At CGI, Secretary Clinton Calls Development Essential in a Complex, Interconnected World

Clinton speech at CGI

In a speech Friday at the Clinton Global Initiative, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the framework for the Obama Administration’s Food Security Initiative, which could provide a new model of strategic coordination for U.S. development efforts.   Referencing both the G-8 commitment of $20 billion for food security and the State Department Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Clinton laid out five principles that will guide the Food Security Initiative including improved coordination, transparency, monitoring and evaluation, and accountability for more effective long-term investments.   Key excerpts of the speech are below:

“The Obama Administration has developed an unprecedented initiative aimed at advancing food security worldwide. The scope and scale of this initiative represents an elevation of development as a key element of our foreign policy. And our approach represents a rethinking of development policies and priorities.”

“After years of effort and billions of dollars, we have not achieved the lasting results we desire. But we have learned some very valuable lessons. We know that the most effective strategies emanate from those closest to the problems, not governments or institutions hundreds or thousands of miles away. We know that too often our efforts have been undermined by a lack of coordination, too little transparency, haphazard monitoring and evaluation, an over-reliance on contractors who work with too little oversight, and by relationships with recipient countries based more on patronage than partnership. And we know that development works best when it is based not in aid, but in investment. Indeed, many of these lessons are reflected in the work you do here at CGI.”

“We will work with countries prepared to make substantial commitments themselves—not only to agricultural development, but also to strong institutions, good governance, fighting corruption, and maintaining transparency.”

“This is difficult work. And to do it right, we need a State Department and a United States Agency for International Development up to the challenge, ready and willing to work closely together, with the right structures, resources, and policies in place. That’s why, earlier this year, I launched the first ever review of both agencies called the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the QDDR.  Now, we’re looking carefully at how we can best elevate and integrate development and diplomacy, and we are going to have a government-wide review of our strategies and policies. We will ask the hard questions and we will make the tough decisions.”

Cheryl MillsMaria Otero

Also on Friday, Cheryl Mills—Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff and the point-person on the Food Security Initiative—spoke about the effort, calling specific attention to the cross-government coordination that has driven the initiative forward:

“In that process, it’s a whole-of-government approach, and so yes, it has been a completely collaborative process in terms of the actual interagency process … It does mean that in its implementation, there will be different agencies that are actually participating in the implementation. There are certain trade and regional barriers that likely will be at USTR’s participation. There are obviously the country-level implementations that happen, and USAID, obviously, is going to play a very strong role in this overarching initiative…USDA, given their obvious technical experience and their overarching understanding of agriculture in a very fundamental way, will also be providing a meaningful role in this process. So it really will be a collaboration of all the various government agencies to do this effectively.”

Mario Otero, Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, also spoke about the ways in which issues such as democracy, human rights, the environment, migration, and labor have been elevated and integrated into U.S. foreign policy by the President and Secretary Clinton:

“I think we also know that these broader issues that cut across national boundaries are ones that require real partnerships and a real multilateral approach. I think you heard the President speak about many of these, not only in his Administration, but in the way that he’s relating to other people in the world.”

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