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White House Strategy Elevates Development

Last year the White House launched a sweeping review of its development strategies and policies. A draft copy of this review, titled “A New Way Forward on Global Development,” was published online yesterday. While the document isn’t final, the changes it recommends could ultimately make U.S. foreign assistance more effective—a major goal not only of Bread’s 2009 Offering of Letters, but also of its three-year focus to reform U.S. foreign aid.

For all the Bread members and advocates who called their members of Congress, wrote letters, and visited them on Capitol Hill to push for improvements in the way the United States delivers foreign assistance, this review is a giant step forward. The review’s strategy elevates development as a pillar of foreign policy; in other words, development is on equal terms with defense and diplomacy.

“Our investments in development—and the policies we pursue that support development,” reads the document, “can facilitate the stabilization of countries emerging from conflict, address the poverty that is a common denominator in the myriad challenges we face, foster increased global growth, and reinforce the universal values we aim to advance.”

Some of the document’s recommendations include creating a national strategy for global development that’s reviewed every four years; helping recipient countries assume ownership, responsibility, and accountability on development; and bolstering the way we measure and account for U.S. foreign assistance investments—and demanding more of both from implementers and recipients.

Hopefully, the policies outlined in “A New Way Forward on Global Development” will translate into updated legislation—specifically, a rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which would modernize and better coordinate our foreign assistance efforts.

 

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