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Posts Tagged ‘Raj Shah’

More QDDR Reactions from MFAN Partners

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
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MFAN Partners continue to respond to the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which Secretary Clinton released last week. If you missed our first recap, click here.

Save the Children LogoCharles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children and MFAN Principal said, “With the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the QDDR reflects a serious effort to elevate the role of ‘civilian power’ in U.S. foreign policy. That’s critical for the wellbeing of children in need worldwide.” He continued, “The world’s top military power must also be as powerful a force at preventing conflict and at responding to the devastating and destabilizing conditions that war, natural disaster and poverty create,” MacCormack said. “This first of a kind, high-level review of U.S. civilian capacity lays the groundwork for more effective and efficient U.S. diplomacy and development work.”garrett_1

MFAN Principal and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations Laurie Garrett commented, “The State Department’s QDDR seeks to prepare all foreign assistance entities in the U.S. government for likely budget cuts, and move development and global health into what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as ‘civilian power in the twenty first century.’ Overall, it creates a complicated set of networks and bridges across the entire government, reflecting the need to minimize use of private contractors, and respond to a broader, transnational, set of challenges to U.S. foreign policy interests.”

Initiative for Global DevelopmentMFAN Partner the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) said in a statement: “IGD commends the Obama administration for the significant steps it has taken – first with the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development announced in September at the United Nations and now with the release of the QDDR – to  improve the effectiveness of U.S. global development efforts and increase economic growth and opportunity around the world…IGD will be monitoring implementation of the reforms introduced by the Obama administration and will continue to provide the input of its business members to improve the effectiveness of U.S. development policies and re-establish the United States as the global leader on international development.”

Other Partners have started to take a deeper look into the QDDR to understand how it fits into the broader reform agenda of the Obama administration. At ONE, MFAN Principal Larry Nowels co-authored a blog post with MFAN member Sara Messer which praises the QDDR for several long overdue reforms. Still, Nowels and Messer point out three major areas that require “further review, planning and negotiation,” identified as the following:

  • Partnering with Congress: In her speech, Secretary of State Clinton noted that the QDDR took place foremost with fiscal responsibility and efficiency in mind. While the funding landscape ahead is challenging, the reforms for greater efficiency and measurable results should appeal to a Congress looking to reduce the deficit and maximize the impact of government spending. The QDDR offers a blueprint that is ahead of this debate and the State Department and USAID should seize the opportunity to forge a positive association with lawmakers. For two years, the administration has missed several critical opportunities to partner with Congress on global development initiatives. The QDDR offers a new opportunity, although in a difficult context.
  • Making tough decisions: President Obama’s Global Development Policy called for greater focus on where the US had comparative advantage and could make the most impact. The QDDR reinforces this principle and sets out six areas of focus: food security, health, climate change, economic growth, democracy/governance and humanitarian assistance. But what has not been said is where the US will pull back. Gaining consensus around where to cut will be difficult, but the QDDR does not help us understand where that might take place. Let’s hope that the FY2012 budget request will begin to define where the Administration has made these tough choices.
  • Harmonizing foreign assistance: The QDDR represents a solid effort to integrate and bring coherence to foreign aid policy and programs. But there are many other agencies besides State and USAID that provide some form of foreign assistance. The report defines “civilian power” as including all US government agencies, not just State and USAID. But breaking down entrenched bureaucratic priorities and convincing all agencies to work under the leadership of USAID on development assistance will be daunting. If we are to achieve a true “whole-of-government” approach, the heavy lifting lies ahead with the agencies and personnel tasked with implementation, and with other agencies whose cooperation they seek. The QDDR takes a leap towards streamlining and modernizing US foreign assistance. Now the hard work of implementation begins.

Shah Talks about Feed the Future on ABC’s This Week

Monday, December 20th, 2010
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Yesterday, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour to discuss the Obama administration’s approach to food security. He spoke at length about the marquee food security initiative–Feed the Future–with it’s emphasis on malnutrition and supporting local farmers so that countries can move away from a dependence on food aid. He also talked about engaging other partners, including the private sector, and the central role innovation and research are playing in this effort. Reiterating his first point, Shah commented: “part of the solution here is reinvesting in agriculture. And that’s why the Feed the Future program that we’ve launched is really not just about how we do food aid. It’s about creating the conditions that allow countries to take care of their populations from an agriculture and nutrition perspective so food aid is not needed in the very long run.” Read the full transcript here and see the video below:

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 Statement: USAID Dashboard a Strong Action Step on Reform

Friday, December 17th, 2010
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December 17, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

We applaud the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for launching the new US Foreign Assistance Dashboard—the first comprehensive, web-based tool that provides information to policymakers, aid partners, and the public about where U.S. foreign assistance is going and what impact it is having in saving lives and helping vulnerable people build livelihoods.

It is hard to overstate how important this new tool is to making U.S. foreign assistance more effective.  The Dashboard increases transparency in U.S. foreign assistance in an unprecedented way, and in doing so, it allows policymakers and aid partners to make more informed decisions, while also helping citizens here and abroad hold their leaders accountable for delivering results on development.

The launch of the Dashboard is a concrete sign that the Obama Administration is moving forward to implement the reforms outlined in the Presidential Policy Directive on Development and the recently-released Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).  It is also a sign that Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah are serious about using innovation and technology to bring U.S. development efforts into the 21st century.  We look forward to working with the Administration to drive additional progress on implementing reforms, and we believe strongly that the most important step that can be taken in 2011 is for the Administration and Congress to work together to pass legislation that will give the reforms the force of law.

For additional information, please contact Sam Hiersteiner at 202-295-0171 or shiersteiner@gpgdc.com.

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.”