WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The budget plan President Barack Obama rolled out Wednesday reflects a sustained commitment overall to poverty-focused development assistance that leading NGO alliance InterAction welcomed.
"We agree with the president that development and humanitarian assistance helps to reduce poverty and ultimately creates a more sustainable, better world. Even in a time of belt-tightening, the U.S. must maintain its moral leadership in helping the world's most poor and vulnerable. Foreign aid makes a real difference in people's lives, and is an excellent investment, at less than 1 percent of our total federal budget," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.
The president's budget offers support for critical areas including food security and child survival programs. It also continues America's contributions to life-saving work on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and allocates funds to tackle climate change. However, InterAction has concerns that the proposed base funding for humanitarian assistance may not be adequate to meet global needs, especially as the world faces ongoing crises in places like Syria and Mali.
"For generations, we have helped to raise people out of poverty and create a more peaceful, just and prosperous world. We must continue to do so, not only for the obvious moral reasons, but also for our own national interests and to help grow our economy at home," Worthington said.
Poverty-focused development and humanitarian accounts have already faced significant cuts, with the base foreign aid budget being cut by 19 percent in the last three years. As Congress begins to negotiate a fiscal year 2014 budget, InterAction and 143 other organizations are urging lawmakers to support strong funding for international programs that help the world's poor improve their lives. Here are the coalition's specific budget recommendations.
InterAction and other leading NGOs also welcome the opportunity to work with the Administration and Congress as the president's proposal to reform food assistance programs is considered.
"We look forward to working together to make sure any reforms protect the core focus and effective elements of existing food assistance programs, increase the number of people helped and improve the flexibility of programs. These reforms must be made in an open, transparent and inclusive manner," Worthington said.
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life.