US foreign assistance budget crisis 'not over'

Photo by: 401K / CC BY-SA

Foreign aid will be judged “most harshly” this year, John Norris and Connie Veillette said in a guest post for the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.

True, the 2012 foreign aid budget escaped deep cuts from Congress. But Norris and Veillette, who, together, formed a working group on aid priorities amid declining resources, said it would be a mistake to think the budget crisis for U.S. foreign assistance programs and institutions has passed.

With the country’s current fiscal health, the two said steep cuts in foreign aid are “almost inescapable,” especially if the administration will not become more agressive in putting money where success in development can immediately be seen.

The two argue that U.S. foreign aid should be more focused and selective, not thinly spread across too many countries where value for money is often left in question. At present, 88 countries share $12 billion of U.S. foreign aid.

Norris and Veillette said the 2013 budget should understand that Congress will be scrutinizing everything about foreign aid — from aid partners and goals to effectiveness of programs. Anything that does not pass the critical examination could “drag the best of these programs down.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.