Tag Archives: USAID

US Global Development Policy Plan: a strategic, economic as well as moral imperative

Obama made a speech to the Millennium Development Goals Summit last week that has been grabbing lots of attention.    During the speech he announced plans that have been described as “ambitious, even radical”.  Read the write up on Politics Daily website “Obama’s Radical Foreign Policy Plan: The Goal is Development, Not Aid” (thanks for the link Victoria)

For the video visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2010/09/22/president-obama-millennium-development-goals-conference

A couple of quotes of particular interest are below.  For those who prefer to read the transcript of the speech visit http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2010/September/20100922172556su0.2969934.html#ixzz10oQunWEH

“Remembering the lessons of the Green Revolution, we’re expanding scientific collaboration with other countries and investing in game-changing science and technology to help spark historic leaps in development…

…Instead of simply handing out food, our food security initiative is helping countries like Guatemala and Rwanda and Bangladesh develop their agriculture and improve crop yields and help farmers get their products to market.”

The Food Security Initiative referred to is detailed on the White House press office website.  They say that on the 22nd September 2010:

“…the President signed a Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the first of its kind by a U.S. administration.”

Included on the site are 3 policy docs on 1) Climate Change  2) Global Food Security and  3) Global Health Initiative.  The text for the Global Food Security can be access here http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/Food_Security_Fact_Sheet.pdf

From this document:

“ The President’s global food security initiative manifests the policy in a number of ways:  … it engages traditional and non-traditional donors and the private sector to build needed multilateral capacities. The United States partnered with G-20 countries, developing nations, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations to establish the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and mobilized public and private resources to scale up agricultural assistance to low-income countries. .

… it increases investment in and support for innovation by emphasizing research and development, and by improving the extension and dissemination of research and technology development to the hands of small scale farmers through new models of public and private extension; and

…FTF focuses on creating a foundation for sustainable economic growth by helping countries accelerate inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade, and increased economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities.”

It seems that in his speech Obama is using language about development aid in way that will resonate with the US voter.  Let’s hope that the U.S, and the rest of the International community can put in the extra mile(s) to reach the MDG targets.

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

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Agriculture expert picked to lead USAID

Keith Jones sent me this link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111017483.html  (you have to sign up to access the archives, but it is free and quick). Rajiv Shah, who worked for the Gates Foundation and then served as under-secretary for agriculture, has been nominated to head USAID. This article observes that: 

“Shah’s nomination, which must be approved by the Senate, comes as the White House and the State Department are studying how to redesign a U.S. aid system widely viewed as uncoordinated and wasteful. In addition, Congress is considering overhauling the 1960s-era legislation governing assistance.”

…and provides a link to a speech that Secretary of State Clinton delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative. 

Shah helped to write this speech and you can read it by visiting this link:

Here is an excerpt from Clinton’s speech that may provide some insight into the future evolution of USAID: 

“After years of effort and billions of dollars, we have not achieved the lasting results we desire.  But we have learned some very valuable lessons.  We know that the most effective strategies emanate from those closest to the problems, not governments or institutions hundreds or thousands of miles away….And we know that development works best when it is based not in aid, but in investment.”

The White House press release announcing the nomination is at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-announces-usaid-administrator And politico covered the story.  In this excerpt from the politico blog story, reference is made to greater collaboration:

 “Shah seemed to anticipate working closely with Clinton and USAID when he gave an interview to his hometown Seattle paper in May upon taking the USDA job. “There are times in history when presidents have succeeded in bringing together very powerful people,” Shah told the Seattle Post Intelligencer, noting that he was reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.  “He anticipates the Ag Department, the State Department, and Agency for International Development ‘will work together as a team’ on food issues inside and outside America’s borders,” the paper added.”
 Aid as investment is a pathway that USAID has in fact been pursuing through its Global Development Alliance (GDA) initiative.  GDAs take a market-based approach to partnerships between the public and private sectors to address jointly defined objectives. The ICRISAT led West Africa Seed Alliance is receiving funding from USAID through a GDA.  In 2001-2009 USAID launched 900 alliances with 1,700+ partners, and reports that they have leveraged their overall investments by 2.7:1 as a result of Alliance member contributions. 

The nomination of a scientist who is also an agriculture expert and an innovator is good news for the CGIAR.  And the Change Management process has underscored the need for the “new” CG to leverage Center resources by forming partnerships to pursue shared goals. 

A new focus by USAID on investment and by the CG on partnerships suggests that if CG centers can be creative, there will be plentiful opportunities to build PPPs with USAID support and funding as Global  Development Alliances. 

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP                

 

Empowered USAID – Clinton address to the U.S. Agency for International Development Employees

http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2009/sp090123.html

It was her second day as Secretary of State, when Hilary Clinton went to USAID to deliver a speech – that must be a good sign?!  Follow the lead link for both the video and text of the speech.

A new commons – the Global Development Commons

http://www.globaldevelopmentcommons.net/
I spotted this today – a new “commons” initiative set up by USAID aiming to bring together ideas, people, information and innovation for development.  For more details click here for the USAID site.
Although I couldn’t find out when this initiative started – but I believe its rather new.  There is a section on agriculture and I will follow the RSS to see if anything relevant to our community pops up.  What is it exactly?  It seems to essentially be a knowledge sharing tool – the following description is a quote from the Q&A page.

“Q. What does the Global Development Commons do?
A. Shares development information among those who need it most
Builds communities around advanced tools for the dissemination and interpretation of information
Innovates through competitions designed to bring the best new technology into development work
Partners with other development actors, including companies, donors, governments, and non-governmental organizations, to heighten access to the best quality development knowledge
Invites new actors to engage in trade, development decision-making, and the pursuit of economic growth.”