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Archive for the ‘MFAN Statement’ Category

MFAN Statement: QDDR Paves Way for Real Reform

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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December 15, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

With today’s release of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the Obama Administration has finalized its roadmap for how U.S. foreign aid can be made more effective, efficient, and accountable in the 21st century.  This is absolutely critical in a resource-constrained world where our efforts to save lives and help vulnerable people build their own livelihoods are as important as our military and diplomatic activities.

Secretary Clinton, Administrator Shah and all the professionals who worked on the QDDR at the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and elsewhere across the government deserve enormous credit.  We are particularly pleased that the QDDR:

  • Strengthens the position of development as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy and sets the stage for civilian development professionals to play a leadership role in America’s global engagement.
  • Institutes changes that will bring clearer lines of authority and responsibility for results to our marquee development programs, by putting USAID’s development experts in the lead on programs like Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative; giving the agency a stronger voice in the interagency policymaking process; and making USAID Chiefs of Mission the lead development advisors to U.S. Ambassadors in the field.
  • Strengthens monitoring and evaluation of development programs and makes future funding of such programs contingent on real results.
  • Places an emphasis on helping recipient countries take ownership of their own development.
  • Brings more transparency to development programs, including by instituting long-term development planning for recipient countries and launching a new web-based dashboard where the public can see how U.S. foreign assistance is delivering results.

These reforms would pay major dividends in terms of lives saved and improved around the world – and they would make sure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are getting into the hands of people who need them.  But they will only have lasting impact if the Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress work together to develop and pass legislation that establishes them in law.  We look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress on this legislation, and we stand ready to make sure the reforms are implemented effectively and transparently.

MFAN Statement: Secretary Clinton’s CFR Speech Falls Short on Development and Aid Reform

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

In an important foreign policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out the Obama Administration’s vision for a modern architecture for U.S. foreign policy, based largely on restoring U.S. global leadership.  Secretary Clinton called development a key feature of this approach, noting that the U.S. will make a concerted effort to develop the capacity of other countries to help lift themselves out of poverty, including by investing in women and girls and supporting countries, like Ghana, that can serve as bulwarks of regional stability.

Recognizing the critical role these efforts play in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary Clinton again highlighted the Administration’s commitment to elevating development as a pillar of our approach to global engagement.  We appreciate this supportive and consistent rhetoric and applaud what the Administration has done to launch new programs like Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative.  However, the Administration has yet to move forward with broad reforms of our foreign aid system, which needs to be updated to take on the challenges of the 21st century.

In the Secretary’s 70-minute address, she covered many topics yet was able to devote just 5 minutes to development—illustrating how other responsibilities of the State Department often crowd out attention to development.  While she talked about restoring the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a world-class agency, it is not yet clear that USAID will be given the authority to lead U.S. development programs in the field.  Development assistance should be coordinated with the State Department, but development programs (helping poor farmers increase their food production, for example) require resolute focus—which USAID can provide better than State.

Secretary Clinton also stressed the importance of development in poor countries to our national security, but aid programs will not be successful unless they are unequivocally focused on development.  When the same dollars are supposed to provide help to poor people and, at the same time, serve other U.S. interests, poor people often get the short end of the stick.  Failure to address these critical issues and enact broad reform now would be a major missed opportunity and would hinder our ability to achieve sustainable results for people suffering from poverty, disease, and lack of opportunity in the developing world.  

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.