MFAN Principal on a “Huge Missed Opportunity”

MEXICO USToday, POLITICO published an op-ed by MFAN Principal and Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund Jim Kolbe in which he argues for definitive action on development and foreign assistance reform.  Kolbe cites the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit, currently underway, as the perfect opportunity to take concrete steps toward restoring U.S. leadership in the fight against global poverty and disease.  Kolbe specifically lists the following steps the Obama Administration should consider:

• “Say unequivocally that USAID is our lead development agency and give it the authority and resources to envision and implement programs in Washington and in the developing world;”

• “Create a business plan for operationalizing the MDG strategy and new development policy, making sure that it denotes clear lines of responsibility and accountability for U.S. development efforts; and,”

•” Pledge to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to update the Foreign Assistance Act, which has not been overhauled since it was written in 1961, despite the fact that the Cold War ended 20 years ago and the world now faces totally different development challenges.”

Read the full piece here and see more key excerpts below:

“Reforming U.S. foreign aid would make certain taxpayer dollars are used efficiently to drive sustainable growth and development. Advocates and reformers have been anxiously awaiting the release of a new global development policy, which the Obama Administration has promised in coming weeks, to see how concrete progress will be made on this issue.”

“While good people are working hard every day in these agencies, this muddled management structure is no way to create the best possible outcomes or implement innovative policies effectively. It also weakens USAID administrator Raj Shah, a recognized international health expert, and his agency, which Secretary Clinton has said repeatedly she wants to revitalize into the “world’s premier development agency.” To make matters worse, the majority of USAID’s senior leadership positions remain unfilled.”

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