The leaked draft of the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7) continues to draw reactions from across the development community. Today, the Global Post published an op-ed from Center for Global Development President Nancy Birdsall and MFAN member and director of policy outreach at CGD Sarah Jane Staats. Birdsall and Staats echo much that’s been said about the need for a National Strategy for Global Development, but go beyond in calling for an empowered USAID Administrator. They argue that giving the Administrator autonomy over development policy, programs, and budgets will make U.S. aid more effective and accountable. See excerpts below:
“The struggles over who is in charge of what and the resulting delay of the release of the White House’s first ever Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy are having unfortunate consequences for our foreign policy goals — from Pakistan to Haiti to our climate policy — as well as our partners in poor countries and our image abroad.”
“In practical terms, elevating development, as Secretary Clinton has pledged to do, means providing the USAID administrator autonomy over policy, program and budget decision-making sufficient to get the biggest bang for our development bucks. Of course this is not an entitlement for the agency. As with other agencies, we should set the bar high for USAID and expect to see — and measure — strong performance and results, with programs and resources scaled up or down accordingly.”
“For almost two decades, the U.S. has not only significantly under-invested in development; we have structured our development programs in ways that weaken, rather than strengthen their impact. It’s time for decisions. We urge Secretary Clinton to put the USAID administrator in charge of these two major new development initiatives. We urge her, whose commitment to development objectives is clear and compelling, to give Raj Shah the broader policy and budget authorities that will make USAID, as she promised in her January speech at the Center for Global Development, “the world’s premier development agency.”
Staats also cleverly recounts the foreign aid reform story so far on CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance blog – a story that follows with detailed reactions to the PSD-7 draft.