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Archive for the ‘MFAN Statement’ Category

MFAN Statement: More than 200 Endorsers Agree that Aid Reform is Within Reach

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
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August 5, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

Forty days after President Obama pledged to issue a new development policy “in the near future” – and with no word yet on when it will be released – MFAN, joined by more than 200 partner organizations and individuals, has published an Open Letter urging the President to show much-needed leadership to reform foreign assistance and strengthen America’s commitment to global development.  The letter, published in today’s issue of Politico, urges President Obama to:

  • Create America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy – which is referenced in the leaked Presidential Study Directive draft, “A New Way Forward on Global Development”; and
  • Partner with Congress to rewrite the outdated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, a working draft of which House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman recently released.

We applaud the steps taken by the Obama Administration thus far to elevate development as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, which will help us do a better job of reducing poverty and spurring economic growth worldwide.  But these efforts, including initiatives such as Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative, will not reach their full potential unless our country has an overarching Global Development Strategy.

“The volume and variety of signatories – from NGOs, think tanks, and corporations to former U.S. government officials and private-sector leaders – indicates the widespread support and urgent need for the President to take definitive action toward reforming our foreign assistance system,” said Co-Chair George Ingram.  “We must have a Global Development Strategy to clearly state what we are trying to achieve, how different actors within the U.S. government will contribute to that mission, and who will be in charge of – and accountable for – achieving results.  Likewise, the Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act no longer provides a realistic and understandable framework for the U.S. foreign assistance system, and the President must be engaged with Congress in a collaborative effort to rewrite the legislation.  The stakes – for U.S. national interests and for the health, prosperity, and stability of the developing world – are too high for continued inaction.”

The Open Letter is the centerpiece of our Reform Within Reach campaign, which is also focused on sharing development success stories and educating the American public about the important role U.S. development efforts play in our national security.  Individuals can still sign on to our Open Letter by clicking here.

MFAN Partners Respond to Obama’s G8 Statement on Development

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
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Sarah Jane StaatsIn a new post on the Center for Global Development’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog, MFAN member Sarah Jane Staats reviews Obama’s recently released announcement on the G8, “A New Approach to Advancing Development.” Staats applauds the statement for putting a “little more meat on the bones” of U.S. global development strategy, but notes that the real challenge will be putting the policy directive into practice and tailoring U.S. development policy to reflect the goals and guidelines expressed in the announcement. Read a few excerpts and a similar post by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition after the jump:


MFAN Statement: Praise for President Obama’s Development Leadership at the G8 Summit

Monday, June 28th, 2010
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June 28, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

MFAN commends President Obama for showing leadership on development with his statement at the G8 Summit in Muskoko.  We continue to strongly support the Administration’s efforts to elevate and institutionalize the idea, most recently articulated in the National Security Strategy, that fighting global poverty is a “moral, strategic, and economic imperative for the United States,” as well as a key component of our “comprehensive, integrated” foreign policy in a world of complex challenges.

We eagerly await the impending release of the development policy directive highlighted in the G8 statement, and we support the general themes of growth, innovation, partnership, and accountability that were affirmed in the document.  We are particularly hopeful that the directive will answer a critical question that has not yet been addressed by the Administration: How will the U.S. foreign assistance system be modernized to institutionalize the importance of development, make U.S. assistance more responsive to local priorities, and deliver transformative results for the poor people we are trying to help?

In conjunction with the release of the directive, we call on the Administration to take three important steps to catalyze and strengthen the reform process:

  • Fill the senior leadership void at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which currently lacks the full complement of Deputy Administrators and Assistant Administrators needed to effectively execute the Administration’s new approach;
  • Prepare America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy ahead of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in September, in order to set a strategic foundation for U.S. development efforts and deliver on the President’s pledge to announce “a plan” for how the U.S. will contribute to eradicating extreme poverty by the MDG deadline in 2015; and
  • Announce now that the Administration will work with Congress to modernize foreign assistance in a durable way, including by rewriting the antiquated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective in support of global development and poverty reduction.

MFAN Statement: MFAN Congratulates Bread for the World and Rev. David Beckmann on 2010 World Food Prize

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
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June 16, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chair George Ingram:

On behalf of my fellow MFAN Principals and the entire network, I offer my most sincere congratulations to our friend and colleague Rev. David Beckmann for winning the 2010 World Food Prize.  Throughout his career as President of Bread for the World and, more recently, as MFAN’s Co-Chair, David has been a tireless advocate for millions around the world suffering from extreme poverty and hunger.  His strong and compelling voice has also helped drive unprecedented progress on foreign assistance reform, which will directly benefit those poor and hungry worldwide.

After the announcement, David commented on foreign assistance reform in the context of the award:

“Right now, we have exceptional opportunities to win changes in Congress to provide help and opportunity to hungry people in our country and around the world.  For example, we have the best chance we have had in decades to reform U.S. foreign aid so that we’ll make the best possible use of tax dollars and get more of our aid to people who really need help.  Getting more serious about ending hunger in this country and around the world would be good for our nation and good for our souls.”

I believe David’s prize will help energize the entire reform movement as we push for President Obama to deliver America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy and work with Congress on new foreign assistance legislation that will make our development efforts more effective and accountable than ever before.

MFAN Statement: MFAN Applauds Administrator Shah for Restoring Policy Expertise at USAID

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
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June 9, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

We strongly commend the Obama Administration and Administrator Raj Shah for the recent launch of the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  MFAN and its members have advocated aggressively for rebuilding the policy capability within the U.S. government’s lead development agency.  The Bureau will restore the ability of USAID’s world-class development professionals to plan and execute innovative, 21st-century programs that deliver better results for the people we are trying to empower and U.S. taxpayers, while also contributing expert input into important national security and foreign policy debates that have major development components.

But the creation of PPL, which was also called for in S.1524 introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Minority Member Dick Lugar (R-IN), is merely one stop on the road to making sure we get the most out of every development dollar we spend during this time of tight budgets and big global challenges.  We look forward to hearing more from the Administration and USAID on their plans to restore budgeting capacity and drive procurement reforms at the Agency, and we urge President Obama to show public support and leadership on development by taking additional steps:

  • Craft America’s first-ever U.S. Global Development Strategy – as recommended in the leaked draft of the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7) – that can guide the development efforts of USAID and other agencies; and
  • Partner with Congress on comprehensive, durable foreign assistance reform legislation, in particular the rewrite of the antiquated, Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, a draft of which is already being developed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA).

As a network, we are prepared to bring our collective substantive and operational expertise to bear to help the PPL create innovative solutions for our greatest development challenges.

For more information, contact Sam Hiersteiner at or visit