USAID Report Highlights Important Progress in Foreign Assistance Reform

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bread for the World is encouraged by the USAID Forward progress report released today by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report outlines advances the agency has made toward streamlining development programs and organizational structure—part of a series of reforms initiated by President Obama during his first term.

"At a time when budgets are being cut left and right, it is uplifting to see lifesaving assistance to vulnerable people made more efficient and effective," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "In particular, we applaud USAID's emphasis on including the voices of local people, promoting public-private partnerships, and strengthening systems of transparency and accountability."

Although it makes up less than 1 percent of the federal budget, poverty-focused development assistance has helped reduce child deaths, increase school enrollment, and curtail the incidence of AIDS for millions of people around the world. In recent years, the United States has taken several steps to reform overarching foreign assistance policy—for example, implementing the September 2010 Presi­dential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) and undertaking the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which integrated planning for diplomacy and development missions. The new report highlights key tenets set forth in the PPD, including selectivity, country ownership, economic growth and innovation, partnership, and evaluation.

"Bread for the World and others in the international development community have worked for years to improve the efficacy of systems that support hungry and poor people in developing countries," Beckmann said. "These are reforms Bread for the World advocated for in our 2009 Offering of Letters campaign when thousands across the country wrote to members of Congress urging them to elevate development as a national priority alongside defense and diplomacy. We thank God for this development as we move closer to a world without hunger."

Comprehensive reform also received support from the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a coalition Beckmann co-chairs. MFAN is devoted to making foreign aid more effective, efficient, and transparent with the help of the White House, Congress, and the development community. Many of MFAN's main recommendations—including empowering USAID as a 21st century development agency—are reflected in the USAID Forward Initiative.

In a MFAN statement released today, Beckmann and co-chairs George Ingram and Jim Kolbe stated, "We strongly commend the United States Agency for International Development for releasing a comprehensive internal evaluation of progress on the USAID Forward reform agenda. The report highlights very positive and promising signs that USAID has begun to transform itself into a more effective, accountable institution. This progress could not have come at a better time, because budget pressures demand better results and the agency will bear greater responsibility at the leading edge of U.S. foreign policy as our military presence decreases in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East."

Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

SOURCE Bread for the World



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