Foreign aid reform was missing in U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations Sept. 8 that focused on restoring U.S. global leadership, according to the reform coalition Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.
The Obama administration “has yet to move forward with broad reforms of our foreign aid system, which needs to be updated to take on the challenges of the 21st century,” MFAN said in a statement. “In the Secretary’s 70-minute address, she covered many topics yet was able to devote just 5 minutes to development―illustrating how other responsibilities of the State Department often crowd out attention to development.”
The coalition also raised its concern over integrating aid and national security programs.
“[A]id programs will not be successful unless they are unequivocally focused on development. When the same dollars are supposed to provide help to poor people and, at the same time, serve other U.S. interests, poor people often get the short end of the stick,” according to MFAN.
MFAN also recommended that the U.S. Agency for International Development spearhead development efforts.
“Development assistance should be coordinated with the State Department, but development programs (helping poor farmers increase their food production, for example) require resolute focus—which USAID can provide better than State,” the coalition said.