During a State Department Town Hall meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed efforts by the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Assistance (USAID) to implement the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) since its release in December of 2010.
Foreign Aid Reform
Representative Ted Poe (R-TX, 2nd) introduced the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 3159), which would establish guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance programs. The bill would also require the Administration to establish and maintain a website providing detailed information on U.S. foreign assistance programs.
Access Representative Poe’s press release about the bill here.
Representative Howard Berman (D-CA, 28th; Ranking Member House Committee on Foreign Affairs) released a discussion draft of the Global Partnerships Act of 2011, a bill aimed at “replac[ing] the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which serves as the foundation for U.S. international aid programs” including those addressing global health. The proposed bill highlights health as a goal of foreign assistance and “lists 4 specific objectives in pursuit of that goal: reducing maternal and child mortality; preventing, treating, and controlling HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, polio and other infectious and chronic diseases; preventing unintended pregnancies and improving reproductive health; and strengthening health systems.” Among other things, the proposed bill would also require the development of multiple development-related strategies (both country and sector specific) and would restructure the multiple accounts that provide funding for U.S. development programs.
USAID Administrator Shah and MCC CEO Yohannes testify before Congress on the International Development Budget
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Daniel Yohannes testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the FY 2012 budget requests and international development policy priorities.
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.
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€