Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. will join the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan yesterday. In her keynote address at the opening session, Secretary Clinton called for coordination to maximize development outcomes, pointing to country ownership, untied aid, and greater flexibility as … Continue reading Secretary Clinton Calls for Renewed Commitments to Aid Effectiveness in Busan
Today, leaders from around the world gathered in Busan, Korea to kick off the fourth OECD High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Over the next two days, some 2,000 delegates will review global progress toward improving the impact and value of development aid and make new commitments to further ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
MFAN partner Bread for the World Institute released a briefing paper, ‘Making Development Assistance Work Better’, as the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness gets underway today. Faustine Wabwire, Foreign Assistance Policy Analyst at the Institute, highlights opportunities for Busan in the context of past forums, prior commitments, and progress achieved so far. With … Continue reading Bread for the World Releases Aid Effectiveness Paper
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea. The United States is attending with a particularly high power delegation, led by Secretary Clinton, to underscore U.S. leadership abroad on technical and political aspects of development policy. The U.S. government heads into the forum with a handful of priority themes, including country ownership, partnerships with the private business community and philanthropists, and transparency, sustainability and results. The United States seeks to be a leader in these areas and has the rhetoric to match, but much more needs to be done to connect the language of commitment to the reality of U.S. development activities. With the right balance of pressure and political space, the Busan forum may present the opportunity for the United States to step up its game, especially on transparency and results.
Nevertheless, the tool is only as useful as the information it stores, and currently, it stores very little. Sure it includes both State and USAID foreign assistance request and appropriations data, but this information was made available at the original release of the Dashboard nearly a year ago, and both agencies have yet to publish data for obligations and spent resources.
Last week Sarah Margon, MFAN partner and associate director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress (CAP), published a report titled “Unintended Roadblocks: How U.S. Terrorism Restrictions make it harder to Save Lives.” The report found that over the past decade the work of a number of foreign aid groups has been restricted by U.S. counterterrorism processes. Margon argues these humanitarian groups are in no way trying to support terrorism, but with the ambiguously defined laws they are subjected to under U.S. regulations, it makes it extremely difficult to provide assistance to areas such as Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As we look forward to Thanksgiving celebrations, IREX President Ambassador W. Robert Pearson reminds Congress to appreciate the importance of foreign assistance. This entry originally appeared in the Voices of IREX blog. The Thanksgiving holiday in America gives us all a chance to reflect on gratitude, on generosity, and on reaching out to those in … Continue reading Thanksgiving and the American Mind
This week, five former Secretaries of State, representing both Democrats and Republican administrations, sent a letter to Congress raising concerns about additional cuts to diplomacy and development programs in the FY12 appropriations. Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz wrote they “have seen first‐hand how the International Affairs Budget is a strategic investment to advance America’s interests throughout the world” and urge members of Congress to oppose devastating cuts to these vital programs.
MFAN Partner Publish What You Fund, an organization focused on tracking transparency in foreign aid, released the 2011 Aid Transparency Index today. The report – the first of its kind – evaluates the transparency of 58 donor countries and international organizations, showing that donors of international aid are not publishing enough information on the money they give towards development. Publish What You Fund believes that this lack of transparency undermines the effectiveness of development spending and ultimately damages public trust.
These manmade problems are multiple. Some relate to the traditional challenges of reducing poverty and building sustainable solutions. Some also relate to how we do development assistance. Certainly, President Kennedy’s words resonated with me as I moved on from USAID’s inspirational video and from my personal celebration of USAID’s anniversary to read some harder edged reporting on the state of U.S. foreign assistance – and the manmade problems that it faces.