MFAN Partner InterAction’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) page – a new page that features guest blog posts, policy analysis by InterAction staff, and other statements and news related to the QDDR – is buzzing over Secretary Clinton’s recently released Foreign Affairs article. In the piece, Secretary Clinton gives insight into the final QDDR, rumored to be released by the end of the year.
Yesterday, we featured a guest post from InterAction’s page by MFAN Principal John Norris. Today, we’re featuring a reaction piece by MFAN Members Todd Shelton, Senior Director of Public Policy and External Relations, and Filmona Hailemichael, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator – both of InterAction. Taking a more critical tone the authors argue that while it is commendable for the Secretary to seek to elevate development, development in and of itself must be viewed as a way to achieve strategic US objectives and not as “just one more tool in the State Department’s toolbox.” Shelton and Hailemichael express concern over the range of tradeoffs in the QDDR including between short-term and long-term interests, distinct missions and overlapping authorities, and fragile states versus the poorest of the poor. The authors are also troubled by the almost complete lack of implementing partners in the development discussion. See below for key excerpts:
“The overall frame that elevates “civilian power” is positive, but many in the development community will be troubled by the implied fusing of development resources so closely with short-term political interests. While the Secretary asserts that “the State Department and USAID have distinct roles and missions,” her article fails to ensure the leadership space necessary for development expertise and effectiveness to flourish. Instead, Clinton declares that “the two Ds (development and diplomacy) reflect the world as the State Department sees it today and as it envisions it in the future.” What about other development partners? Where do they fit in?”
“The Secretary’s essay makes it very clear that the State Department and its embassies have primacy but the USAID Mission Director’s coordinating and leadership role for development priorities is overlooked. Furthermore, she emphasizes the expanding definition of diplomacy to include development and explains how this will change the roles of career State Department Foreign Service Officers to be more development savvy.”
“We’re also troubled and perplexed by the almost complete lack of acknowledgement of the important role played by State and USAID’s partners — the U.S. NGO community. NGOs are vital for building the local business and civil society capacity that the Secretary proposes and for raising donations from the American public that often exceed official U.S. development dollars.”