Changes Ahead for U.S. Development Policy (And Some Changes Here Too)

September 21, 2010

Change in U.S. development policy has been a long time coming, but we expect to learn more details this week when President Obama speaks at the UN Millennium Development Goal Summit and the UN General Assembly. Change for CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative similarly started back in January but embarks on a new chapter today too.The administration has been working on its two major development policy reviews for more than a year, and the President’s speech at the MDG Summit on Wednesday will reportedly reflect the recommendations of the National Security Council review.  Here’s what I’ll be listening for:

  • Will a new approach set clear objectives for U.S. development policy – goals that are meaningful and attainable?
  • Will the new development policy represent an appropriate role for U.S. global leadership?  How will the U.S. engage with other donors and developing countries to achieve the MDGs?
  • How will the new policy be implemented in a way that improves both the effectiveness and efficiencies of U.S. programs?
  • How will the policy rationalize who (U.S. government agencies and international donors) does what, where, and why?
  • Will the new policy provide for increased accountability and transparency in U.S. aid programs?
  • How will recent initiatives – Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative – fit into a new development policy?
I’ll be tracking how all of this unfolds from my new perch with CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative. Sarah Jane Staats deserves many kudos for keeping this blog front-and-center in the debate over the future and effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid programs.  Her spot-on observations have been augmented by many other experts here, including Nancy Birdsall, Todd Moss, Casey Dunning, and Molly Kinder. You will continue to hear from all of these voices on the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance blog. It is with some trepidation that I take over a program stood up by Sheila Herrling who left CGD for the Millennium Challenge Corporation earlier this year.  Thanks to Sheila for building a shiny sports car. I'm hoping to steer it through the twists and turns ahead in the aid reform debate.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.