Development Community Reacts to QDDR

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) compiled short commentaries from several of their scholars. Please find highlights below.

J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center and Lisa Carty, Deputy Director and Senior Adviser, Global Health Policy Center said, “Secretary Clinton has an impressive command of, and commitment to, the strategic objective of ‘doing better’ in meeting the challenges laid out in the QDDR—most importantly, integrating the work of the State Department and USAID. She is firmly in control and made forcefully clear she is drawing to a close the far-ranging, extended two-year process of consultation and is determined to move forward.”

Daniel F. Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center, commented that “The challenge for the State Department and USAID is further embedding working with private actors into program design, resource planning processes, some centrally managed discretionary funds for opportunities that walk in door, and other incentives to build partnerships for State and USAID professionals—issues not adequately addressed in the QDDR. If managed correctly, State and USAID will be able to bring about a deeper, more strategic set of partnerships in the coming years.”

Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project Robert Lamb suggested, “Perhaps the next QDDR could address the more difficult questions, such as the place of nonstate actors in international law, or opening up more treaties to entities other than “member states.” This review does not go nearly far enough to recognize the importance of identifying and working with the new nonstate partners that have been acknowledged as being important. But it goes farther than might have been expected, coming out of two institutions whose very structure is dedicated to state-to-state partnerships.”logo

Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, vice president for strategic planning and director of the CSIS Global Food Security Project, and Kristin Wedding, a fellow with the Global Food Security Project noted that, “Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to make Feed the Future efficient, innovative, and work across agencies, serious work remains to be done to build support in the Congress for U.S. agricultural development efforts.”

Katherine E. Bliss of the Global Water Policy Project writes, “With more than 80 percent of the global burden of disease related to water, sanitation, and hygiene, and with water scarcity projected to affect 1.8 billion people by 2025, many in the water community have been wondering what the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review will reveal regarding plans for diplomatic engagement and development assistance on global water challenges. Now that the report, Leading Through Civilian Power, is out, the answer seems to be: Not much.”

Senior Fellow in the Energy and National Security Program, Sarah Ladislaw said, “It is too early to tell whether these organizational changes will have a material impact on the face of U.S. energy priorities abroad, but it does seem to address some long-held criticism that our international economic, energy security, and environmental agenda is often poorly coordinated, contradictory, or overshadowed by other more important foreign policy priorities.”

Gerald Hyman of the Hills Program on Governance commented, “Several new approaches are also noteworthy, however. First, the U.S. ambassador is to be the CEO of the multiagency work in any country and will “direct and coordinate” the civilian efforts there. The question is the extent to which the agencies working with funds not controlled by the State Department will be “directed and coordinated” or, if not, what levers the ambassador will have and what the procedures will be for implementing coordination. The National Security Council has clear interagency authority, but it is hard to imagine that the small NSC staff will be mediating every such problem.”

Additional Reactions to the QDDR

IFES_logo_cleanrim_horThe International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) “is particularly pleased that the QDDR not only recognizes the key role democracy and governance, but proposes concrete structural changes to realize this sharper focus.” “This document makes clear to all what we at IFES already believe:  democracy and governance work is key to successful development,” said IFES’ President and CEO Bill Sweeney.  “Whether you work on economic growth, food security, global health, or disGAdams_Portrait_5164aster assistance, working in a country with better governance and accountability to the people will help such efforts be more effective and efficient.”

In a blog post on, Stimson Center distinguished fellow Gordon Smith said, “I want to highlight just one element of this review, which, if it works, over time could save big bucks in the Defense Department.  The review had led to a decision to beef up State and USAID capabilities to handle conflict prevention and conflict resolution, making this a core mission of the Department.  The effort to create capabilities at State has been going on for about six years now, but this has never been a “core mission,” just a way of delivering civilian bodies to Iraq and Afghanistan to work on reconstruction in the framework of a US invasion and occupation.”

“The QDDR truly emphalogosizes the administration’s commitment to global development, providing hope that people around the world will receive the support, resources, and assistance they need,” said Raj Luhar, CEO of The Children’s Project International. “This is a major accomplishment for those who have pushed the administration and Congress on U.S. foreign aid reform. We are thrilled at the release of this review and look forward to bipartisan legislation to make these plans permanent.  It builds upon the efforts begun under the Bush Administration to recognize the critical role of our civilian agencies and guide our development and diplomacy programs to become more effective and efficient.”

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