MFAN STATEMENT: Budget Cuts Increase Urgency of Foreign Assistance Reform

April 13, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram, and Jim Kolbe:

The significant cuts to U.S. foreign assistance announced as part of the FY11 budget agreement make it imperative that foreign assistance reform become a priority, so that we can get the most out of fewer resources for alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and forging sustainable economic growth in developing countries.

At a time of increasingly complex global challenges, when our efforts to bolster public health and empower poor entrepreneurs are just as important as our military actions or diplomatic ventures, we must drive these reforms to increase our foreign assistance leadership, effectiveness, and accountability.

We are not starting from square one. Building on the landmark changes made under President Bush, the Obama Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress have increased the momentum for foreign assistance reform. Two related bills in the last Congress garnered bipartisan support. Late last year, President Obama unveiled America’s first-ever development policy, which focuses on economic growth, efficiency, and selectivity. The State Department completed the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which laid out a path to better coordination in international affairs programs. And the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pushed an aggressive internal cost-savings and reform effort, USAID FORWARD, under Administrator Raj Shah.

The current budget and geopolitical environments demand that the Obama Administration and bipartisan Members of Congress build on these reforms and finish the job of making U.S. foreign assistance more effective and accountable for the future.

Please visit www.moderizeaid.net for more information on MFAN’s reform agenda.

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