MFAN: New Presidential Study Directive an Unprecedented Step Forward on Development

August 31, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

MFAN strongly commends President Obama for signing a landmark Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy.  The directive establishes clear White House leadership on modernizing our country’s approach to global development, adding to the tremendous momentum generated by actions taken by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the State Department.

This critical step by President Obama means that we are closer than we have ever been to a fresh, whole-of-government approach that will elevate development as a core, independent pillar of U.S. foreign policy and make U.S. efforts to alleviate poverty and hunger, fight disease, and create economic opportunity  in the developing world more efficient and effective.  As the U.S. faces complex global challenges including the economic crisis and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan-Pakistan, as well as threats emanating from scourges that know no borders – such as poverty, disease, and climate change – we must make sure our efforts to promote development have as much impact as possible.

President Obama’s directive acknowledges this reality and the interconnectedness of the threats we face, and rises to the challenge by taking the unprecedented step of tasking National Security Advisor General James Jones and Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, with leading an interagency review of global development policy.  This process will provide much-needed clarity about how U.S. agencies and departments can work together to develop and implement coordinated and sound policy aimed at achieving our global development goals.  We are optimistic about what this effort can achieve in conjunction with the State Department’s recently announced Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and we remain ready to support both the White House and State Department teams in any way we can.

For more information, please visit MFAN’s website.

Contact: Sam Hiersteiner at or 202-295-0171.

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