MFAN Co-Chairs Unveil Bold Aid Architecture Reforms in New Draft Proposal

July 10, 2017 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette.

Today, the MFAN Co-Chairs launched a bold, forward-looking Discussion Draft: A New Foreign Aid Architecture Fit for Purpose.  This proposal is intended to inform ongoing efforts around potential reform of U.S. aid agencies.  Since the April OMB memo on government-wide reorganization, MFAN has publicly called for the administration to consult with Congress and the development community on any reform process.

The Co-Chairs’ Discussion Draft recognizes that aid effectiveness can be advanced through a smart approach to structural reform that builds on progress made over the past 15 years.  The Draft is aligned with MFAN’s Guiding Principles for Effective U.S. Foreign Assistance, which are currently endorsed by over 120 prominent individuals and organizations and seek to maintain the elevation and independence of development programs.

The objectives of the proposal are to: maximize the effectiveness of development and diplomacy by establishing clear lines of responsibility and accountability; align priorities, structures, and coordination with goals and objectives; and achieve efficiencies through removing redundancies and outdated regulations.

The proposal would streamline aid structures and organize them to meet the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing the United States.  It would consolidate four agencies and several major State Department units into two new focused agencies: a Global Development Agency (GDA) and a Development Finance Corporation (DFC).  The head of the GDA would report to the President, is assigned Cabinet rank, has a permanent seat on the National Security Council, and receives guidance from the Secretary of State.  This ensures a strong development perspective is present in national security and foreign policy discussions.  The DFC would be led by a CEO reporting to a board that is chaired by the Director of the GDA, ensuring coordination across development institutions.

“We look forward to engaging in a robust and constructive dialogue with development stakeholders on how best to maximize development effectiveness through improving the architecture of aid,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“This Draft responds to issues of efficiency within our aid system, but also seeks to maximize impact.” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Plan International.  “Aid structure should equip our diplomacy and development professionals to do their jobs effectively.”

“MFAN has called for reorganization and reform to be done in consultation with Congress and the development community,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center.  “This Discussion Draft is one way to achieve the kind of efficiencies the Trump Administration is seeking across government.”

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