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Archive for the ‘USAID’ Category

A Look Back at USAID’s Major Reforms: Policy, Procurement and Budget Reforms

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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Earlier, we took a look back at the launch of the US Foreign Assistance Dashboard. Now, in recognition of the significant reforms USAID has already undergone, we turn to more bureaucratic reforms tackled this year. First up is the establishment, or reestablishment, of a Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning at USAID. Announced in early June, this was one of the first major reforms Shah launched. In a statement, MFAN Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram said: “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.”

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The Modern Development Enterprise – A Look Back at USAID’s Major Reforms

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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In advance of USAID Administrator Raj Shah’s major speech tomorrow, hosted by MFAN Partner the Center for Global Development, we’re revisiting some of the agency’s major reforms over the past year. Be sure to check ModernizeAid throughout the coming days for complete coverage of the speech, including MFAN Partner reactions. Also, look for us on Twitter as we live-tweet the speech by following @modernizeaid and retweet often!

One of the most exciting developments was the launch of the US Foreign Assistance Dashboard—the first comprehensive, web-based tool that provides information to policymakers, aid partners, and the public about where U.S. foreign assistance is going and what impact it is having in saving lives and helping vulnerable people build livelihoods.slide_1MFAN Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram said, “It is hard to overstate how important this new tool is to making U.S. foreign assistance more effective.  The Dashboard increases transparency in U.S. foreign assistance in an unprecedented way, and in doing so, it allows policymakers and aid partners to make more informed decisions, while also helping citizens here and abroad hold their leaders accountable for delivering results on development.”

Publish What You Fund, a valuable MFAN Partner, praised the launch of www.foreignassistance.gov and commented, “The most important and exciting thing about the site is that it is the beginning of more and better things to come.  This is the first output of an important interagency aid transparency process working to develop a common framework and publish aid information, documents and data across all of the agencies providing foreign assistance.”

Our friends at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights said, “The work of the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights with Zanmi Lasante in Haiti over the last eight years has demonstrated that impacted communities tend to be the last to know critical details of planned international interventions.  Communities may not be informed of project plans or how to seek redress for any problems that arise.  The increased transparency from the Dashboard will allow those with internet access to gain important information, but it is necessary that information is made accessible in a variety of ways appropriate to each context, including multiple languages and formats.”

For more responses and reactions to the new foreign assistance dashboard, visit our blog here.

Shah to Give Major Speech on Development

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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Tomorrow, MFAN Partner the Center for Global Development will host USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah for a major speech on development. Dubbed “The Modern Development Enterprise,” we expect to hear details about the agency’s reform agenda, USAID Forward, as well as his experience leading the agency over the past year. The event is now full, but will be webcast on the CGD website. Event details below:

The Modern Development Enterprise

Keynote speech by
Dr. Rajiv Shah
Administrator, USAID

Introduction and remarks by
Nancy Birdsall
President, Center for Global Development

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
2:00pm–3:00pm

at
Top of the Hill Conference Center
One Constitution Ave, NE in Washington, DC

This event is now full, if you are unable to register, please join us via webcast during the event.
or add your name to the wait list

Since being sworn in as the 16th administrator of USAID on January 7th, Dr. Rajiv Shah has taken a number of steps to position U.S. development efforts as a critical and dynamic component of U.S. foreign policy.  From taking the lead on the Feed the Future initiative to internal reforms within USAID, Dr. Shah has demonstrated his leadership in making the agency a cutting edge actor in development, one that puts renewed emphasis on partnerships, innovation and learning, and evidenced-based results.  Over the last 12 months, Shah also co-chaired the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and played an active role in the formulation of President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy.

***Please note you will need to RSVP and show photo ID to enter the event.  Doors will open at 1:15pm.Guests must arrive before 1:45pm to clear security. Those who arrive after 1:45pm may not be admitted.***

MFAN Partner Launches USAID Monitor

Monday, January 10th, 2011
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Today, MFAN Partner the Center for Global Development launched the USAID Monitor. This new initiative will include research andUSAID Monitor analysis aimed at monitoring the implementation of key reforms, including the Presidential Policy Directive and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review—as they relate to the administration’s pledge to establish USAID as the world’s premier development agency. Like its sister the MCA monitor, CGD writes:

“The Monitor will focus on aid effectiveness, transparency, and the efficient use of federal funds to support U.S. foreign policy. It will track new initiatives begun by Administrator Shah as embodied in USAID Forward. It will pay special attention to the agency’s new approach to evidence-based policy and planning and will monitor congressional activities that affect its authorities and capacity to achieve development objectives.”

“With the increasing number of government agencies administering some type of foreign assistance, and the State Department’s adoption of a “whole-of-government” approach to development, the Monitor will scrutinize the role the agency plays in new White House initiatives such as Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative, and the Global Climate Change Initiative.”

Be sure to check back for updates from CGD and stay tuned for MFAN’s benchmarks for reform.

MFAN Partner Takes a Closer Look at the QDDR

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
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Just before the holidays, MFAN Partner InterAction posted an in-depth analysis of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) on the organization’s QDDR webpage. The reaction focuses specifically on chapter five of the review, “Working Smarter: Reforming Our Personnel, Procurement, and Planning Capabilities to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century.” The policy staff argue that the reforms listed in this chapter—namely reworking the planning, budgeting, and management between State and USAID—impact all the other recommendations in the QDDR and could be considered the first step toward an overhaul of these programs. The major reforms listed in this chapter include:

  • Personnel reform
  • A revamp of the procurement system, which entails:
    • Increasing oversight and accountability measures
    • Enhancing competition between implementing partners
    • Broadening the partner base
    • Building local capacity
  • An increase in the use of country systems
  • Further integration of planning and budgeting between the two agencies

    See below for excerpts from the analysis, and click here to read the full piece:

    “While there is much to applaud in the report, its shift towards a national security foundation for diplomacy and development raises significant concerns among development professionals. Over time, how this affects the planning and selection of development solutions at both State and USAID could result in an undercutting of the elevation of development which the QDDR asserts as one of its key goals.  Furthermore, how the reforms outlined in the report are implemented will determine whether humanitarian and development programs in the field are strengthened or weakened.”

    “In the long-term, reliable and accountable local systems should create the conditions for which development assistance is no longer needed.  However, as currently outlined, the training appears to focus on increasing the access that small organizations and local civil society currently have  to official U.S. resources. There must be an accompanying effort to assess and build the capacity of these organizations to achieve development goals.”

    “With new mechanisms such as joint mission planning, pooled funding, and the potential creation of a unified Defense Department, State, and USAID national security budget, the QDDR plans to build on the existing system as well as increase efficiency and resource allocation. Of particular note is a graphic in chapter five (pictured below), which outlines the new strategic planning methodology.  InterAction notes that graphic omits the recent Presidential Policy Directive, which established the U.S. Global Development strategy.”

    QDDR p194