MFAN Principal Reviews Sec. Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Piece on the QDDR

John NorrisAs part of a new webpage, MFAN Partner InterAction – a coalition of about 200 US-based NGOs focused on poverty alleviation – takes a deep dive into the implementation of the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) and State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

Currently, the page features Secretary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs piece, “Leading Through Civilian Power.”  MFAN Principal and Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress John Norris contributed a guest blog in response to Clinton’s article, made available yesterday. Norris cites three major takeaways from the article: “modernizing diplomacy; making development more effective; and creating a stronger nexus between diplomacy and development, including in fragile states.” He goes on to praise the Secretary for her commitment and willingness to improve and enhance our civilian tools in a complex new environment. Still, Norris argues the piece could go further in distinguishing development from diplomacy, with an emphasis on long-term over short-term priorities. Read below for a few key excerpts:

“Clinton gets some of these big challenges absolutely right, particularly the dilemma of trying to influence more diffuse actors using more diffuse instruments. In plain terms: almost every U.S. ambassador around the globe not only hosts officials from State and USAID in the embassy, they also host officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, Energy, Commerce, Defense and more. Few ambassadors have been trained or educated in managing development, much less trade policy, agriculture, educational exchanges or the scores of other functions that are now in their lap.”

“The Secretary’s discussion of how to make diplomacy and development work better together is consistent with the President’s recent review of global development policy, and both are welcome signs that the administration takes development seriously and wants to get it right. Like the policy review, the Secretary stresses the need to be more selective in targeting where, and in what sectors, we deliver assistance based on practical metrics and the willingness of countries to drive the reform process.”

“But one clear marker is established: “…the State Department will lead in complex political crises, and USAID will lead in disaster response…” This is a notable shift from the practice during much of the 1990s, and it remains to be seen if the State Department actually has the staff resources and know-how to effectively design and deliver programming in these most demanding of environments.”

Do you agree with Norris’ review? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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