Modernising US foreign assistance

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network has a new website. This is a coalition of American thinkers who are campaigning for change in the way that US foreign assistance is provided. They are asking for the following changes:

Core Principles for Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance:

  • Elevate global development as a national interest priority in actions as well as in rhetoric;
  • Align foreign assistance policies, operations, budgets and statutory authorities;
  • Rebuild and rationalize organizational structures;
  • Commit sufficient and flexible resources with accountability for results; and,
  • Partner with others to produce results.

Priority Actions for Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance:

  • Develop a national strategy for global development;
  • Reach a “grand bargain” between the Executive branch and Congress on management authorities and plan, design and enact a new Foreign Assistance Act;
  • Streamline the organizational structure and improve organizational capacity by creating a Cabinet-level Department for Global Development, by rebuilding human resource capacity and by strengthening monitoring and evaluation; and,
  • Increase funding for and accountability of foreign assistance.

The US is the world’s largest donor, in absolute terms (though not as a share of US income) and it would be a huge step forward if these changes were made by the incoming US administration following the election.

Barack Obama and John McCain have both given commitments to reform of foreign assistance.  There is a risk, however, that this will not be given the priority it deserves following an election, so it is very valuable to have a bipartisan campaign of this kind.

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