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Posts Tagged ‘disease’

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.

QDDR Executive Summary

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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The first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) is now ready for your comments, courtesy of MFAN Partner InterAction’s QDDR Page. Before diving into the full 200-page report (awaiting release), we recommend taking a look at the Executive Summary which states:

“These civilians ask one question again and again: How can we do a better job of advancing the interests of the American people? The answer should be the same for every agency and department: We can work smarter and better by setting clear priorities, managing for results, holding ourselves accountable, and unifying our efforts. The first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) aims to meet these goals by setting forth a sweeping reform agenda for the State Department and USAID, the lead agencies for foreign relations and development respectively. It follows in the footsteps of the quadrennial reviews by the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security in taking a comprehensive look at how we can spend our resources most efficiently, how we can achieve our priorities most effectively, what we should be doing differently, and how we should prepare ourselves for the world ahead.”

Stay tuned for more as we take a deeper dive into the development elements of the QDDR.

Bush: “America has a direct stake in the progress and hope of other nations”

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
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George W BushTo acknowledge World AIDS Day, former President George W. Bush looks back on the legacy of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund in an op-ed for The Washington Post. He describes PEPFAR as a new model for foreign assistance programs – citing it as having adopted a more results-oriented approach than other aid programs. Bush also makes the connection between national security and development or economic growth; he argues that the stability of sub-Saharan Africa was an initial impetus for taking action. Bush concludes by reinforcing the moral argument for fighting AIDS worldwide. Though he is writing about a specific disease, he touches on several principles of effective aid, and makes the case for continued bipartisan action for foreign assistance programs that encourage “global health, political freedom, and economic progress.” See below for key excerpts:

“Many of the world’s problems – terrorist networks, criminal gangs, drug syndicates, pandemic diseases – are no more than a half-day plane ride from the United States. These challenges tend to take root in hopeless, poorly controlled areas. This does not mean that promoting health and development is a substitute for confronting immediate threats. It does mean that no national security strategy is complete in the long run without promoting global health, political freedom and economic progress.”

“In all of these efforts, my concern was results. I was frankly skeptical of some past foreign assistance programs. In this crisis, we needed not only more resources but also to use them differently. So we put in place a unified command structure; set clear, ambitious, measurable goals; insisted on accountability; and made sure that host governments took leadership and responsibility. The results came more quickly than many of us expected. Early in 2003, there were perhaps 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa on AIDS treatment. Today, thanks to America, other donor nations and the tireless work of Africans themselves, nearly 4 million are. Fragile nations have been stabilized, making progress possible in other areas of development.”

“I firmly believe it has served American interests to help prevent the collapse of portions of the African continent. But this effort has done something more: It has demonstrated American character and beliefs. America is a certain kind of country, dedicated to the inherent and equal dignity of human lives. It is this ideal – rooted in faith and our founding – that gives purpose to our power. When we have a chance to do the right thing, we take it.”

MFAN Co-Chairs: It’s Time to Finish the Job on Foreign Aid Reform

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
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In a new op-ed for Devex, MFAN’s Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram make the case to keep up the momentum for foreign aid reform, underscoring that reform is a bipartisan issue with support from both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. The full op-ed is posted below. To comment on the piece, please email Rolf Rosenkranz at rolf.rosenkranz@devex.com or Jenni Rothenberg at jrothenberg@modernizingforeignassistance.org. Devex members can also sign in to post a comment by clicking here.

George Ingram1David Beckmann1

It’s Time to Finish the Job on Foreign Aid Reform

By the Rev. David Beckmann and George Ingram

With the leak of a summary of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review last week – and President Obama’s announcement of America’s first-ever government-wide global development policy in September – the Obama administration has moved another step closer to an overhaul of the U.S. approach to global development, something no administration has been able to accomplish in the last 50 years.

The fact that we have come this far shows there is a broad, bipartisan consensus in Washington on the need to make U.S. foreign aid more effective, particularly because it is so critical to ongoing national security efforts, but also because we need our development dollars to go further in a time of tight budgets. The administration and Congress now must work together to finish the job, and turn these bold proposals into lasting policies and structures.

