July 10, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:
The Obama Administration unfortunately yielded to inertia and interagency turf battles in deciding not to move leadership of the Global Health Initiative (GHI), America’s largest development program, to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), our premier development agency.
Transferring GHI leadership to USAID would have begun much-needed integration of our health programs into a more unified development structure, thereby strengthening our ability to take a holistic and strategic approach to alleviating poverty, fighting disease and driving economic growth in developing countries in the future.
We are concerned that our partners on the ground will continue to be confused about global health leadership and coordination, which will hamper efforts to effectively transition ownership of development programs to recipient countries. In addition, the practice of providing separate earmarks for development programs, which the Administration had specifically highlighted for reform, will continue to force agencies to compete against each other for dollars, rather than focus on cooperation and results. Viewed through these lenses, the Administration may have undermined its own landmark efforts to increase development effectiveness and accountability.
We cannot afford to let up on major reforms like this if we hope to show leadership and push further development progress in an era of economic and foreign policy challenges.