MFAN Partner Takes a Closer Look at the QDDR

Just before the holidays, MFAN Partner InterAction posted an in-depth analysis of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) on the organization’s QDDR webpage. The reaction focuses specifically on chapter five of the review, “Working Smarter: Reforming Our Personnel, Procurement, and Planning Capabilities to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century.” The policy staff argue that the reforms listed in this chapter—namely reworking the planning, budgeting, and management between State and USAID—impact all the other recommendations in the QDDR and could be considered the first step toward an overhaul of these programs. The major reforms listed in this chapter include:

  • Personnel reform
  • A revamp of the procurement system, which entails:
    • Increasing oversight and accountability measures
    • Enhancing competition between implementing partners
    • Broadening the partner base
    • Building local capacity
  • An increase in the use of country systems
  • Further integration of planning and budgeting between the two agencies

    See below for excerpts from the analysis, and click here to read the full piece:

    “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.”

    “In the long-term, reliable and accountable local systems should create the conditions for which development assistance is no longer needed.  However, as currently outlined, the training appears to focus on increasing the access that small organizations and local civil society currently have  to official U.S. resources. There must be an accompanying effort to assess and build the capacity of these organizations to achieve development goals.”

    “With new mechanisms such as joint mission planning, pooled funding, and the potential creation of a unified Defense Department, State, and USAID national security budget, the QDDR plans to build on the existing system as well as increase efficiency and resource allocation. Of particular note is a graphic in chapter five (pictured below), which outlines the new strategic planning methodology.  InterAction notes that graphic omits the recent Presidential Policy Directive, which established the U.S. Global Development strategy.”

    QDDR p194

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