September 26, 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 we relaunch MFAN’s Guiding Principles for Effective Foreign Assistance with over 170 endorsements from a wide-ranging and bipartisan group of organizations and prominent individuals. These principles, which were originally released in June, call for the ongoing State Department and USAID redesign to adhere to best practices in aid effectiveness and be conducted in close partnership with Congress and the development community.
Congress has become increasingly engaged on this important issue. Both the Senate and House Fiscal Year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations (SFOPs) bills included specific provisions requiring Congressional consultation and reporting on redesign. Several Members of Congress have also publicly called for the legislative branch to be seen as a full partner in the redesign including: House Foreign Affairs and SFOPs leadership Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Nita Lowey (D-NY); Senate Foreign Service Caucus Co-Chairs Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK); and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD). Additionally, in a recent op-ed in The Hill, the House Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA) called for the redesign effort to “have the administrator squarely at the center, with an equal voice to his counterparts at the State Department.” MFAN applauds this leadership and encourages continued engagement from Congress.
MFAN’s Guiding Principles demonstrate deep support within the development community for effective reforms. We hope they will be a timely resource as OMB reviews State and USAID’s redesign plans and Administrator Mark Green determines priorities for his agency’s reform agenda.
MFAN urges the Trump Administration to take advantage of the opportunity to improve U.S. foreign assistance by adopting these principles as part of an overall Global Development Strategy to guide reforms and by consulting closely and regularly with Congress.