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Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

MFAN in the News: QDDR Release

Monday, December 20th, 2010
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Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alongside USAID Administrator Raj Shah and others, rolled out the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). As MFAN Co-Chairs Rev. David Beckmann and George Ingram said in their statement: “With today’s release of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the Obama Administration has finalized its road map for how U.S. foreign aid can be made more effective, efficient, and accountable in the 21st century.  This is absolutely critical in a resource-constrained world where our efforts to save lives and help vulnerable people build their own livelihoods are as important as our military and diplomatic activities.”

MFAN’s Partners responded in force to the release, noting the positive efforts to reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies while boldly pointing to areas where the QDDR is not clear. Below is a collection of excerpts from news stories and opinion pieces featuring MFAN experts from across the network:

  • Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin—of The Cable blog—reported twice on the rollout. MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy, posed a question to the Secretary at the Town Hall last Wednesday on whether the QDDR addresses the tension between short-term diplomatic priorities and long-term development priorities. Clinton responded: “I don’ think there’s any way to resolve it. I don’t think it will disappear but there is a way to diminish it. But we’ve got to have somebody in each country that actually speaks for the entire government.” In a follow-up report, Rogin quoted several MFAN Partners, including MFAN’s Co-Chairs: “David Beckmann and George Ingram, co-chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), called for the reforms in the QDDR to be codified in law through corresponding congressional action. “These reforms would pay major dividends in terms of lives saved and improved around the world — and they would make sure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are getting into the hands of people who need them. But they will only have lasting impact if the Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress work together to develop and pass legislation that establishes them in law,” they said in a statement.”
  • Devex posted a round-up of reactions to the QDDR, including from MFAN’s Co-Chairs, MFAN Principal Connie Veillette of the Center for Global Development, MFAN Principal Noam Unger of the Brookings Institution, ONE CEO and MFAN Principal David Lane, MFAN Principal and InterAction CEO Sam Worthington, and MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Paul O’Brien.
  • In his report, the Christian Science Monitor’s Howard LaFranchi quotes MFAN Principal and executive director of the US Global Leadership Coalition Liz Schrayer, who comments, “The QDDR represents a bold step toward implementing a smart-power foreign policy by elevating our civilian power and ensuring effective, results-driven programs,” says Liz Schrayer, executive director of the US Global Leadership Coalition.”
  • IPS News reported on the rollout, which included a quote from MFAN Principal and InterAction President Sam Worthington: “We urge Congress to support the many positive changes being proposed and to provide the necessary resources for USAID and the State Department as they implement a new, more effective, approach to global development.”
  • Worthington also had an op-ed in The Huffington Post exploring the role State and USAID each play in humanitarian relief and disaster response, as laid out in the QDDR.

Other notable coverage of the rollout includes:

MFAN Partners React to QDDR Release

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
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Below are excerpts from MFAN Partners’ statements in reaction to the release of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) yesterday.  Stay tuned for press coverage of the rollout.

breadMFAN Co-Chair and President of Bread for the World Rev. David Beckmann stated, “The QDDR is an important step in reforming U.S. foreign aid, making U.S. support for development and poverty reduction around the world more effective,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This is yet another way the administration is showing its dedication to providing effective assistance to people all over the world who desperately need it.”

Sam Worthington, MFAN Principal and President and CEO of InterAction, noted, “QDDR is more than just an acronym. This reviewInteractionseeks to use aid and diplomacy more effectively in order to streamline and better coordinate development to meet our national interests,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs. “We urge Congress to support the many positive changes being proposed and to provide the necessary resources for USAID and the State Department as they implement a new, more effective, approach to global development.”

ONEMFAN Principal and ONE CEO David Lane said, “In tough fiscal times, the business of development must be reformed to make the most of every dollar that America invests to help the world’s poorest. It must also increase transparency and improve governance so that progress is sustainable. The reforms outlined in the QDDR, in addition to ongoing efforts like USAID Forward, are central to making America’s development business model better.”Oxfam

Oxfam America’s Paul O’ Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy campaigns, commented, “The QDDR is animportant step in reaffirming the efforts to modernize USAID and further elevate it as ‘the world’s premier development agency.  But the document leaves open the question of how the United States will resolve situations where diplomacy and development will require different approaches and tradeoffs.”

