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Posts Tagged ‘National Strategy for Global Development’

From Paper to Product: Key Benchmarks for Effectively Implementing the President’s Development Policy

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
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obama-signs-billWith his speech laying out a new U.S. approach to development at September’s UN Millennium Development Goals Summit, President Obama has outlined a future in which development serves as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy, delivering greater results for people in poverty around the world and for U.S. taxpayers.  The President’s policy provides a long-overdue roadmap for more strategic, effective, accountable U.S. foreign assistance, and puts forward a mechanism for regularly refreshing our development approach through the establishment of a U.S. Global Development Strategy.

As with most ambitious policy pronouncements, the true test will come with implementation.  We are pleased to see explicit mention of the President’s commitment to “working closely with Congress to establish a shared vision of the way forward on global development,” including a desire to be given more flexibility for funding allocations in exchange for greater accountability to Congress.  It is now time to delineate a clear mechanism for doing so.  MFAN continues to believe that the only durable vehicle for this “grand bargain” is new legislation to replace the outmoded Foreign Assistance Act, now 50 years old and trapped in the Cold-War era.  This bargain should reflect a shared vision of the management of U.S. foreign assistance and a balance between granting the Executive Branch authorities that it needs to respond to a rapidly changing world and securing the rightful role of the Congress as a partner in setting national priorities and ensuring accountability to American taxpayers, with special emphasis on poverty reduction and economic growth, greater transparency and effectiveness, a strengthened development agency, and greater participation by civil society in developing countries.  Done purposefully, inclusively, and transparently, a modern, up-to-date legislative framework that reflects current global realities and challenges would reestablish confidence in foreign assistance as an indispensible aspect of the U.S. approach to global development and foreign policy at a time of constrained budgets.

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A Week in Review: America’s First-ever Global Development Policy

Friday, September 24th, 2010
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This was an incredible week for MFAN, the broader development community, and those struggling for a better life worldwide.  With the world turned toward Turtle Bay for the Millennium Development Goals Summit and the UN General Assembly, as well as thought leaders from all over just across town at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), development issues became the center of discussion.

No announcement has the ability to impact all the small victories – like the new Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves – more than the new U.S. Global Development Policy, which President Obama announced in his speech to the UN on Wednesday.  President Obama used his speech as an opportunity to usher in a new era for development saying, “So let’s put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests.  And let’s reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty.  For the past half century has witnessed more gains in human development than at any time in history.”

The President specifically listed four pillars illuminating how the U.S. is “changing the way we do business” on development.  Of significant importance to MFAN, he said the United States is changing how it defines development to mean “moving countries from poverty to prosperity.”  To do this, the U.S. will use all the tools at its disposal – “from our diplomacy to our trade and investment policies” – to help move countries along this continuum.

Click to read the fact sheet outlining the new Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development and watch the full speech below:

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MFAN Partners React to New Presidential Development Policy

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
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Below are excerpts from our Partners’ statements in reaction to President Obama’s announcement yesterday of the first-ever Global Development Policy.  Stay tuned for more!

bread“President Obama’s new development policy is a well-thought-out directive that will help make foreign aid more effective and provide assistance to people who desperately need it,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This is a victory for Bread for the World members who have been working hard to reform U.S. foreign aid.”IGDlogo_rgb_300x120

Initiative for Global Development (IGD) strongly supports reform of U.S. foreign assistance to increase development and opportunity around the globe. We join the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) in celebrating the creation of America’s first development policy.”

InteractionSamuel A. Worthington, President & CEO of InterAction said, We applaud the Obama administration for creating the first-ever global development policy. As Americans, we agree that global development is a moral, economic and political imperative. The millions of Americans who support the work of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations will no doubt join us in embracing this new policy.”ONE

ONE CEO David Lane said, “Fighting global poverty is rooted in America’s tradition of helping the most vulnerable people and astrategic understanding that increasing the stability of poor countries improves our nation’s security.”

OxfamRaymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America said, “Most important, President Obama issued a clear mandate that country ownership—that is letting governments and citizens in poor countries set their development priorities themselves—is how his administration will pursue the fight against poverty. That fight is more likely to succeed if it is driven by people’s needs on the ground, instead of by what Washington thinks is best.”

Professional Services Council President and CEO Stan Soloway said, “U.S. development firms have highly technical expertise and longPSC_right_Blue_CMYK experience in the successful implementation of aid projects. Private-sector membership on the new U.S. Global Development Council should include development firms as well international businesses and corporate donors to development programs and foundations.”

