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Archive for the ‘White House’ Category

MFAN Partner Analyzes MDG Strategy from Aid Transparency Angle

Friday, August 6th, 2010
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See the guest blog post below from MFAN Partner Publish What You Fund, one of the 200 signatories to the Open Letter.

Obama Administration Starts Delivering on Aid Transparency

Karin Chirstiansen 218 months in, the Obama administration is starting to deliver on its commitment to transparency within U.S. foreign assistance programs and policy.  On July 30, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah unveiled the new U.S. strategy for meeting the Millennium Development Goals “Celebrate, Innovate, and Sustain: Toward 2015 and Beyond”.  We applaud the announcement, which includes launching an ‘aid transparency initiative,’  and look forward to seeing concrete timelines, detailed plans and robust policy that will ensure the potential of this initiative is brought to life.

The Strategy commits to “improving the transparency of aid flows”[i] to address “data shortages, comparability problems [as] large lag times weaken [U.S.] ability to measure progress toward the Goals”[ii]:


New GMF Paper Creates a Model for a Global Development Strategy

Friday, July 23rd, 2010
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MFAN Partner the German Marshall Fund of the United States this week hosted a discussion on a new paper that offers a model for a U.S. Global Development Strategy.  The paper was written by MFAN Principal and GMF Senior Resident Fellow Jim Kunder and MFAN member Jonathan White, senior program officer at GMF.  The paper, titled “The Roadmap for a Grand Bargain: Comments on a U.S. Global Development Strategy,” draws from existing foreign assistance approaches and recent support from the Obama Administration and Congress for the notion of formulating the United States’ first-ever global development strategy for the 21st century.  The major distinction in the new model is that it fundamentally changes the way the U.S. approaches development – moving from a focus on inputs to a focus on outcomes.


MFAN Partner CGD Reviews New FAA Draft, Questions Sec. Clinton’s Rationale for Elevating Development

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
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In a new post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog, MFAN member Sarah Jane Staats, director of policy outreach at CGD, offers a reaction to the recently released discussion draft of the development portions of the “Global Partnerships Act of 2010,” which is the proposed title of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman’s (D-CA) much-anticipated initial rewrite of the antiquated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

Staats applauds three aspects of the working draft:

1) it appropriately defines the scope of “development” as being far broader than foreign assistance, to include debt relief, trade, agriculture, migration, environmental protection, arms sales, and all other U.S. policies that affect development;

2) it restores authority to the administrator of the U.S. Government’s lead development agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and calls for the administrator to serve at a minimum as vice-chair of a new interagency Development Policy Committee (the chair is left at the President’s discretion); and


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.