USGLCMFAN Principal and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Liz Schrayer said, “The QDDR represents a bold step towards implementing a smart power foreign policy by elevating our civilian power and ensuring effective, results-driven programs,” said USGLC Executive Director Liz Schrayer.  “This review can help ensure international affairs programs continue to make a critical impact in advancing our national security and economic interests.”

Women Thrive Worldwide logoMFAN Principal Ritu Sharma, President and Co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, noted, “This common-sense approach is a fundamental game-changer for millions of women and girls in villages around the world. What this means is that all programs that the U.S. implements moving forward, worth tens of billions of dollars, have to take the needs and voices of women and girls into account. We have long advocated a move beyond the special, small, separate women’s projects.”

MFAN Principal Noam Unger’s Perspective on the QDDR

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
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On Wednesday, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development unveiled the much-awaited Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) entitled “Leading Through Civilian Power.” The specific conclusions of the review are certainly of interest to many policymakers and policy watchers in Washington and around the world, but it is important to first recognize that the QDDR represents a critical effort to enhance strategic thinking and planning at both State and USAID. With an eye toward sharpened capabilities, one of the biggest tests of the review’s success will be whether it actually fosters an alignment of strategies and plans with appropriate resources.

Although the QDDR focuses on diplomacy and development, its readers should understand that the development issues covered constitute essential components of President Obama’s broader development policy across all the relevant instruments and agencies of the U.S. government, including but not limited to State and USAID. As Obama noted earlier this fall during his landmark development policy speech at the United Nations, “aid alone is not development,” and in addition to diplomacy, other policies like trade and investment are essential pieces of the puzzle.600px-USAID-Logo_svg

Within the community focused on U.S. initiatives in diplomacy, foreign assistance, development, peace building and state building, there is a great deal of consensus on the need for strengthened civilian international affairs capacity. This consensus pre-dates the current review and the Obama administration, and it will be interesting to carefully examine the full QDDR, while reflecting on the recommendations from major study reports of the past decade. Many of these recommendations were parsed out in Surveying the Civilian Reform Landscape, a 2008 report I co-authored with Craig Cohen of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In addition, a fair number of the most popular recommendations—whether on strategic planning, human resources and training, or engagement with the private sector—have a foothold in the QDDR.

From the QDDR executive summary, it is clear that the recommendations include many common-sense improvements necessary to execute effective diplomacy in the face of 21st century challenges. For example, the State Department will reorganize to focus on energy in close collaboration with economic and environmental affairs. It will also establish a coordinator for cyber issues, ensure better communications technology, continue to strengthen engagement with emerging powers, make its personnel systems more flexible to meet critical needs and take other steps to modernize.

One of the issues at the crux of the QDDR is how to deal with complex crises and conflicts. The focus is an important one, but a key recommendation for “a lead-agency approach with a clear division of leadership and responsibility” between State and USAID will not, in practice, have the clarity needed. State is assigned the lead for political and security crises and USAID has responsibility for leading responses to “humanitarian crises, resulting from large-scale natural or industrial disasters, famines, disease outbreaks and other natural phenomena.” However, famines are inherently political and the lines between these areas are murky enough that it may be bureaucratically difficult for USAID to truly lead on crises beyond the most tightly circumscribed delivery of disaster relief operations. Since USAID is the more operational agency, this leadership challenge may result in missed opportunities as State seeks to become more operational and more developmentally minded.

The most pressing issue with regard to U.S. peace building and state building efforts in fragile, conflict-affected regions is that of coordination across all relevant departments and agencies and this issue was largely beyond the scope of the QDDR. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at State has never been able to fulfill its whole-of-government coordination function, and its metamorphosis into a new Bureau for Crisis and Stabilization Operations will not help on this particular issue. What is needed is a much more robust coordination capacity at the White House.