Save the Children logo“Today, the president delivered a winning formula for global development. The passion and principles he delivered are what’s needed in the final drive to reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Ultimately, this means more children’s lives saved, more prospects, more prosperity,” said Charlie MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children.

The Nature Conservancy logoThe Nature Conservancy applauds the Administration for elevating the importance of a sustainable global development agenda and committing to strategically address the crucial challenges of Global Health, Food Security and Climate Change.  Sustainable development requires that we secure and maintain nature’s systems and resources for meeting basic human needs and generating lasting prosperity.”

USGLCU.S. Global Leadership Coalition Executive Director Liz Schrayer said, “This new policy is spot on with its focus on strengthening USAID and giving the agency a voice at the NSC, committing to a Global Development Strategy, fostering sustainable outcomes and greater accountability, and calling for coordination among U.S. agencies. The global challenges we face are very different from those in the past, and this policy is a vehicle to provide a fresh look at how we deliver development assistance and build upon efforts begun under the previous Administration.

Women Thrive Worldwide logo“The speech and policy document both also highlight one of the key principles of effective development—investing in women and girls.  Women Thrive Worldwide applauds the fact that apart from the traditional focus on health and education, investments in women and girls are seen as key to economic growth and stability, in addition to a moral and humanistic imperative.”

MFAN in the News: President Obama’s MDG Speech

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
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Media hits

In what MFAN and the development community have been working toward, yesterday President Obama announced the new visionary U.S. Global Development Policy – the first of its kind by an Administration.  As MFAN’s Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram noted in their statement yesterday, “With his speech laying out a new U.S. approach to development at the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit, President Obama has outlined a future where development endures as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy, delivering greater results for people in poverty around the world and U.S. taxpayers.”

The Global Development Policy incorporates key MFAN principles like elevating development as a core pillar of U.S. national security, strengthening USAID, and engaging with civil society and the private sector to help find innovative solutions to our toughest development challenges.  This is a well deserved victory.  And MFAN Principals and members were out in force illuminating the nuance of this new policy and underscoring its significance to the media.  Below is a collection of excerpts from news stories and opinion pieces featuring MFAN experts from across the network:

  • In Politics Daily, MFAN Co-Chair George Ingram discusses the time it will take to strengthen USAID.  Still, Ingram notes how the Global Development Policy fits into the bigger picture saying, “In the early months of his campaign [then Candidate Obama] issued an eight-page statement on development. It was something no candidate had done before. He talked in there about the need to elevate USAID and development — he talked about results and initiatives in the health area. What that tells me is that the statement Obama is making today is not something that has evolved over last months. It is something Obama brought into office with him.”

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MFAN Member Calls for Action in Obama’s MDG Speech on Development

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
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Below is a guest blog post from MFAN member Porter McConnell, Policy Advisor for Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness team, on President Obama’s speech later today at the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit, in which he will outline the new U.S. global development policy:

President Obama: Just another speech, or…

President Obama speechThis week, world leaders are meeting in New York to plot a path to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. President Obama is giving a speech at the summit later today. The question is, will this be just another speech, or will this be the speech of a lifetime?

The Administration first released its plan for the US role in meeting the MDGs in July. This plan is a step in the right direction, but one billion poor people are counting on us to turn those words into action. The President will need to confront some tough choices. It’s time for the American people to hold him accountable for concrete actions to help people around the world beat poverty once and for all.

Thankfully, the US isn’t in this alone: President Obama needs to call on other world leaders to make their own robust plans, and their citizens need to hold them to it. But after world leaders have all packed their bags and returned home, the real work begins. The only way to turn the corner on the MDGs is for the Administration to undertake tough reforms to make our aid work for poor people.

The Administration has made a start:  country ownership is at the heart of the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future, and USAID’s Implementation & Procurement Reform. But to take country ownership from lip service to reality, the Administration and Congress must fix the tangled web of competing agendas that undermine ownership at every turn. That means an overhaul of our Cold-War era foreign assistance legislation, and a seat for USAID on the National Security Council, so our efforts to fight global poverty aren’t diverted to serve narrow diplomatic and security ends. As Ethiopian Minister of Health and Global Fund Chair Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus remarked to policymakers this summer, “People say country ownership is confusing. It’s not confusing, it’s actually really clear. What’s missing is the commitment to implement it.”

We must send the message to President Obama that now is not a moment for a symbolic speech, now is the time for urgent action. If the global economic crisis has taught us anything, it’s that global poverty is a fundamental threat to our shared efforts to build a secure, prosperous and just world. Together we must beat global poverty, and the only way we do that is by recognizing that poor people themselves are critical to the solution.

Photo: Pete Souza, WhiteHouse.gov