US Congress funds aid transparency and global food security: This week in development news

By Devex Editor 07 July 2016

The U.S. Congress passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act and the Global Food Security Act of 2016 — both landmark bills for U.S. foreign aid. Photo by: US Capitol

The U.S. Congress passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act and the Global Food Security Act of 2016 — both landmark bills for U.S. foreign aid. Meanwhile, world leaders head to the NATO Summit, the Group of 7 supports universal health coverage, and a gender data competition announces a winner in Côte d’Ivoire. This week in development news.

The U.S. Congress unanimously passed the long-sought Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. About five years in the making, the legislation will require U.S. government agencies to closely monitor and evaluate all foreign aid programs based on their outcomes and improve transparency by publicly sharing the data about what’s working and what’s not, in large part through the foreignassistance.gov portal. This week Devex looked at the final version, what it took to get here and what it will mean.

The Global Food Security Act of 2016, which will guarantee two-year funding of U.S. foreign assistance for food security investments, also got a greenlight from Congress. The funding is mostly for Feed the Future, the Obama administration program that invests in woman-owned farms, small farms and agricultural education programs in Africa, Asia and Central America. The act will focus on empowering women through increased agricultural output, improve existing monitoring and evaluation and create country-specific resources.

This weekend, Poland will host the 2016 NATO summit, President Obama’s last before he leaves office. The summit comes amid concerns over the Brexit vote, Russian aggression in the Ukraine, the ongoing refugee crisis and an announcement that the U.S. will keep 3,000 more troops in Afghanistan than originally planned, bringing the total to 8,400. At the meeting, President Obama and outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss Brexit, and leaders are expected to discuss how to maintain European cohesion to combat the Islamic State and other threats.

Those hoping to advance universal health coverage will soon have a chance to voice their thoughts on a new multi-stakeholder partnership. The upcoming online consultation period — with a launch date yet to be announced — follows a multi-stakeholder consultative meeting in Geneva in late June, which aimed to define the roles, mandate and strategic direction of  future universal health coverage collaboration. The Group of 7 countries, in its meeting in May in Ise-Shima, Japan, declared its support behind the partnership’s establishment, initially referred to as UHC 2030.

It’s tech time in Côte d’Ivoire. The TechMousso — "mousso" means "woman" in Bambara — initiative challenged tech teams to partner with civil society to create locally developed solutions for gender data issues. Eighty teams registered, but only 20 made it to the final round. Judges are expected to announce the winner today in Abidjan. And next week, Devex will launch #DataDriven, a four-week campaign to examine where the development data revolution is headed.

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