Last week, Deputy Secretary Jack Lew and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah briefed the press at the State Department on their recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Lew and Shah remarked on the coordination among government ministries and local citizens, as well as the U.S. civilian-military programs. While both acknowledged the security challenges of development work in the region, they noted specific areas where development has begun to transform local communities. Watch the press brief below and follow this link for full text: http://www.state.gov/video/?videoid=78481442001
Posts Tagged ‘Jack Lew’
In 2009, the development community came together and worked with policymakers to drive unprecedented progress toward our shared goals for foreign assistance reform: elevating development as a core, distinct pillar of U.S. foreign policy and making U.S. foreign assistance more effective and accountable. MFAN has created a graphic timeline highlighting the most significant reform milestones that were reached over the the last year. A few of these milestones include:
- December 1, 2008 House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) calls foreign assistance reform his top priority for the 111th Congress and launches a process to rewrite the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).
- July 10, 2009 Secretary of State Clinton announces the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to guide and coordinate policy development and resource allocation at the State Department and USAID, with findings expected in 2010. “This will help make our diplomacy and development work more agile, responsive, and complimentary. This is what we mean when we talk about smart power.”
- December 24, 2009 After being nominated by President Obama, Dr. Rajiv Shah, formerly Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is confirmed as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Check out the full foreign assistance reform timeline.
This weekly posting includes key news stories and opinion pieces related to foreign assistance reform and the larger development community.
What we’re reading: Development creeps into Afghanistan dialogue; food security ahead of a new study.
- What we can achieve in Afghanistan (Washington Post-Robert Zoellick, October 30)First, we need to “secure development” — that is, create a strong link between security and development. Each reinforces the other, especially when we focus on communities and on resolving local-level conflict. Third, locally led projects are the most effective. The National Solidarity Program, which the World Bank helped launch in 2003, empowers more than 22,000 elected, village-level councils to decide on their development priorities — from building a school to irrigation to electrification. So far, the program has reached more than 19 million Afghans in 34 provinces, with grants averaging $33,000. Development owned by the community can survive amid conflict: When an NSP-funded school was attacked in August 2006, the villagers defended it. The community councils also help build cooperation among villages and with the government.
- More Schools, Not Troops (The New York Times-Nick Kristof, October 29) Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban.
- Lew: No surge of civilians in Afghanstan after review (FP Blog-Josh Rogin, October 26) “The idea of getting our foreign assistance as directly to the people who are going to use it as efficiently as possible is central to the way we’re thinking about foreign assistance and development generally,” Lew said, adding that since many of the contracts were up for renewal at the beginning of October, it gave the impression this transfer was more immediate and widespread than it necessarily was. Robin Raphel, the former Ambassador now a part of Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s staff, is in Pakistan right now leading a case by case review of all of these projects, Lew said.
- Food, Humanity, Habitat and How We Get to 2050 (The New York Times, October 28) According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, feeding humanity in 2050 — when the world’s population is expected to be 9.1 billion — will require a 70 percent increase in global food production, partly because of population growth but also because of rising incomes. The question isn’t whether we can feed 9.1 billion people in 2050 — they must be fed — or whether we can find the energy they will surely need. The question is whether we can find a way to make food and energy production sustainable in the broadest possible sense — and whether we can act on the principle that our interest includes that of every other species on the planet.
Last Wednesday, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, an MFAN partner organization, launched its “Putting Smart Power to Work” campaign by hosting Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Jack Lew, State Department Director of Policy and Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham for the first public dialogue on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). The event featured the three principal architects of the QDDR for a panel discussion of the review process.
Lew kicked off the morning’s events with a keynote address. After thanking everyone in the room for being strong voices supporting foreign assistance, Lew noted the “urgency to rebuild foreign policy tools.” He spoke of the “chronic underfunding” of diplomacy and development for the past few decades and how this has created a “serious imbalance, leaving the military but not civilian agencies with the resources to support expanded international roles.”
When speaking to the QDDR process, Lew said, “The world has changed and we at State and USAID have not done enough to change with it.” Later he continued: “The recognition that we are simply not designed optimally for success in today’s world was the impetus for Secretary Clinton to launch the QDDR to develop the updated tools and institutional capabilities that we need to elevate diplomacy and development and for both to work more efficiently and more effectively. Like the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the QDDR will help us to align policy, strategy, authorities, and resources. We’ll produce a blueprint for reorganization and provide Congress and the public with the clarity about what resources we need and why.”
The Q&A that followed was full of provocative questions, particularly from the audience, that pushed Lew, Slaughter, and Fulgham to dive into the details and expectations of the QDDR. The biggest topic of discussion was the fate of USAID, which still lacks an appointment from the Obama administration for Administrator. Despite rumors that a nominee will be announced imminently, the future of the agency is still in question given the increasing absorption of its funds and programs under the State Department. While Lew said the line between development and diplomacy was being blurred for the better, Slaughter said “the vision that the Secretary has coming out of the QDDR is of a much stronger, much better-resourced USAID.” Below are some excerpts from the panel in response to the role of the QDDR in reforming U.S. development efforts:
Lew on working with Congress: “We’ve worked closely with both Senators Kerry and Lugar and with Congressman Berman and we very much appreciate that as they are going through the process of working on this important legislation, they are trying very hard to be sensitive to the schedule of the new administration putting together a review like the QDDR…It’s actually quite a helpful incentive for us to keep the QDDR process moving quickly because we very much would like to be partners with the congressional leadership as they write this important legislation.”
Fulgham on why QDDR is important to USAID: “I think that for the first time, we have a review process that gives us an opportunity to address the stove piping and redundancy that we’re currently going through within our agency…I firmly believe that from a USAID perspective that the QDDR will allow for us to really plan and move forward.”
Slaughter on the roles of development and diplomacy: “We see good foreign policy in the 21st century as requiring equal input from both sides. That’s going to be decades long in the making. It’s going to require big culture changes on the diplomatic side as well as the development side, but this is not about absorbing AID.”
Fulgham on reaching out to the community: “I think that when you look at the five working groups, I think it’s pretty clear that we are pulling together the most senior individuals within the U.S. government, and I think Deputy Secretary Lew spoke eloquently about the fact of bringing others in from the private sector, from NGOs and others. We clearly don’t have all of the answers, and I think we recognize that and this event today is part of the process to reach out… And I think this process gives us an opportunity to get at that, but we are going to need your help to do that.”
Slaughter on how this review is different: “This one is connected to the money. We are going to have results by January that will be used already for the 2012 budget guidance. Second, we have all these working groups being run by assistant secretaries and undersecretaries. This is not something being done by an office on the seventh floor or an office on the second floor. This engages everybody across the building. And third, this will be quadrennial. You can’t put this up on a shelf, for if you do, you’re going to have to revisit it two or three years later. It’s going to be legislated ultimately. It will be an ongoing process and people will then have to take account of the guidance in how they budget and in the priorities that they ask the Secretary to support.”
Overall, the event communicated a desire to take action around the rhetoric espoused by President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates, and Secretary Clinton. Only time will tell whether or not the first QDDR will take on these ambitious tasks and set the U.S. on a new path to leadership in development.