Vol. 25, No. 7
1400 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Monday Developments is published 12
times a year by InterAction, the largest
alliance o\ue003 U.S.-based international
development and humanitarian
more than 160 members operating in
every developing country, we work
to overcome poverty, exclusion and
su\ue002ering by advancing social justice and
basic dignity \ue003or all.
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InterAction Testi\ue001es at Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee Hearing on Foreign Assistance Re\ue003orm
Foreign Assistance Re\ue003orm: Advice to Incoming
Director o\ue003 U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID
Administrator Henrietta H. Fore
In January 2007, the InterAction community applauded the Bush administration\u2019s addition o\ue001 the words \u201creduce widespread poverty\u201d to the top-line goal o\ue001 its \ue001oreign assistance re\ue001orm program. We welcomed e\ue001\ue001orts to the increase in coherence o\ue001 U.S. \ue001oreign assistance, to build systems \ue001or accountability, and to track how U.S. \ue001oreign assistance dollars are spent. We were also con\ue001ronted with a rapid re\ue001orm process \ue001raught with misdirected e\ue001\ue001orts; and many within our community expressed serious reservations about its direction and intent.
It was within this context, that InterAction engaged in a broad, CEO-level dialogue to help shape our understanding o\ue001 the current U.S. \ue001oreign assistance re\ue001orms and how they \ue000t with our community\u2019s goals and the needs o\ue001 the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world. Our deliberations advanced NGO thinking about the ever-evolving \ue001oreign assistance environment. The range o\ue001 views within the InterAction community is quite broad, with some refected in this edition o\ue001 Monday Developments. I would like to share with you some key points o\ue001 our conversation.
InterAction members have a long history o\ue001 partnering with the U.S. government\u2019s \ue001oreign assistance e\ue001\ue001orts while also raising some $5 billion annually in additional private \ue001unding \ue001rom the American public to support our programs. As good stewards o\ue001 American generosity, we are committed to ensuring that U.S. \ue001oreign assistance accurately refects the lessons we have learned over decades o\ue001 implementing e\ue001\ue001ective programs in the \ue000eld. The \ue001ollowing principles should shape the \ue001oundation o\ue001 any e\ue001\ue001ective U.S. \ue001oreign assistance structure and make up the core language o\ue001 any new \ue001oreign assistance reauthorization:
countries and multilateral institutions like the UN must as much as possible be in harmony and rein\ue001orce each other. For example, U.S. goals should support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
As we address immediate diplomatic and security challenges, our country continues to make investments that mitigate the destabilizing e\ue001\ue001ects o\ue001 the poverty, ignorance and hopelessness that \ue001oster militant ideologies and confict.
Yet, \ue001oreign assistance is more than a tool to achieve our national security interests. It is also a critical instrument to \ue001urther our role as world citizens and to present an accurate picture to the world o\ue001 American generosity and support \ue001or the people-centered, democratic values we hold dear. Based on the principles outlined
above, InterAction has always argued that sustainable development and poverty alleviation are laudable goals in and o\ue001 themselves that embody the \ue000nest principles o\ue001 our nation. We strongly believe that an approach to \ue001oreign assistance that \ue001ocuses on enabling the world\u2019s poorer countries to attain sel\ue001-su\ue001\ue000ciency and on providing impartial humanitarian assistance accomplishes this, strengthens our nation\u2019s reputation and advances our best national interests around the world.
To achieve some degree o\ue001 complimentarity between the three pillars o\ue001 U.S. \ue001oreign policy \u2013 de\ue001ense, diplomacy and development \u2013 there must be both parity between them and respect \ue001or development\u2019s need to operate \ue001ree \ue001rom undue infuence by diplomatic or security objectives.
All o\ue001 us recognize that our e\ue001\ue001orts to improve the well-being o\ue001 people occurs in a complex world. The challenges posed by confict, elusive peace, injustice, power imbalances, \ue001ailing states, human rights abuses, poor governance, militant ideologies, and the consequences o\ue001 increasingly scarce resources exacerbated by global warming all require greater attention in a more coherent U.S. \ue001oreign assistance \ue001ramework.
Parts o\ue001 the current re\ue001orm process do move us towards a more coherent \ue001oreign assistance program. Indeed, the evolution o\ue001 trans\ue001ormational diplomacy, or any \ue001uture strategy \ue001or U.S. \ue001oreign assistance, must take advantage o\ue001 the momentum o\ue001 current re\ue001orms and take an additional step o\ue001 including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the President\u2019s Emergency Plan \ue001or AIDS Relie\ue001 (PEPFAR), and other elements o\ue001 \ue001oreign assistance in a coherent \ue001ramework. In this sense, the current re\ue001orms do not go \ue001ar enough, and must be more comprehensive.
Coherence across all civilian U.S. \ue001oreign assistance programs, and a \ue001ocus on improving the well being o\ue001 the poor with the space to shape e\ue001\ue001ective, long-term, and impartial programs that enhance local capacity and work to meet mutually agreed upon results: these are keys to the success o\ue001 any re\ue001orm. Simply put, \ue001or \ue001oreign assistance to be e\ue001\ue001ective, the development component o\ue001 trans\ue001ormational diplomacy must be more equal to \u2013 and certainly not subsumed under \u2013 de\ue001ense and diplomacy. Ultimately, this requires the establishment o\ue001 a Cabinet-level \ue001oreign assistance agency that operates and thrives alongside to the departments o\ue001 De\ue001ense and State.
As InterAction continues to work to create more e\ue001\ue001ective U.S. \ue001oreign assistance within the current \u201cF Re\ue001orm\u201d process, there is no \ue000xed InterAction position. Rather, we will continue to promote a bold agenda responsive to the inevitably changing environment in order to \ue001ocus U.S. development and humanitarian assistance on how to work with and improve the conditions o\ue001 the world\u2019s poor and most vulnerable. We will continue our e\ue001\ue001orts to advance e\ue001\ue001ective \ue001oreign assistance re\ue001orm, \ue001ocused on vulnerable and poor populations, that truly leverages U.S. NGO attempts to help create a better, more just and sa\ue001er world \ue001or all.
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