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Archive for the ‘MFAN Statement’ Category

Groups Welcome the Release of Administration Proposal for International Food Aid Reform

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
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Below is a joint statement, which was released earlier today on the rumored changes to the U.S. approach to food aid in President Obama’s FY14 budget request. The statement welcomes reports that these changes may include useful reforms and is endorsed by 12 organizations, including MFAN.

food aid groups

Washington, DC, February 26, 2013 - The above groups welcome reports that the Administration may propose helpful reforms to the U.S. food assistance program in its FY2014 budget submission to Congress. We urge the Obama Administration to include a bold reform proposal that builds upon the United States’ historic leadership as the world’s most generous donor of food aid.

When 870 million people around the world go hungry every day, making every food aid dollar count is not only a responsible use of taxpayer money, it is a moral imperative. For that reason, it is critical that any reforms seek efficiencies rather than cuts, and do not alter the basic programmatic focus of the U.S. food aid program. These programs help to feed 55 million people in need around the world, supporting both emergency responses and addressing chronic hunger.

Our organizations strongly support effective foreign assistance to address humanitarian crises and development challenges. We know from our work on the ground that this aid saves lives.  That is why we have advocated for common sense reforms to our outdated food aid system that would allow the United States to continue providing life-saving assistance for millions of people around the world, even in this period of a constrained federal budget.

Making every dollar count for hungry people means adding flexibility to our overseas food assistance so that proven methods such as local and regional purchase (LRP) are part of the food aid toolbox. The recent release of an independent evaluation report of the USDA LRP Pilot Program, established under a provision of the 2008 farm bill, confirms that this approach is a triple win: providing considerable cost savings, faster humanitarian response, and support for the local farmers and agricultural markets that are the key to providing long-term global food security.

Making every dollar count for hungry people also means reducing the inefficient and potentially market distorting practice of selling U.S. commodities to fund non-food components of programs designed to support agriculture, nutrition and food security. It would be far more efficient to fund these activities directly, instead of through circuitous and inefficient route of monetizing food aid.

In a June 2011 report, the Government Accountability Office found that the use of monetization resulted in at least a 30 percent loss of resources to non-emergency food aid projects conducted from 2008-2010.

In the current budgetary climate, policymakers cannot afford to ignore any credible proposal to maximize the use of taxpayer dollars while maintaining and even increasing program reach and impact. Our organizations stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to reform our international food aid system so that we can continue to respond to the scourge of global hunger today and build toward a hunger-free future tomorrow.

 

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.

MFAN Statement: Senate Does Disservice to Americans, Allies & Foreign Assistance Recipients by Killing Transparency Legislation

Friday, January 4th, 2013
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January 4, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:

We are disappointed that one Senator’s objection earlier this week killed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3159), which had been scheduled for passage by unanimous consent after the House approved it without objection last week.

Because the bill came so close to becoming law, we are optimistic about its prospects in the 113th Congress and we plan to redouble our efforts to support its passage.  We remain grateful for Texas Rep. Ted Poe’s leadership in introducing the bill, and for the support of original co-sponsor Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and 55 other Members of the House who endorsed the legislation. We also applaud Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Kerry (D-MA) for shepherding the bill in the Senate. Finally, we thank our MFAN partner organizations for the hard work they did in pushing for the legislation’s passage.

The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act would have an unmistakably positive impact on the effectiveness and accountability of our foreign assistance. It would institute a more uniform approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) across all of our assistance programs, while also updating and expanding the Foreign Assistance Dashboard public information website. Equally as important, it would foster more consistent and comprehensive interaction between the Administration and Congress on development issues.

The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent and what they are achieving, and our international partners and foreign assistance recipients themselves need clearer and more consistent information in order to strengthen the impact of programs on the ground. We look forward to working with the 113th Congress on these issues, and we hope the Obama Administration will show its support for the legislation as well.

 

MFAN Statement: Senate Must Pass Landmark Aid Transparency and Evaluation Bill

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
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January 2, 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:

We strongly applaud the House of Representatives for passing the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3159). We commend the bill’s lead author Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and thank the 56 Members of the House from both parties who signed on to support the legislation. We are also grateful to lead Senate sponsors Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Kerry (D-MA) for pursuing the legislation in the Senate.

In order for this bill to become law, the Senate must act before the end of the 112th Congress.  We urge them to pass the bill immediately, and send it to the President for his signature.

This landmark bill would vastly enhance the openness, effectiveness, and accountability of U.S. taxpayer-funded development programs. The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent overseas and what they are achieving.  We urge the Senate to act now.

 

MFAN Statement: Dr. Eric Goosby’s Appointment as Global Health Ambassador

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
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December 18, 2012 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram, and Jim Kolbe:

We congratulate Ambassador Eric Goosby on his appointment to lead the State Department’s new Office of Global Health Diplomacy. He has proven to be a strong public health advocate for poor and minority populations, and his successful stewardship of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator prepares him well for the task ahead.

We are concerned, however, that the continued consolidation of power over health and development programs in the State Department threatens to undermine our overall efforts to achieve greater impact in alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and fostering inclusive economic growth. MFAN’s position has been, and remains, that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) should be the lead agency on global health policy and implementation in the field when the programs being implemented have a significant development impact.  This view is echoed in President Obama’s landmark Policy Directive on Development (PPD), which seeks to “Reestablish the United States as the global leader on international development.  This entails a long-term commitment to rebuilding USAID as the U.S. Government’s lead development agency—and as the world’s premier development agency.” Ambassador Goosby’s description of the new office’s mandate would appear to contradict the PPD, because he indicates that it will play a broad internal U.S. government coordination role in addition to external coordination and diplomatic support—in essence, it will replace the former Global Health Initiative Secretariat with a new secretariat, also based at the State Department.

We welcome the State Department’s commitment to elevate global health as a diplomatic priority, but we believe it is the wrong approach to embed health and development programs so heavily in a diplomatic power structure. The risk is that decisions about these programs will, in some cases, be driven by the short-term politics, instead of by the long-term focus that is needed to drive sustainable health and development results. We also remain puzzled that the State Department has not done more to recognize and enhance the role of USAID as the U.S. government’s lead policy and implementing agency on all development issues, including global health, as laid out in the PPD. We encourage Ambassador Goosby and his team to fully integrate the expertise of development professionals into their activities as the office begins its work.