Let’s Celebrate…and Then Hold the President Accountable

Below two MFAN members react to President Obama’s speech yesterday in which he unveiled the administration’s new Global Development Policy.  Porter McConnell of Oxfam and Larry Nowels from the ONE Campaign both recognize the significance of this moment, but point to the challenges ahead and call on the community to start to hold the President to account for his pledges yesterday.

Porter McConnell, Policy Advisor for Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness Team, shares her reaction: AWESOME.  “President Obama knocked it out of the park in his address to the UN MDG Summit this afternoon. We asked for a ‘barn burner of a speech’, and boy did we get one.”

In her blog post, she highlights key excerpts from the speech and matches those to concrete policy steps released in a fact sheet accompanying the announcement yesterday.  In the end, she writes, “Tomorrow, we will hold the president accountable for delivering on his words today. But tonight, we’re joining our friends and colleagues around the world to celebrate.” Click here to read the rest of her reaction.

In a post on the ONE blog, MFAN Principal Larry Nowels notes the commitment fulfilled: “As promised a year ago, President Obama came to the UN today with his plan to chart a new course for advancing sustainable, equitable economic growth and reducing poverty for the world’s poor. For the first time, the US now has a Global Development Policy that sets forward a clear sense of unified purpose, goals and a modern structure for US development programs.”

Nowels writes that this positive momentum will continue next week when the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition hosts an esteemed round table discussion on the findings from the Presidential Policy Directive (formerly the Presidential Study Directive), commenting, “It could be a fascinating conversation about how ingrained institutional interests will be set aside to adapt to a common purpose for implementing the new Global Development Policy.”

Nowels also makes reference to the QDDR and how it will impact the President’s words: “The State Department/USAID’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review is nearing completion, a plan that will hopefully provide the operational blueprint for applying the principles set out by the President today.”

He goes on to conclude, “These good words and ambitious plans are encouraging and necessary.  But the hard part begins with implementation.  The Administration has the advantage that some core principles in the new plan are already incorporated into the Feed the Future and Global Health Initiatives.  Nevertheless, we won’t begin to see the impact or results of these changes for some time and a critical evaluation of their success will be years in the future.  Let’s hope in five, or maybe ten years, we will be able to see that the President in fact delivered in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world as well as he did today in New York.” Click here to read his entire analysis.

Check back later today for a compendium of news clips and MFAN partner reactions to President Obama’s new development policy.  And let us know what you think about the President’s speech in comments below.

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