The eighth installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from MFAN Principal Michael Klosson, associate vice president and chief policy officer, and Kathleen Campbell, associate director of the Aid Effectiveness Project, both of Save the Children. To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George Ingram, Noam Unger, David Beckmann, Ritu Sharma & Nora O’Connell, Ray Offenheiser, Jennifer Potter, Liz Schrayer & John Glenn.
By Michael Klosson & Kathleen Campbell
As we anticipate the release of interim findings of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), it is hard not to think about Haiti. The unprecedented scale of the horror wrought by the earthquake immediately made Haiti a top U.S. foreign affairs issue, both for the President and for the American public, which engaged through a massive groundswell of private giving. The President understood that the problem, at its heart, was a humanitarian and development issue, requiring a humanitarian and development lead and solution – with unflagging support from our nation’s highest level diplomats, soldiers, trade negotiators, and treasury officials.
Although not all foreign policy issues are so clear cut, we hope that the upcoming draft QDDR will embrace humanitarian response, development, and poverty reduction not just as tools of foreign policy, but also as goals in their own right. We look to the QDDR to explain clearly how development and diplomacy, both as goals and as strategies, can reinforce and support each other. The U.S. has woefully underinvested in each in comparison to the third “D,” defense, but we will be looking in particular at what the QDDR does to ensure development and USAID have a strong and distinct voice and enough stature to lead a whole of government response, such as we have seen in Haiti. Also, as we have seen in Haiti, humanitarian and development issues do resonate strongly with the American public, so ways need to be found to ensure the strength of our entire nation – both its government and nongovernmental institutions – can be better harnessed to the task of helping people lift up their lives.
Steps we look for on the path to elevating development and ensuring balance among the “3 D’s” that the QDDR can help pave include:
- Restoring the policy, planning, and budget capacities of USAID
- Increasing the weight of field perspectives and the voice of our people on the ground in strategic planning
- Recognition that the most appropriate coordinator and representative on U.S. foreign assistance and development should be the USAID Mission Director, under direction of the Ambassador
- Increased delegated authority to Missions – to both diplomats and development professionals
- Ensuring that the USAID development voice is at all tables where issues touching on development are discussed
- Innovative ways to team with the broad range of American stakeholders in development