April 29, 2015 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette: Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the release of the second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. MFAN welcomes the new QDDR and is pleased to see a strong … Continue reading MFAN Welcomes Second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review
While S. 3341 rightly seeks to codify a review of U.S. diplomacy and development programs every four years, the lack of emphasis on a strong and independent development voice implies backsliding in our prioritization of U.S. development efforts. The QDDR’s important assertion that “diplomacy and development must be mutually reinforcing” is not well served by the legislation in its current form.
Tuesday, March 8 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, but MFAN Partner Women Thrive Worldwide is drawing attention to the importance of women’s empowerment a few days early. Tomorrow morning they will have their 3rd annual International Women’s Day breakfast as the community takes stock of the progress made in agricultural development and food security and explores important questions for charting a path forward for gender equality.
Though a sliver of our overall budget, U.S. foreign assistance delivers a real return-on-investment. The Obama administration and Congress need to support these programs and work together to make them more effective and accountable. And the American public deserves an honest debate about the importance of our foreign assistance.
In a recent post on the Wilson Center’s “The New Security Beat” blog, senior scholar John Sewell offers his perspective on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which was released in December.
Sara Messer, policy manager for aid effectiveness, at MFAN Partner ONE, recently posted a blog about the reoccurring themes of innovation and competitiveness in President Obama’s State of the Union earlier this week. “At a time when government programs are on the chopping block and every dollar needs to be justified, it’s important that we support those programs that are making real reforms and changing lives for millions of people around the world.”
In an extraordinary and hard-hitting speech today, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Raj Shah laid out the clear progress that is being made in changing the U.S. approach to development and reforming his agency.
Since being sworn in as the 16th administrator of USAID on January 7th, Dr. Rajiv Shah has taken a number of steps to position U.S. development efforts as a critical and dynamic component of U.S. foreign policy. From taking the lead on the Feed the Future initiative to internal reforms within USAID, Dr. Shah has demonstrated his leadership in making the agency a cutting edge actor in development, one that puts renewed emphasis on partnerships, innovation and learning, and evidenced-based results. Over the last 12 months, Shah also co-chaired the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and played an active role in the formulation of President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy.
“The Monitor will focus on aid effectiveness, transparency, and the efficient use of federal funds to support U.S. foreign policy. It will track new initiatives begun by Administrator Shah as embodied in USAID Forward. It will pay special attention to the agency’s new approach to evidence-based policy and planning and will monitor congressional activities that affect its authorities and capacity to achieve development objectives.”
“While there is much to applaud in the report, its shift towards a national security foundation for diplomacy and development raises significant concerns among development professionals. Over time, how this affects the planning and selection of development solutions at both State and USAID could result in an undercutting of the elevation of development which the QDDR asserts as one of its key goals. Furthermore, how the reforms outlined in the report are implemented will determine whether humanitarian and development programs in the field are strengthened or weakened.”