Pakistan Study Group

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In early 2010, the Center for Global Development convened the Study Group on a US Development Strategy in Pakistan. Chaired by CGD president Nancy Birdsall, the study group comprises experts in aid effectiveness, development economics, national security and includes several prominent Pakistani thought leaders. (List of members below.) The objective of the study group is to offer practical and timely recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of foreign assistance and, more broadly, other non-aid instruments for achieving sustainable development in Pakistan. The group has drawn on the work of recent task forces and commissions that have examined US relations with Pakistan. Such efforts have taken into account security, military, and regional issues but have often paid little attention to aid or other economic instruments. The CGD study group’s work complements these efforts by focusing specifically on development policy in Pakistan and by drawing lessons from the vexing challenges that donors have faced in Pakistan over the past several decades.

The study group has met several times since February 2010 to discuss specific questions about development in Pakistan, including: (i) the administration’s assistance strategy, (ii) challenges of effective deployment of assistance in Pakistan’s FATA region, (iii) Pakistan’s energy and water crises, (iv) aid to the education sector, and (v) a US response to the summer’s floods.

In June 2011, the study group released its report, Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan. In this report, the study group urged a substantial revamp of the US approach to Pakistan, saying that US efforts to build prosperity in the nuclear-armed nation with a fledgling democratic government, burgeoning youth population, and shadowy intelligence services are not yet on course.

Drawing on the recommendations and ideas from the study group discussions, Nancy Birdsall has authored a series of open letters to the Obama Administration on how the United States can strengthen its development approach vis-à-vis Pakistan. The letters have provided the basis of our ongoing dialogue and consultations with US officials in the State Department, USAID, White House, and Congress as well as individuals inside and outside of government in Pakistan.

Study Group Members

Nancy Birdsall Study Group Chair, President, Center for Global Development
Milan Vaishnav Project Director, Center for Global Development
Daniel Cutherell Policy Analyst, Center for Global Development

Masood Ahmed Director, Middle East and Central Asia, International Monetary Fund
Wendy Chamberlin President, Middle East Institute
Patrick Cronin Senior Advisor, Center for a New American Security
Shamila Chaudhary Senior South Asia Fellow, New America Foundation
Kimberly Ann Elliott Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Dennis de Tray Principal, Results for Development
Alan Gelb Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Ricardo Hausmann Director, Center for International Development, Harvard University
Ishrat Husain Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration (Karachi)
Asim Khwaja Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Clay Lowery Vice President, Rock Creek Global Advisors
Robert Mosbacher Former President and CEO, OPIC
Deepa Narayan Global Development Network
Shuja Nawaz Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council
Paula Newberg Director, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University
Paul O’Brien Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, Oxfam America
Andrew Wilder Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
Michael Woolcock Senior Social Scientist, World Bank
Moeed Yusuf South Asia Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace