Today’s post is the fifth and final post in a Feed the Future/Reform blog series that MFAN has been coordinating with key members of the community. Click here to read what leaders from the German Marshall Fund of the United States have to say about Feed the Future as it relates to aid and trade.
While much of the aid that the United States sends abroad directly addresses health, food and security needs, a similarly important portion of U.S. assistance benefits the environmental conservation work in developing countries. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Biodiversity Program, Sustainable Landscapes, and Adaptation Program all seek to protect the natural environment in places that, for mostly economic reasons, are under threat.
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) delivered an engaging and broad-ranging speech on U.S. policy in Africa yesterday at John’s Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. Senator Isakson is the Senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, and he has traveled to the continent many times over the last several years. Senator Isakson focused his remarks on three primary areas: 1. U.S. foreign assistance to Africa; 2. U.S. private investment in Africa; and 3. China’s presence in Africa.
Today’s post is the fourth in a Feed the Future/Reform blog series that MFAN has been coordinating with key members of the community. Click here to read the latest piece by Rachel Voss, Communications and Research Associate at the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa. Voss discusses the potential of smallholder farmers and demonstrates how the Feed the Future initiative “aims to increase food security, improve nutrition, and boost incomes of smallholder farmers by bolstering infrastructure and market access, promoting innovative partnerships, and enabling farmers to produce beyond the subsistence level,” all key elements of reform.
Representatives Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) authored an op-ed which appeared in today’s Politico about the importance of investing in smart power regardless of one’s political affiliation. The bipartisan piece was geared toward freshman members of Congress – providing a word of advice on the importance of the international affairs budget and it’s impact on national security.
In today’s The Hill, Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a longtime member of the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense and State and Foreign Operations, argues that reducing U.S. foreign assistance will make America less safe.
Our message to the members of Congress was simple. Even in tough economic times, a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is worth every dime. Investing in democracy, development, and diplomacy serves our economic interests here at home as well and our national security. As I accompanied Truman National Security Project veteran Lt. General Norm Seip (US Air Force, Retired) and his group to meetings with several new US Senators, the national security and economic arguments for continuing our development work abroad had the most resounding impact. One thing is clear: development is not charity — it is part and parcel of our national security and it has very real impacts on the global economy.
“If that 1 percent was gone, the only face America would be putting to the world is one of helmets and boots on the ground,” said Sam Worthington, who heads InterAction, a coalition of U.S.-based relief groups that includes CARE and the International Rescue Committee. “It would deeply impact our image in the world and our ability to relate to other peoples.”
“If you don’t want to use military force any more than you have to, count me in. State Department, USAID, all of these programs, in their own way, help win this struggle against radical Islam. The unsung heroes of this war are the State Department officials, the [Department of Justice] officials, and the agricultural people who are going out there.”
State’s spokesman P.J. Crowley told POLITICO, “If we have to take a significant cut in foreign assistance, in some fashion, that is going to affect Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Those are countries where we have vital interests and vital security concerns.”