State Department Strategic Review of Development and Diplomacy Holds Great Promise

July 10, 2009 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram:

MFAN commends Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her decision to undertake America’s first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which is further evidence that she is more committed to development than any Secretary of State in history.

In particular, we are hopeful that the QDDR will help the Obama Administration ensure its efforts to alleviate poverty, fight disease, and create political stability and economic opportunity in the developing world are coordinated, effective, and integrated into major foreign policy and national security debates. In an era of complex and interconnected challenges, this is critical.

The QDDR should also be a crucial step towards modernizing the outdated foreign aid system to ensure that U.S foreign assistance is effective; responsive to the needs and priorities of aid recipients; monitored and evaluated according to clear benchmarks; and transparent to U.S. taxpayers, partners, and recipients alike. And we are hopeful it will include recommendations for ensuring that the U.S. commitment to pursuing long-term development goals is sustained even when immediate diplomatic and humanitarian challenges arise.

To get the most from the QDDR process, we hope the State Department will take the following steps:

  • The Obama Administration should immediately name an experienced development professional as Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This person should co-chair the QDDR process, and should be given a seat on the National Security Council from which to help align the findings of the QDDR with U.S. foreign policy.
  • In completing the QDDR, the State Department should examine all aspects of U.S. development policy, gathering input from, and seeking to align the policies of, agencies across the government that impact the U.S. approach to global development.
  • The QDDR process must include input from a broad range of relevant stakeholders, including implementing partners, field professionals in and out of government, policy experts, other bilateral and multilateral donors, and aid recipients.

MFAN members look forward to supporting the State Department as it undertakes the QDDR.

Contact: Sam Hiersteiner at 202-337-0808 or

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