Obama's global development directive now out in the open

By Lorenzo Piccio04 March 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama listens intently during a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House. The Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development was released to the public on March 3. Photo by: Pete Souza / The White House

More than three years after first being issued by the White House, the Obama administration’s principal directive on global development policy has been released into the public domain.

The Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development or PPD-6 was posted Monday on the Center for Effective Government’s website.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed the directive — the first of its kind by an administration — back on Sept. 22, 2010. Citing executive privilege, however, the White House only issued a fact sheet on PPD-6 but did not release the directive itself.

After first refusing the Center for Effective Government’s Freedom Of Information Act request for the PPD-6, administration officials eventually relented following a December 2013 court order. Their reluctance to make PPD public had begun to prompt questions in Washington over the Obama administration’s commitment to transparency.

Now that the PPD on Global Development is in the public domain, how does it stack up with the fact sheet released by the White House?

The two documents are broadly consistent, and it seems as if the fact sheet was indeed directly based on the PPD-6. As in the fact sheet, the directive underscores key themes which have become central to U.S. foreign assistance under Obama. These include:

  • Broad-based economic growth.
  • Innovation.
  • Country ownership.
  • Private sector engagement.

The PPD-6 on Global Development also affirmed Obama’s pledge to rebuild USAID as the lead development agency — one of the most buzzed about commitments which had been known to come out of the directive.

Even as the actual text of the directive remained under wraps, leading voices in the U.S. foreign aid community have previously praised the PPD-6 as a statement of the administration’s commitment to elevating global development in the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Others have also credited the PPD-6 with catalyzing the administration’s ambitious foreign aid reform agenda.

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About the author

Piccio
Lorenzo PiccioFollow@lorenzopiccio

Lorenzo is a contributing analyst for Devex. Previously Devex's senior analyst for development finance in Manila, he is currently an MA candidate in international economics and international development at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Lorenzo holds a bachelor's degree in government and social studies from Wesleyan University.


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