June 9, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:
We strongly commend the Obama Administration and Administrator Raj Shah for the recent launch of the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). MFAN and its members have advocated aggressively for rebuilding the policy capability within the U.S. government’s lead development agency. The Bureau will restore the ability of USAID’s world-class development professionals to plan and execute innovative, 21st-century programs that deliver better results for the people we are trying to empower and U.S. taxpayers, while also contributing expert input into important national security and foreign policy debates that have major development components.
But the creation of PPL, which was also called for in S.1524 introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Minority Member Dick Lugar (R-IN), is merely one stop on the road to making sure we get the most out of every development dollar we spend during this time of tight budgets and big global challenges. We look forward to hearing more from the Administration and USAID on their plans to restore budgeting capacity and drive procurement reforms at the Agency, and we urge President Obama to show public support and leadership on development by taking additional steps:
- Craft America’s first-ever U.S. Global Development Strategy – as recommended in the leaked draft of the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7) – that can guide the development efforts of USAID and other agencies; and
- Partner with Congress on comprehensive, durable foreign assistance reform legislation, in particular the rewrite of the antiquated, Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, a draft of which is already being developed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA).
As a network, we are prepared to bring our collective substantive and operational expertise to bear to help the PPL create innovative solutions for our greatest development challenges.