blog logo image

Archive for the ‘White House’ Category

MFAN Principal Ray Offenheiser: ‘Aid Needs Help’

Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Ray Offenheiser 1MFAN Principal and President of Oxfam America Ray Offenheiser makes the case for why the Obama Administration needs a National Strategy for Global Development in a new oped in Foreign Policy.  He argues that before the outdated foreign assistance apparatus can be reformed — and in light of operational reforms likely to come out of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) — the President needs to clearly articulate his vision for U.S. global development efforts.  This vision, based on findings from the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7) will then serve as an overarching strategy to guide reform efforts.  See excerpts from Offenheiser’s piece below:

“The fact that one-third of the planet — 2 billion people — remains trapped in poverty poses a singular challenge to the interests and values of the United States. Obama agrees, and has framed development as one of the three pillars of U.S. national security, along with defense and diplomacy. But his government is still trying to address this 21st-century challenge with a 20th-century toolkit.”

“By merely tinkering with the existing system without a clear a vision for what U.S. development efforts should achieve, the Obama administration could end up making things worse, not better. Each new plan, legislative proposal, initiative, or objective further confuses the existing system. Together, they represent a failure of leadership and strategy that hobbles U.S. efforts to fight global poverty.”

“The administration needs to step back and deliver a clear articulation of mission and strategy to guide reform — a National Strategy for Global Development. For those of us in the development community, such a strategy should answer a few basic questions. What are the intended outcomes of U.S. global development policy? How do we know we are investing in the right things? How do we know if development assistance efforts are successful? And how can we best help poor countries — and poor people — lead their own development?”

“Obama’s strategic goal should be to support those citizens and governments who are working together to achieve private-sector driven economic growth that is broad-based, equitable, and sustainable. The strategy’s scope should not be limited to foreign aid, but should reflect the impact of other global policies, such as trade and migration, on development outcomes. The strategy should link global development and humanitarian response both to American values and to U.S. national interests. Importantly, it should clarify that it is always in the U.S. interest to adhere to the principles of effective development and humanitarian response and to seek sustainable development outcomes even in those settings where the United States needs to employ development aid for diplomatic or defense purposes.”

Read the full piece here.

Rozen Reports on FA Debate, USGLC Letter

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

The National Security Council Deputies Committee meeting last week continues to generate buzz with a recent post by Politico blogger Laura Rozen.  Yesterday, Rozen posted a piece that focused on frustration felt on Capitol Hill among members and staff over the lack of significant consultation during the review processes for the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7):

“We recognize there is not consensus within the administration for what is the appropriate direction for foreign assistance reform,” one Hill staffer told POLITICO. “We think it’s appropriate for us to have input in shaping that process and look forward to shaping that process.”


Action Alert: MFAN Partners’ Budget Drives

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

USGLCAs Congress moves on the appropriations process, it is critical that the President’s FY 2011 International Affairs Budget Request is fully funded.  MFAN Partner the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition created a Budget Update Center with a wealth of resources, including fact sheets, graphics, and statements on the budget process and why the International Affairs Budget plays a vital role in our national security.

one_logoThe ONE Campaign — another MFAN partner — recently launched a grassroots campaign urging senators to support the International Affairs Budget.  Read the letter of support and fill in the form here to find your elected official.   Below is a list of senators who have already signed on to the bipartisan letter:


NATO Secretary General Rasmussen on Development

Friday, April 9th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

GERMANY DENMARK NARTOYesterday at the University of Chicago, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gave a speech on “Afghanistan and the Future of Peace Operations.”  The speech focused on NATO’s role in Afghanistan and how — eight years into the conflict — it has only become more clear that both a military and a civilian effort are required for security and success.  Rasmussen made a forceful case for development, saying, “In Afghanistan, there can be no development without security.  But equally, there can be no lasting security without development.”  Later, he spoke about how NATO has adopted a “whole-of-government approach” to Afghanistan; “Diplomats, defense ministries and development experts sit together, plan together and operate together, including in Provincial Reconstruction Teams all over Afghanistan.”  He also made the case for increased partnership among NGOs, international organizations, and other allies and global stakeholders.  See below for more excerpts from his speech, and read the full speech here.

“…everything is, indeed, connected.  The military mission cannot ultimately succeed until the civilian aspects – better governance, improved development, and a rising economy – succeed.”

“The answer is that we need what we call a comprehensive approach. And that is the first lesson of this mission. The days when the military could defeat the enemy, then hand the baton off to the civilians and go home, are past us.”

“We don’t just need better relations with other international organizations and NGOs.  To my mind, NATO also needs to institutionalize a broad and inclusive security dialogue and, where appropriate, partnership with relevant countries from around the world.”

Brookings, CSIS Issue New Report on Foreign Assistance Reform

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Noam UngerBrookingsCSIS logoMargaret Taylor

In a new report – “Capacity for Change: Reforming U.S. Assistance Efforts in Poor and Fragile Countries” – by co-authors Noam Unger (Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution and MFAN Principal), Margaret Taylor (Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project), and Frederick Barton (former co-director of the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project), policymakers are presented with key recommendations to inform a coherent and effective national approach to both stabilization and broader development.

As the Obama administration moves through two strategic reviews – the Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy and the State Department’s first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review – the report concludes that “there is a stunningly broad consensus that improvement is needed across the board” on how the U.S. government provides foreign aid.  The report also predicts that “new presidential decisions and policies are expected” from the administration this spring on key questions around foreign assistance and the elevation of development as a strong pillar of U.S. foreign policy.