News Clips 5.10.2011
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Today’s Headline: Margaret C. Sullivan will join USAID as Chief of Staff and a principal advisor to Administrator Raj Shah. As Chief of Staff, Sullivan will report directly to the administrator, facilitate and coordinate overall Agency operations, and serve as a key advisor on advancing USAID’s agenda, goals and critical initiatives. She has a long history of federal service including working as the West Coast Representative and as a Chief of Staff to Secretary Andrew Cuomo at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Chief of Staff to the United States Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President. Ben Hubbard, the acting Chief of Staff, will transition to lead the Development Credit Authority.
- Should the U.S. Cut Off Aid to Pakistan? (The New York Times-Room for Debate, May 10) Leon Panetta, the C.I.A. director, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week that Pakistani authorities “were involved or incompetent.” The Obama administration has sought $3 billion in aid for Pakistan for 2012, but some lawmakers are questioning the value of that investment. Has aid to Pakistan in the past decade — totaling more than $20 billion — helped or hurt American security interests? Should aid be cut off now?
- Pakistan should heed US concerns: key senator (AFP, May 10) But in a sign of how little leverage that could provide, a key author of a major foreign assistance bill for Pakistan complained that very little of that money had been spent. “We’ve spent only $179 million out of the $1.5 billion,” said Republican Senator Richard Lugar, who cited “lack of confidence and anybody administering (the aid) or even disagreement on what we should be spending it for.” A February 2011 US Government Accountability Office report found that, as of December 31, 2010, just $179.5 million out of the roughly $1.5 billion in annual aid had been spent on seven programs.
- In New Challenge, Bill Gates to Show Small Farmers’ Role in Poverty, Hunger Reduction (Devex, May 10) “On May 24, I’ll be giving a speech in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to farming families in the developing world and the important role they play in cutting hunger and poverty,” Bill Gates said in a blog post launching the “Small Farmers Are The Answer” challenge. “I need your help in making the case about why small farmers are so important – in fact, I want you to share your best ideas and help spread the word.” Gates is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a symposium on global agriculture and food security hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The event will also feature U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.
- Foreign aid gets half a billion boost in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald, May 10) The federal government has boosted foreign aid by almost half a billion dollars, winning plaudits from charities. Resisting calls to cut foreign aid spending to help push the budget back into surplus, the government will in fact increase it by $474 million, to $4.84 billion in 2011/12. The boost means aid will now account for 0.35 per cent of gross national income (GNI). But Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says the government remains committed to boosting aid spending to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015/16.
- How Four I-NGOs Promote Local Ownership of their Aid Programs (UN Dispatch-Mark Leon Goldberg, May 10) It has become de rigeur for the major international development and health NGOS to incorporate capacity building and promote local ownership of aid programs. This makes sense in terms of long term sustainability of programs and it is also something that major donors are increasingly demanding. In the new issue of PSI’s Impact magazine (for which I am a contributing writer), I take a look at how four I-NGO’s — World Vision, International Planed Parenthood Federation, Family Health International, and PSI — approach this question of local ownership of aid programs.