What PEPFAR May Mean for the Future of U.S. Development Assistance

EDITOR’S NOTE: Casey Dunning of the Center for Global Development reflects on the unintended consequences of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as posited by Princeton Lyman and Stephen Wittels. She says the effect is even more alarming given that funding for the global AIDS fight is one of the very few budget items that won a nod for an increase from House appropriators.

CGD colleague Mead Over recently posted a blog on the implications of PEPFAR for U.S. foreign assistance.  Citing a recent article by Princeton Lyman and Stephen Wittels on the unintended consequences of PEPFAR assistance, Over notes:

Lyman and Wittels go on to say that “The Obama administration will need to recognize the paradox that in the absence of increases in other forms of aid, more humanitarian assistance will mean less leverage.” [Emphasis added.]  And they point out that this fact casts doubt on “[t]he notion that development and diplomacy will always reinforce each other, one of the principles of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plan to make them `twin pillars’ of U.S. foreign policy. … For one thing, [they say,] development efforts typically last much longer than the more immediate demands of diplomacy, a disconnect that is particularly acute in the case of PEPFAR.”  This is pretty compelling stuff – with far-reaching implications for U.S. foreign assistance policy.

This unintentional effect of PEPFAR funding on development assistance writ-large is even more worrying considering that HIV/AIDS funding was one of the (very) few sectors that actually received funding above the president’s request in the House FY2011 foreign affairs spending bill mark-up.  Despite a $4 billion cut overall, House appropriators allotted $5.875 billion for HIV/AIDS – $25 million above the president’s FY2011 request and $166 million above the FY2010 enacted amount.

Re-published with permission by the Center for Global Development. Visit the original article.

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