On behalf of both the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network – a coalition of international development practitioners and foreign policy experts committed to strengthening development as a key component of U.S. foreign policy – and InterAction – the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian NGOs, with over 180 member organizations operating in every developing country – we are writing to express our strong support for the “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015” (H.R. 3766) sponsored by Representatives Ted Poe and Gerry Connolly.
U.S. foreign assistance budgets and programs should be transparent and based on rigorous evidence and learning to ensure the effectiveness of every dollar spent. H.R. 3766 would both establish evaluation guidelines for U.S. international development and economic assistance programs and centralize public access to data and reports through the existing ForeignAssistance.gov aid transparency website. This legislation unanimously passed the House in 2012 and was again approved by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2015. A companion bill sponsored by Senators Rubio and Cardin was unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013 and again in 2015.
Specifically, the legislation would: 1) require the President of the United States to establish and implement uniform monitoring and evaluation guidelines – with measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans – across U.S. international development and economic assistance programs; and 2) require the Secretary of State to ensure the ForeignAssistance.gov website contains detailed information regarding U.S. foreign assistance on a program-by-program and country-by-country basis that is updated quarterly. It would further require that analysis be undertaken by the Government Accountability Office to inform Congress on relevant agencies’ adherence to these benchmarks.
While some progress has been made in recent years, today fewer than half of the more than two dozen federal departments and agencies involved in delivering U.S. foreign assistance have published data to ForeignAssistance.gov, and not enough meaningful aid information has been included. The time has come for the President to issue and oversee a set of common guidelines on the monitoring and evaluation of these programs and ensure that important aid information is available to the public. American taxpayers, along with partner country governments and citizens, deserve to have the ability to access comprehensive, timely, and comparable data on U.S. international development and economic assistance.
Given its strong bipartisan support in the previous sessions of Congress, we urge you to support and swiftly pass the “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act” to maximize the impact of our foreign assistance.
Save the Children
The Lugar Center
President & CEO
Endorsing Organizations (46):
Alliance for Peacebuilding
Alliance to End Hunger
American Jewish World Service
Basic Education Coalition
Bread for the World
Center for International Policy
Congressional Hunger Center
Data Transparency Coalition
Global Financial Integrity
Global Health Council
Global Poverty Project
Government Accountability Project
Habitat for Humanity International
Helen Keller International
Institute for Sustainable Communities
International Budget Partnership
International Youth Foundation
Millennium Water Alliance
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
PCI (Project Concern International)
Plan International USA
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Save the Children
The Borgen Project
The Hunger Project
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
USAID Alumni Association
VEGA (Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance)
Women Thrive Worldwide