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Archive for the ‘MFAN Statement’ Category

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 shiersteiner@gpgdc.com or visit www.moderizeaid.net.

MFAN Statement: MFAN Applauds the National Security Strategy, Calls for More Action on the U.S. Approach to Development

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
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May 27, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

We applaud the emphasis on global poverty reduction and development in President Obama’s new National Security Strategy (NSS), which states, “Development is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative.”  We are also delighted that the National Security Strategy calls for “development capabilities [to] be modernized.” This new, integrated approach that harnesses all the tools of American power – including development – will go a long way toward confronting the challenges of today that include extreme poverty, disease, food security, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

The White House and State Department have been studying development issues for months through two major policy reviews, a draft of one which was recently leaked to the press.  While the Presidential Study Directive draft is commendable for stressing the need for a coherent, government-wide approach and outlining ways to revitalize and strengthen the U.S. Agency for International Development, we still need presidential leadership that will articulate a clear, overarching vision for U.S. efforts.

Now that the National Security Strategy is in place, we look to the President to outline his policies for international development and how our government’s capabilities in this area should be updated. Key leadership from both parties and in both chambers of Congress have already taken steps that will contribute to more effective foreign assistance. The President should signal that his administration is now ready to work with Congress on driving the reform agenda and making U.S. foreign assistance programs more efficient and effective for U.S. taxpayers in this time of tight budgets.

We understand that the White House intends to develop a first-ever Global Development Strategy to complement the National Security Strategy.  We hope that President Obama will be able to deliver this strategy in time for the United Nations Summit in September, so that we can engage our partners and allies – fulfilling another principle of the NSS – in the fight against global poverty.

For more information, contact Sam Hiersteiner at shiersteiner@gpgdc.com or visit www.moderizeaid.net.

MFAN Statement: USAID Should Lead ‘Feed the Future’ Effort

Thursday, May 20th, 2010
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MFAN Statement: USAID Should Oversee Food Security Initiative

May 20, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

The implementation plan for the Obama Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, that was released today demonstrates adherence to key foreign assistance reform principles in accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by 2015:

  • Invest in country-owned plans that reflect the needs of individual countries;
  • Strengthen strategic coordination among a variety of stakeholders and partners, including civil society and the private sector;
  • Ensure a comprehensive approach that connects humanitarian relief to sustainable development efforts;
  • Leverage the benefits of multilateral institutions; and
  • Deliver on sustained commitments that are accountable and transparent.

However, in order for Feed the Future to succeed as part of a whole-of-government approach, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – the U.S. government’s lead development agency – needs to be put in charge of the food security initiative and oversee its implementation process.  Feed the Future’s two key objectives for addressing global food insecurity are accelerating agricultural growth and production in developing countries and improving nutritional status, in particular of women and children – both of which are inherently poverty-focused development goals.

“USAID is our main agency for international development, and the head of USAID should be given unambiguous authority to drive this urgent initiative,” said Beckmann.