You are on page 1of 2

PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE May 3, 2013 WASHINGTON UPDATE Congress was out of session this week, so we have no new

updates from the Hill. However, we would like to briefly highlight InterAction InterAction’s annual Forum, which brought together almost 1,000 attendees from over 350 organizations to discuss international development and humanitarian assistance. This three-day day event featured plenary sessions and dozens of workshops with highhigh level officials from NGOs, corpor corporations, the U.S. government and multilateral organizations. organizations During the final plenary, , moderated by Cokie Roberts of NPR, , Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) (D and Carol Lancaster, Dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service Service, , connected today’s political and fiscal realities to the increasingly difficult task our community faces in advocating for the world’s poor. In this tough economic climate, Connoll Connolly recommended that our community remind policymakers and citizens of the economic benefits of foreign aid, for both recipients and donors. donors Last week Connolly introduced a foreign aid reform bill bill, the Global Partnerships Act, which would overhaul the outdated, Cold War War-era Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. “I think it’s very important that we regroup and redefine what development assistance means for the United States, and reestablish our parameters as a leader in partnership wit with other countries,” Connolly told Forum attendees. As the bill moves forward in this political climate of tight budgets and hostility toward aid, Lancaster brought up how political coalitions supported aid during the Cold War. To effectively advocate in today’s environment, Lancaster said said, “There needs to be an interest as well as an ethical drive in the support for foreign assistance.” Connolly said that NGOs needed to exercise "political shrewdness" with their advocacy. “The more we can educate ourselv ourselves es about the political process – that’s the process, that’s the arena,” he said. Connolly was also the recipient of InterAction’s Congressional Leadership Award. This award honors a member of Congress who has made significant contributions as a leader and advocates for U.S. foreign aid, humanitarian assistance and other international poverty-focused focused areas in which InterAction’s members work. During Connolly’s three terms in the House, he has served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as co co-chair of several congressional ongressional caucuses related to international relations. Prior to coming to Congress, he worked on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Committee, served as executive director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees, as the associate executi executive ve director of the American Freedom from Hunger Foundation and, at the beginning of his career career, was as a development associate at Heifer Project International. More highlights from the Forum can be found HERE, including “Five Minutes at the Forum” video conversations with several plenary speakers and attendees attendees.

1

UPCOMING HEARINGS Hearing: Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Committee: House Committee on Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Witnesses:  Stephen Lande, Manchester Trade  Peter Hansen, Law Offices of Peter C. Hansen, LLC  Sharon Freeman, All American Small Business Exporters Association When: Tuesday, May 7, 2:00 p.m. Where: 2172 House Rayburn Office Building Contact: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/ ARTICLES AND REPORTS This week’s articles highlight some news coverage from InterAction’s Forum. Guardian April 30: Humanitarian workers unprepared for decades of conflict, warns UNHCR On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres warned that the world will see unparalleled humanitarian challenges over next several decades. “We are seeing how difficult it is to mobilize resources to address the dramatic impact of the Syrian crisis. We will be called to do more and more with less.” Reuters April 29: Syria access essential for credible chemical weapons inquiry: U.N. The UN continues to seek unconditional access in Syria to gather information about alleged chemical weapons attacks by the government. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres says that the UN is not prepared to provide necessary humanitarian aid in the face of a “massive use of chemical weapons.”
Disclaimer: Articles linked in the Update are intended to provide a dashboard view of newsworthy and topical issues from popular news outlets that will be of interest to readers of the Update. The articles are an information sharing vehicle rather than an advocacy tool. They are in no way representative of the views of InterAction or the U.S. NGO community as a whole.

2