On broader development issues beyond conflict and fragile states, the QDDR hits many of the right points. When USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah first took up his position a year ago, there were concerns that he was arriving too late to shape the review. The QDDR’s numerous delays and many of its conclusions related to development have shown that this concern was misplaced. The QDDR emphasizes systematic change over service delivery while placing high value on transparency, innovation, monitoring and evaluation, multi-year planning in close coordination with developing countries and rebuilding the core capacity of USAID. It has also determined that USAID should lead on the presidential initiatives related to food security and global health. This is a sound conclusion in accordance with President Obama’s policy of making USAID the government’s lead development agency and consciously begins to transition beyond the bureaucratically fragmented approach that has weakened U.S. global development efforts.

The QDDR’s decisdepartment-of-state-logoion to focus development support on specific sectors should lead many policy analysts to ask hard questions about how State and USAID define seemingly broad areas of concentration such as “sustainable economic growth.” Although greater focus is an important step toward more effective policies, everyone should also be asking what we will no longer be doing in order to achieve that goal.

Additionally, there is the question of geographic focus. How can we more deliberately concentrate our development efforts in particular countries? Where? And how might scaling back on bilateral assistance to certain countries relate to scaling up U.S. engagement with multilateral development institutions?

Other critically important questions relate to the interpretation of USAID mission directors as “primary development advisors” to U.S. ambassadors. How is this different from the past? Considering Obama’s stated intent for USAID to be the lead development agency, does this designation change USAID’s relationship with many other agencies of the U.S. government actively engaged in development support programs at the field level?

There is seemingly much to like about the QDDR, such as its well-placed focus on the role of women and girls in peace-building and development, but the review raises many questions.  Ultimately, to make this type of review quadrennial in fact, rather than just in name, and to leave behind a legacy of institutional reform, the administration would do well to work closely with Congress. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has boldly chosen to try to fundamentally change the culture of the State Department—a large project to say the least. With the full 200+ page QDDR now available, expect to witness a lively debate on whether this is possible and whether progress is being made.

Chairman Kerry Welcomes The Release Of The First Quadrennial Diplomacy And Development Review

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
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Washington, D.C. –Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today issued a statement in response to the State Department releasing its first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).  The QDDR provides a short and long-term blueprint for U.S. diplomatic and development efforts.

“I welcome the release of the State Department’s first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.  After nearly two years of serious and deliberate work, this review will provide an important road map to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic and development agencies.  The QDDR represents the kind of critical thinking we need to help us achieve our national security and foreign policy objectives.  I look forward to working with Secretary Clinton and Administrator Shah, as well as my colleagues in the Congress, as we consider legislation to implement the priorities identified in the QDDR,” said Chairman Kerry.

MFAN Statement: QDDR Paves Way for Real Reform

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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December 15, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

With today’s release of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the Obama Administration has finalized its roadmap for how U.S. foreign aid can be made more effective, efficient, and accountable in the 21st century.  This is absolutely critical in a resource-constrained world where our efforts to save lives and help vulnerable people build their own livelihoods are as important as our military and diplomatic activities.

Secretary Clinton, Administrator Shah and all the professionals who worked on the QDDR at the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and elsewhere across the government deserve enormous credit.  We are particularly pleased that the QDDR:

  • Strengthens the position of development as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy and sets the stage for civilian development professionals to play a leadership role in America’s global engagement.
  • Institutes changes that will bring clearer lines of authority and responsibility for results to our marquee development programs, by putting USAID’s development experts in the lead on programs like Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative; giving the agency a stronger voice in the interagency policymaking process; and making USAID Chiefs of Mission the lead development advisors to U.S. Ambassadors in the field.
  • Strengthens monitoring and evaluation of development programs and makes future funding of such programs contingent on real results.
  • Places an emphasis on helping recipient countries take ownership of their own development.
  • Brings more transparency to development programs, including by instituting long-term development planning for recipient countries and launching a new web-based dashboard where the public can see how U.S. foreign assistance is delivering results.

These reforms would pay major dividends in terms of lives saved and improved around the world – and they would make sure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are getting into the hands of people who need them.  But they will only have lasting impact if the Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress work together to develop and pass legislation that establishes them in law.  We look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress on this legislation, and we stand ready to make sure the reforms are implemented effectively and transparently.