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Posts Tagged ‘Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development’

MFAN Statement: Aid Reform Community Looks Forward to Full Detail on QDDR

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
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November 18, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

The leaked summary of Secretary Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) shows positive movement towards a more streamlined, coherent, and coordinated approach to development by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Taken together with the recent Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) and internal reforms being led by USAID Administrator Raj Shah, the QDDR is another sign that the Obama Administration is committed to getting better results out of U.S. foreign assistance.  However, the summary leaves some issues unresolved.

The most important positive elements of the summary include:

  • Supporting the PPD: Key principles of reform, which were recently laid out in the PPD, are reiterated in the summary.
  • Elevating and Strengthening USAID: The Agency will assume immediate control of the Feed the Future, the Obama Administration’s economic growth-focused food security initiative.  USAID development professionals, particularly Mission Directors, will be given a leadership role in creating country-specific development strategies that strengthen overall U.S. diplomatic and defense efforts.  USAID’s staffing and capacity will be bolstered at both the headquarters and country level.

The concerns:

  • Durability of Reforms: The summary does not include a strong call for collaboration between the Administration and Congress – key leaders of which have been instrumental in advocating for elevating development, including Representative Howard Berman and Senators John Kerry and Dick Lugar – to turn the suggested reforms into legislation that will have lasting impact.
  • Vagueness: There are still contradictions between the Administration’s goal of making USAID the world’s “premier development agency” and the lines of authority for policy development and budgeting (although progress seems to have been made).  The QDDR focuses only on State and USAID, so the White House still has work to do to clarify how development programs and activities will be managed across the entire government.

We applaud the hard work that has been done by committed professionals at the State Department and USAID on the QDDR thus far.  We look forward to the release of the review’s full findings soon.

MFAN Partner on the Tea Party and the President’s Global Development Policy

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
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Sarah Jane StaatsLast week, MFAN member Sarah Jane Staats, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development, posted a piece on CGD’s Rethinking US Foreign Assistance blog taking a closer look at how the new divided Congress will impact global development policy. After noting that it is unclear where Tea Partiers stand on many foreign policy issues, she argues the general emphasis on reigning in government spending could benefit the reform agenda. She also notes the potential impact on trade issues and specific presidential initiatives like the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future. Click here to read MFAN Principal John Norris’ piece for more on Tea Party foreign policy and see below for key excerpts from Staats’ piece:

“Of course, aid is about more than money; how rich countries design their aid programs is as important as how much they give. In this sense, the pressure on the budget could help drive aid reforms and force the administration and Congress to make tough choices about where and how we spend our aid dollars and push for stronger evidence on what works in development. The push to be more selective with our development assistance, focus on economic growth, and do a better job of measuring impact and results (and share it publicly) is already lined up in the presidential policy directive on U.S. global development policy and seems like a reform mantle that both parties could get behind.”


Getting balance right is key to U.S. development policy

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
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In a guest post on the Stimson Center’s new blog, The Will and The Wallet, MFAN Principal and President of InterAction, Sam Worthington discusses the inherent tension between short-term and long-term development objectives.

“There is always tension between short- and long-term objectives. We face it every day in the decisions we make, both as individuals and collectively as a country. Do we buy a flashy new laptop now, or stick with our slow old desktop and save to send our children to college? Should government forego additional taxes to stimulate the economy, or would it be better to raise them and avert a potential long-term fiscal crisis?”

“The same tension exists for U.S. government investments in international development.  Short-term projects based primarily on immediate national security needs and objectives often compete for resources that would otherwise be dedicated to effective development work aimed at poverty alleviation and institutional capacity-building. At the heart of this tension is the need to address both short- and long-term objectives well, rather than having an ad hoc approach that fails on both fronts.”

To read the full blog post, click here.

USGLC Conference: Power Panel Talks PPD

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
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USGLC Conference 1

At yesterday’s U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) annual conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, and president and CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Daniel Yohannes came together in a rare appearance to discuss President Obama’s new global development policy. The term “whole of government” is thrown around a lot in Washington these days, so it was a welcome reality for the development community to see the United States’ lead agency for development and other agencies that are integral to AID’s success like State, DoD, Treasury and MCC come together to underscore the administration’s commitment to these issues.

In her opening remarks, Secretary Clinton said that they have been implementing the principles in the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) since the beginning of the administration even though the president just unveiled the PPD officially at the United Nations last week.  She said that “we truly are elevating development to the highest levels of the United States Government” and added that we can expect to see the release of the long-delayed Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) in the next 30 to 60 days.

In describing the new policy, Secretary Clinton talked about the importance of mutual accountability and said, “…we are looking for results and we’re looking for results that are nonpartisan, not just bipartisan. We want to establish development firmly so that no matter what the political winds may blow, they will not blow over the fundamental concept that development is a key element now and forever of our foreign policy objectives.”