Final Year of Administration Could See Big Advances for Aid Reform, Finds New MFAN ACCOUNTdown Report

March 23, 2016 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette

Today the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network launched a new ACCOUNTdown Progress Report, as part of our ACCOUNTdown to 2017 campaign, assessing what steps Congress and the Administration have taken to strengthen U.S. foreign assistance in the last several months. This new report finds that while we have seen some progress to improve accountability and country ownership, more can be done to match rhetoric with action.

In July of 2015, MFAN launched the ACCOUNTdown to 2017 campaign outlining concrete steps that should be taken by the end of this year to advance progress toward ensuring the U.S. is spending its assistance dollars effectively, efficiently, and sustainably.

“Since launching the ACCOUNTdown campaign last summer, we’ve already seen our pillar issues of accountability and country ownership elevated by Congress and the Administration. However, in areas like transparency the U.S. government is still falling short of meeting its commitments.” said MFAN Co-Chair George Ingram.

“Given the challenges we face today in places like Syria, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, effective foreign assistance is more imperative than ever. We have seen U.S. foreign assistance strengthened over the past decade thanks to bipartisan support both in Congress and across the Bush and Obama administrations. We need to be spending aid dollars accountably and in support of building local capacity to achieve sustainable development results,” said MFAN Co-Chair Carolyn Miles.

“The clock is ticking on this Administration and Congress. We hope that in these remaining nine months the executive and legislative branches will be focused and relentless about institutionalizing reforms in order to make the most of our aid dollars,” said MFAN Co-Chair Connie Veillette.

We are pleased to see the progress that has been made on the priority issues we laid out last summer. The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, for example, passed the full House and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The State Department has pledged to post full text of its unclassified foreign assistance evaluations. And the Department of Treasury included $10 million in the President’s FY 2017 budget request to go toward meeting the commitment made to double assistance for domestic resource mobilization. In the coming weeks and months, we hope Congress and the Administration will increase efforts to institutionalize reform commitments and make even more progress on the priorities outlined in the ACCOUNTdown Progress Report.

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About the Documents:

ACCOUNTdown Progress Report: Summer 2015 – Winter 2016: This brief describes progress made to strengthen the accountability of country ownership and accountability of U.S. foreign assistance and outlines further steps for the U.S. government to take this year. To hold Congress and the Administration accountable for results, MFAN will update and release periodic assessments of progress until January 2017.

Charting the Course: A Bipartisan Legacy of Modernizing Foreign Assistance: Over the past two decades, bipartisan leadership has strengthened the ability of U.S. foreign assistance to confront threats, reduce poverty, and advance American interests. In this new document, MFAN has updated its timeline of major foreign aid reform moments to reflect recent progress.

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