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Archive for the ‘White House’ Category

GMF Transatlantic Blog Series Explores Relationship among Three Ds

Monday, July 19th, 2010
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MFAN Partner The German Marshall Fund, in cooperation with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, created the Transatlantic Taskforce on Development.  The mission for the taskforce — made up of 24 members from the U.S., Canada, and Europe — is as follows:

  • To provide strategic recommendations to strengthen transatlantic cooperation in development
  • To support the creation of conditions for reform.

The taskforce recently launched a blog series to explore what it identifies as a major challenge to development: coordination among the three Ds.  The series is jointly written by former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and former chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Richard Manning.

In a new post, Natsios notes the “policy paralysis” in the development debate and argues for what will need to happen in Washington in order for development to be elevated alongside diplomacy and defense in a blog titled, Development and Security: Can the United States overcome beltway disputes and elevate Development alongside Defense and Diplomacy?” He lists three decisions made by the Obama Administration that have weakened USAID, as well as Secretary Clinton’s decision to build on the architecture put in place by Secretary Rice at the State Department during the Bush Administration.  Most importantly, Natsios echoes MFAN’s Reform Within Reach call to action when he specifically urges the President to show leadership and create a strategy for U.S. development that will ensure the U.S. is an effective partner and leader in foreign assistance.  See excerpts from Natsios’ post below:


CQ Article Quotes MFAN Co-Chairs, Highlights Hill Aid Reform Leadership

Monday, July 19th, 2010
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Howard Bermanart.kerry.lugar.giA CQ article (full text below) published today, which quotes MFAN Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram, gives a rundown of how the leadership of Congressional leaders Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) has helped drive unprecedented progress on foreign assistance reform.  The missing ingredient that could push reform efforts over the top, according to the article?  Presidential leadership.

To join MFAN’s effort to urge President Obama to show leadership on foreign assistance reform and strengthen the U.S. commitment to development, please sign our Open Letter to the President, which has already been endorsed by more than 70 organizations and prominent individuals.

July 19, 2010

Backers Say Time Is Ripe For Foreign Aid Overhaul

By Emily Cadei, CQ Staff

The earthquake that slammed Haiti in January also rocked the U.S. Agency for International Development and its brand-new administrator, Rajiv Shah, who were promptly assigned to head up the civilian U.S. response to the disaster. The experience of the next several months afterward was eye-opening and “helped me shape my agenda for reform for the agency writ large,” Shah said in a speech last month.


Action Alert: Reform Within Reach Campaign Launches Today

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
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Obama Reform Within Reach CTA

Today, MFAN is proud to announce the launch of its Reform Within Reach campaign aimed at getting President Obama to show leadership on foreign assistance reform and strengthen America’s commitment to development.

To serve as the rallying cry for the campaign, MFAN created the “Open Letter to President Obama on the U.S. Commitment to Global Development.”  This letter, which has already been signed by 50 organizations, calls for President Obama to create America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy and partner with Congress to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

We need your help in getting the message out and letting President Obama know that his leadership on reform is critical to achieving U.S. foreign policy goals.  This issue is even more important with the Millennium Development Goals Summit fast approaching in New York in September, when the eyes of the world will be on the fight against global poverty and the U.S. role in that fight.  As you’ll remember, one year ago, President Obama made a promise at the UN General Assembly to return to the MDGs Summit with a plan for how the U.S. will strengthen its contribution on development.  We must hold him accountable to that pledge.

Action is needed now.  You can take the following steps to join us in this important call to action:

  • Join individuals from across the country and sign the Open Letter
  • Download a badge for your Facebook, MySpace, or other profile page to show you support more effective foreign aid
  • Read about how reform will make even more U.S. aid success stories possible
  • Tweet:  “I signed a letter urging Pres Obama to increase U.S. foreign aid’s impact.  YOUR TURN! #ReformWithinReach” and follow us @ModernizeAid to see how momentum for reform is building

Washington Post Columnist: President Has Hard Choices to Make on Development

Friday, July 9th, 2010
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In today’s “In the Loop,” Washington Post columnist Al Kamen lays out the turf battle over who has authority for U.S. development programs.   Kamen cites House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman’s (D-CA) recently released working draft of a new Foreign Assistance Act — known as the Preambles — and notes a reaction from the State Department.  Read the full piece here and read an excerpt below on the tough choice President Obama faces:

“The Pentagon says it wants out of the development business because that’s not what it does. So the question, which apparently the White House will resolve, is whether development is going to be a distinct, though coordinated, function. That is, who’s going to be in charge of development out in the field.”

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.