MFAN Co-Chair Ingram’s New Op-Ed Praises Berman’s Draft Legislation

lg_George-Ingram.jpgLast week, MFAN Co-Chair George Ingram published an op-ed praising House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman’s (D-CA) new draft legislation authorizing U.S. foreign assistance.  Ingram applauds Berman and his staff for putting together a draft that tackles some of the tough questions left unanswered by the current reform debate.  For example, the draft legislation streamlines authority to the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – answering the “who’s in charge” question.  Ingram also lists elements of the draft that align with reform principles and the overall notion of aid effectiveness.  He concludes that as the development community works through its recommendations, everyone should remember the commendable effort Chairman Berman and his staff have done.  See excerpts from the op-ed after the jump:

“This is a major step toward building a 21st-century approach and apparatus for promoting development, which President Obama’s first National Security Strategy (NSS) called a “moral, strategic, and economic imperative” for the U.S. It is also a long overdue step, as U.S. foreign assistance legislation has not been overhauled since President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.”

“A fourth noteworthy strength of the draft bill is that it sets clear goals to guide the U.S. approach to development and the allocation of development assistance funds. Without doubt, these goals and principles will be subject to debate and modification, but the draft does a huge service by outlining a set of thoughtful concepts for discussion. Having a set of agreed upon principles to guide our assistance programs would provide a level of understanding and transparency that has long been missing from U.S. assistance programs.”

“Let’s be clear. This is a working draft that will be subject to considerable discussion and modification. There are questions about various provisions. Why create a new, separate funding pot “development support funds” and will that really ease the current funding allocation morass? Is it smart to require an MCC-type 100% upfront funding of projects? How can the important provision on monitoring and evaluation be formulated in a way that does not detract from the innovation and risk taking that the draft seeks to promote? Some will want the draft to go into more detail on specific provisions; the administration and others are likely to prefer less detail.”

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