Redesign Reactions: What’s Next for the State Department and USAID?

Since the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo on government reorganization in April, MFAN has helped foster a public conversation about how a redesign can and should enhance the effectiveness, accountability, and impact of our foreign assistance.

MFAN recently re-released Guiding Principles for Effective U.S. Assistance, which assert that any reorganization of foreign assistance agencies must adhere to a set of sounds reform principles, be guided by a global development strategy, and be conducted in partnership with Congress and the development community.  The Principles have support from over 170 organizations and prominent individuals.  They also served as the guideposts for the MFAN Co-Chairs’ Discussion Draft on aid architecture which was released in July.  The architecture proposal makes the case for a fully empowered and independent development agency and establishes clear lines of authority between the State Department, a new Global Development Agency, and a new Development Finance Corporation.

In order to deepen the discussion on reorganization, MFAN launched a blog series for community stakeholders to weigh in on the MFAN Co-Chairs’ Discussion Draft as well as other structure proposals put forth by various experts.  See below for insights from thought leaders around the community.

MFAN has been encouraged by the considerable alignment among the different proposals on the broad strokes of reform: the need for an independent development agency; a global development strategy; and a long overdue update to our aid institution’s systems.  The MFAN Co-Chairs authored a blog outlining these 10 emerging priorities for reform.

Congress has also shown a keen interest in playing an active role on redesign, starting with requirements in the FY2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act that the Administration engage Congress in any reorganization process.  Most recently, provisions in both House and Senate FY2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations reassert Congress’ oversight role.

MFAN looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration, Congress, and the development community to ensure that any reorganization leads to more efficient, effective, accountable, and impactful U.S. foreign assistance.

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