on reform, it remains critical for the MFAN community, and the broader network of concerned citizens, to stay engaged and continue to “ask the hard questions.”  Below is a recap of each of the blogs from the QDDR series:

George Ingram: “Whether we are talking about integration, authority, or any of the other technical issues related to foreign assistance reform, perhaps the most basic – and critical – question is this: What do America’s development professionals and institutions need to deliver better results for the struggling people we are trying to help as well as for U.S. taxpayers?”

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Annual Spring Peacebuilding Policy Days and Conference

Monday, April 5th, 2010
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The Alliance for Peacebuilding and 3D Security Initiative will hold their annual spring 2010 “Peacebuilding Policy Days” on April 14-15, 2010 on Capitol Hill. Last year, with the help of NGO’s, professionals, former and retired U.S. policymakers, students and faculty from around the country, they met with more than 30 Members of Congress and their staff to educate and inform them on the effectiveness of incorporating peacebuilding strategies in U.S. foreign policy.

This year, as key Members of Congress begin the arduous task of re-writing the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, we want to have an impact and your engagement is needed.

For more information on the agenda, or to register for this year’s event, click here. MFAN Co-Chair George Ingram will be participating on one of the panels. If you have the opportunity to participate, please share your feedback on the MFAN blog!

Sec. Clinton’s Remarks at Haiti Donors’ Conference

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
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Today in New York, a host of foreign governments gathered at the United Nations headquarters to discuss plans to fund reconstruction and long-term development for Haiti.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks to an audience that included Haitian President René Préval, citing the need to continue supporting relief and reconstruction efforts beyond humanitarian grounds, saying “If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination, or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences.”  She also noted critical reforms that had begun to turn the country around – including 3% growth of Haiti’s economy – just before the earthquake struck on January 12th.  See the following excerpts from her speech that use foreign assistance reform principles like country ownership, coordination, better monitoring and evaluation, and transparency to talk about building a better Haiti:

“The leaders of Haiti must take responsibility for their country’s reconstruction. They must make the tough decisions that guide a strong, accountable, and transparent recovery. And that is what they are starting to do with the creation of a new mechanism that provides coordination and consultation so aid can be directed where it is most needed.”

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