A Message from MFAN’s Co-Chairs on the Year Ahead

As 2010 begins, we are pleased to report that the community’s hard work over the last year has created unprecedented momentum towards our shared goals of elevating development as an enduring pillar of U.S. foreign policy and making U.S. foreign assistance more effective and accountable. Our national security and economic prosperity – and the well-being of millions of the world’s poorest people – are dependent on the success of this effort.

Click here for a recap of foreign assistance reform milestones that were reached in 2008 and 2009.

We must now turn our focus to the year ahead. Drawing attention to our agenda and moving it forward will be challenging in 2010 for many reasons, including a competitive policy and budget landscape and the coming pressures of mid-term Congressional elections.

As a community, we need new energy for our campaign, with several important developments on the horizon:

  • The release of White House recommendations from the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy, which aims to create a whole-of-government approach to development;
  • Further progress on House and Senate foreign assistance reform bills, which have already drawn bipartisan support, and the anticipated unveiling of a rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961;
  • The delivery of initial findings from the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which will lay a foundation for more effective policymaking, budgeting, implementation, and coordination of State Department- and United States Agency for International Development-led development programs; and
  • The beginning of Dr. Rajiv Shah’s tenure as Administrator of USAID, which faces dual challenges of rebuilding after years of neglect and supporting ongoing U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other conflict zones.

MFAN will work aggressively to maintain momentum on reform. We ask for the support of the entire community of people and organizations that strongly believe in U.S. efforts to alleviate poverty, fight disease, and create economic opportunity for people in the developing world.

We are fortunate that highly-placed Obama Administration officials and Congressional leaders are aware of the challenges before us and resolved to drive reform to a successful conclusion. President Obama pledged during his campaign to double U.S. foreign assistance and modernize it, as well as “elevate, streamline and empower a 21st-Century US Development Agency” in order to ensure that “development is established and endures as a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy.” And more recently, newly-confirmed USAID Administrator Shah said, “Not since the founding of USAID in 1961 and the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act have we had such an opportunity to fundamentally re-imagine our nation’s development strategy and strengthen the organization that leads it.”

These words, the plight of the world’s poorest people, and the urgent need to craft a successful U.S. foreign assistance program to support our foreign policy call us to action. We look forward to working with you in 2010 to realize our shared goals.

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David Beckmann and George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chairs

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