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In Trump's US Aid Shake-up, Advocates See a Window for Long-Sought Reforms (Devex)
July 28, 2017
From the article:
Others see an opportunity to caution the new administration against some of the sweeping changes it has reportedly entertained. Given widespread disagreement with the idea of merging USAID and the State Department, pursuing that plan would mean entering a costly fight the administration might not win. In lieu of that the White House might consider some smaller changes that could actually help achieve its stated goal of optimizing U.S. development programs, according to experts from the Center for Global Development.
“We wanted to make the point that there is a real agenda for constructive reform that doesn’t have to involve folding anyone into anyone else,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a CGD senior fellow who directed foreign disaster assistance during the Obama administration.
“There’s been so much focus in the media and so much speculation and fear in the development community about a State-AID merger or other things in that vein. Our council here is, walk before you run on some of that,” Konyndyk said.
CGD’s proposal calls for organizing U.S. development around four core priorities: Fragile states, inclusive growth, global health, and humanitarian assistance. The authors also propose a set of 14 “immediately actionable reforms,” including building flexibility into USAID’s procurement system so it can respond faster in unstable environments and making the agency’s hiring mechanisms more “rational.”
“There might be big talk around huge reforms, [but] those require really big lift and previous attempts have not been successful,” said Cindy Huang, a CGD senior fellow who served at the Millennium Challenge Corp. and State Department.
“The piece that I think is targeted for this time is, what are the practical steps that we can take — not all easy, but relatively modest compared to other proposals that have been put out recently — that will ‘grease the skids’ or really have a chance at building momentum?” Huang added.