MFAN Identifies Benchmarks for US Development Policy Implementation

Implementation will be the litmus test for development reforms outlined in the U.S. Department of State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and U.S. President Barack Obama’s new development policy, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network says.

As Devex reported, the State Department has promised to release its final report on the QDDR this week, most likely Dec. 15, after several months of delay. MFAN notes that the review’s release is expected to jump-start a series of sweeping reforms in the U.S. foreign aid system.

>> Josh Rogin: QDDR Release Due This Week

MFAN identifies five baseline questions it says could be used to measure the effective implementation of the reforms recommended by the QDDR and outlined in Obama’s development policy. MFAN argues that development-related reforms should meet the following conditions if they are to be considered successful:

“Advancing long-term U.S. national interests by reducing poverty and creating broad-based economic growth.”The development policy reforms should ensure that programs are led by experts, improve coordination between trade capacity building and trade preference programs and implement a more coordinated and consistent approach to gender integration.

“Making our assistance more selective, focused, and catalytic, while building upon established aid effectiveness principles.”

The Obama administration should work with Congress to increase the impact of the reforms by enacting them as laws and to develop better metrics for determining how aid will be delivered. The administration should also work toward improving accountability within the U.S. government and in aid recipient countries.

“Streamlining and coordinating development policy within the USG and with other donors.

There should be better burden-sharing with development partners as well as clear guidance on how specialization and division of labor among development partners can be pursued within the U.S. government and with other multilateral and bilateral donors. There should also be clear leadership of development and humanitarian relief efforts in Washington, D.C. and in the field. MFAN adds that the U.S. Agency for International Development should be empowered by allowing its administrator to regularly participate in National Security meetings and giving the agency oversight over the implementation of key U.S. development initiatives, among other measures.

“Being more responsive to local priorities in developing countries.”The U.S. should consult with stakeholders in recipient governments as well as support the local procurement of goods and services. The administration also needs to work with Congress to reduce directives and earmarks in the aid flow.

“Establishing a system for getting crises right.”The administration needs to commit to putting civilians in charge of U.S. assistance policy and operations in times of crises. It should also work with Congress to design a strategy that will rebalance capacities between military and civilian actors during crises.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.