MFAN Calls for Reform of U.S. Development Policy in a Changing Middle East

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 — In the aftermath of significant cuts to the international affairs budget, and as policymakers work to reorient U.S. foreign policy in a tumultuous Middle East and North Africa, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) has released a new paper arguing for dramatic changes in the way the U.S. develops and implements foreign assistance programs in the region.

Building on the bipartisan momentum for foreign assistance reform in the U.S., “Charting a New Path for U.S. Foreign Assistance in the Middle East and North Africa” (attached) proposes a range of actions that will ensure future foreign assistance will be more effective, accountable, and responsive to the needs of citizens.  MFAN—a reform coalition composed of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations—outlines short-term and long-term steps for U.S. policymakers to build the foundation for a sustainable partnership with civil society and responsible governments in transition.

To support continued progress in the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. must:

  • Maintain momentum for change through aid projects with quick impact and high visibility;
  • Encourage citizens, civil society, and governments in transition to work together to  create their own visions and plans for equitable development;
  • Guarantee political space for the private sector, civil society, women, and youth;
  • Provide fewer resources to militaries and more resources and training for their civilian counterparts; and
  • Provide long-term and predictable support in exchange for commitments to good governance.

This white paper builds on MFAN’s deep engagement with policymakers and the public on reforming U.S. global development efforts for the 21st century. To date, MFAN has played a lead role in advocating for changes including bipartisan reform legislation in Congress, President Obama’s landmark global development policy, the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and USAID’s wide-ranging internal reform agenda. To learn more, please visit www.moderizeaid.net.

MFAN is a reform coalition composed of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations. MFAN was created to build upon the bipartisan consensus that has emerged over the last decade that the U.S. should play a leadership role in achieving economic growth and reducing poverty and suffering around the world, and that we can play this role more effectively, efficiently, and transparently. In 2011-2012, MFAN will monitor and encourage the Administration’s development policy reform agenda and support action in Congress to achieve bipartisan agreement and legislation in support of reform.

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