Yesterday, The New Republic foreign policy blog, “Entanglements,” posted a piece by David Rieff examining Secretary Clinton’s recent speech on the Global Health Initiative (GHI) at Johns Hopkins’ SAIS. Rieff discusses Clinton’s speech in terms of the Obama administration’s approach to development – questioning whether there is enough funding and bureaucratic support to realize the numerous goals Clinton laid out. Rieff offers a critical review of GHI and other development efforts: the decision to have three agencies in charge of GHI’s day-to-day operations; policymakers’ claims of development assistance as a tool of “public diplomacy” and a way to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the continued priority funding for military programs. Despite the critical tone, Rieff raises some interesting points about the overall direction of the Obama administration’s approach to development. Read full text of the post here and see key excerpts below:
Archive for the ‘White House’ Category
MFAN Co-Chair David Beckmann, World Food Prize laureate and President of Bread for the World, has a new piece on foreign assistance reform, offering two steps President Obama should take now to put the U.S. on a path to more efficient, effective aid — the same two action steps listed in MFAN’s Open Letter, published yesterday. The op-ed first appeared in The Huffington Post, but find full text of the piece after the jump:
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
18 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]:
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 DevelopmentThursday, July 22nd, 2010
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