U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah testified before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the FY 2012 budget request for USAID.
Foreign Aid Reform
USAID Administrator Shah and MCC CEO Yohannes testify before Congress on the FY 2012 Budget Requests
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Daniel Yohannes testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the FY 2012 budget requests and future directions in foreign assistance.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released a factsheet outlining USAID FORWARD, a reform initiative aimed at changing the way the agency conducts business. The factsheet highlights seven key areas including: implementation and procurement reform; talent management; rebuilding policy capacity; strengthening monitoring and evaluation; rebuilding budget management; science and technology; and innovation.
In response to President Obama’s speech at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit and the announcement of a new U.S. Global Development Policy, Representative Berman released a statement expressing his commitment to foreign aid reform and willingness to work with the Administration to turn the principles of the new development policy â€œinto legislation that will maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of United States foreign assistance.”
The report provides an overview of ongoing efforts in both Congress and the Administration to reform U.S. foreign assistance programs. Items reviewed in the report include:
- S. 1524, the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009;
- H.R. 2139, Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009;
- H.R. 2387, Strategy and Effectiveness of Foreign Policy and Assistance Act of 2009;
- The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR); and
- The Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy (PSD).
During remarks at the Society for International Development, Senator Richard Lugar reiterated Secretary Clintonâ€™s statement that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should â€œbe seen as the premier development agency in the worldâ€ and provided several suggestions on how U.S. development efforts could be improved, including:
- Independent Agency: â€œDevelopment must be an independent partner of diplomacyâ€ due to the inherent differences in mission and timeframe.
- Policy & Budgeting: USAID must be included in relevant policy and budget decisions and â€œmust have the capacity to evaluate programs and disseminate information about best practices and methods.â€
- Development Objectives: U.S. development efforts should be â€œguided by objectives rather than by how we organize our government to deliver development assistance.â€
- Leading Agency: A â€œwhole-of-governmentâ€ approach to development has benefits, but someone needs to lead, be accountable, and coordinate these efforts and â€œan integrated strategy can only come from an agency that understands development is a separate discipline.â€
Congressional Budget Office – Cost Estimate of S. 1524: Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “estimates that implementing S. 1524 would cost $198 million over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized and estimated amounts.”
The report summarizes the recommendations of 14 studies written between 2001 and 2008 on foreign aid reform.
The proposed bill authorizes appropriation levels for the Department of State for FY2010 and FY2011 and directs the Secretary of State to make specific reforms in U.S. foreign relation policy. Among other things, the proposed bill incorporates aspects of other recently introduced bills to protect girls by preventing child marriage.
GAO Report – Foreign Aid Reform: Comprehensive Strategy, Interagency Coordination, and Operational Improvements Would Bolster Current Efforts
At the request of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and Representative Howard Berman (D-CA, 28th), the General Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an analysis of an effort initiated in January 2006 by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “to better align foreign assistance programs with U.S. foreign policy.” Recommendations made by the GAO to improve this alignment process include developing a government wide foreign assistance strategy, improving interdepartmental communications, and establishing a long-term workforce management plan.