(more…)

10 Reasons Conservatives Must Support Aid Reform

Monday, October 11th, 2010
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mark_green_profileIn a recent series of blog posts for MFAN’s ModernizeAid blog, former Congressman Mark Green (R-WI) of the Malaria No More Policy Center lays out the Conservative case for foreign assistance reform.  Rep. Green, who also served as Ambassador to Tanzania under President George W. Bush, gives 10 reasons Conservatives should support more effective U.S. foreign assistance.  Click on the link to read the full piece on each reason:

  • Reason 1: Our current foreign aid system is organizationally incoherent.
  • Reason 2: We need to reform the system to make our precious taxpayer dollars go much further.
  • Reason 3: Foreign assistance reform is a great opportunity for Conservatives to reaffirm values and initiatives we care about.
  • Reason 4: Simply put, Conservatives (and Republicans) have a long history of standing up for EFFECTIVE foreign assistance.
  • Reason 5: The combination of fragmented authorities and overlapping bureaucracies in our current assistance framework is watering down public diplomacy efforts.
  • Reason 6: Making our foreign assistance operate as effectively as possible is a moral and ethical imperative.
  • Reason 7: The lack of coordination between our foreign assistance programs and our trade policies is hurting the effectiveness of both.
  • Reason 8: Conservatives need to ensure that our foreign assistance system recognizes, protects and builds on the enormous contributions to development being made by other-than-government sources – especially faith-based institutions.
  • Reason 9: Making our foreign assistance system more effective can help bring home our men and women in uniform – and make future deployments less necessary/minimize the need for future deployments.
  • Reason 10: Since fighting the threat of terrorism is one of this generation’s greatest challenges, we need to sharpen those tools that can help prevent violent extremism from spreading and growing.

Below are some of the most interesting and compelling points from Amb. Green’s series:

American Foreign Assistance is Pro-business

Conservatives believe, in the words of Ronald Reagan, that, “The best possible social program is a job.”  Foreign assistance, done right, can help foster conditions that strengthen consumerism, transparency, democratization and markets. It helps entrepreneurs start businesses and governments to lower trade barriers, foster innovation, and create better environments for investment. Today’s developing countries are tomorrow’s trade partners.

Foreign Assistance Protects the Homeland

Healthy societies are often the best defense against extremism. In this way, foreign assistance efforts play a crucial role within our national security strategy. We cannot fight terrorism by military means alone. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen have both called for greater support for development, diplomacy, health, and education. Foreign assistance can help prevent future Afghanistans and Somalias and keep our men and women in uniform out of harm’s way.

Aid is a Moral Obligation

Religious leaders such as Rick Warren, Billy Graham, and Pope John Paul II have long voiced their support for helping the world’s poorest. Our country’s aid infrastructure was created to ensure that America remains a good neighbor in an inter-dependent and largely poor world.

President George W. Bush was one of our era’s most eloquent proponents for foreign assistance. As he said in the aftermath of 9/11: “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror. We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity. We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it. And we fight against poverty with a growing conviction that major progress is within our reach.” President Bush saw our prosperity as a call to action, and our power to save lives as an obligation to help lift up broken lives and empower struggling communities.  We provide economic assistance to those less fortunate because we know it is the right thing to do.

Conservatives Can Help Make Aid More Accountable and Efficient

Although there are compelling trade, national security, and moral arguments for deepening America’s commitment to foreign assistance, our aid infrastructure is in desperate need of reform.

Luckily, the Bush administration already got the ball rolling. New initiatives like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation are providing sustainable solutions to our most entrenched development challenges.

Moving forwards, conservatives should build on the success of these programs and work to make our entire aid system more transparent and accountable. Where redundancies exist, they should be eliminated.  Where efficiencies can be found, they should be implemented.  And where programs no longer meet our objectives, they should be ended. Sounds like a good job for Conservatives — taking sound principles of business administration and applying them to a bureaucracy in need of reform.

Conclusion

Across the world, perceptions of America are often clouded by misinformation. When young people across Africa learn that the U.S. is leading the fight against AIDS and Malaria even while we hurt economically at home, they are much more likely to trust the United States and seek closer bilateral security, trade and political relations. When entrepreneurs are given a helping hand in Turkey, or farmers are able to take advantage of a new technology, or women take out a microloan in Indonesia, we are sowing seeds for future economic and diplomatic partnerships.

Foreign assistance is not simply do-gooderism, although it certainly does considerable good. Foreign assistance projects open hearts and minds to America’s message of liberty, fairness, and free markets.  Now is the time for Conservatives to raise their voices in support of a pro-development, pro-reform foreign assistance policy.