December 8, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:
MFAN commends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for unanimously approving Dr. Rajiv Shah’s nomination as Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). We call on the full Senate to confirm Dr. Shah without delay for three key reasons:
- The Obama Administration and bipartisan Congressional leaders are moving forward with unprecedented momentum on foreign assistance reform, through the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy; the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review; the Senate’s Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act (S.1524); and the House of Representatives’ rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
- Successful outcomes to our most pressing national security challenges, including the war in Afghanistan and instability in Pakistan, depend just as much on the effectiveness of in-country development programs as they do on our combat operations or diplomatic efforts.
- The Obama Administration has launched major new initiatives to promote agricultural development/food security and global health in the world’s poorest countries.
The success of these efforts, each of which will save lives in the developing world and bolster security and prosperity at home, depends on Dr. Shah’s confirmation by the full Senate so that his voice can represent U.S. development policy and interests as part of these ongoing discussions. Should he be confirmed, the Obama Administration must immediately take steps to empower Dr. Shah with the resources and authorities he needs to elevate development in U.S. foreign policy and rebuild USAID into the world’s premier development agency. These steps include giving Dr. Shah a seat on the National Security Council and supporting the Senate’s efforts, through S.1524, to restore policy planning and monitoring and evaluation capabilities to USAID.