2012 Winner: US Senator Richard Lugar

Richard LugarSenator Richard Lugar, long-time champion of US engagement with global development issues, is the 2012 winner of the Commitment to Development "Ideas in Action" Award, sponsored jointly by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and The FP Group, the publishers of Foreign Policy.

The award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization for making a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies of the rich and powerful toward the developing world. Members of the selection committee will present the award during a public event on January 29. 2013.

“For four decades Senator Lugar has deployed his remarkable statesmanship to overcome partisan divides and enact smart US policies that support widely shared global prosperity,” said CGD president Nancy Birdsall.

“Senator Lugar used the bully pulpit of his office to push for a more honest look at what works and what doesn’t in development. And he had the guts to lead on issues like Pakistan, even when these were not popular, pushing for US policies that strengthen long-run American security by investing in people and institutions in the developing world,” she added.

Susan Glasser, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy and a member of the selection committee said: “We are recognizing Senator Lugar for his unfailing dedication to international development, a dedication not only to improving U.S. foreign assistance programs but ultimately to the lives of people these programs serve.”

Senator Lugar’s career is marked by a long-view and consideration of challenges that loom beyond most policy horizons.

As the Republican leader of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Lugar has been instrumental in pushing for a more effective US development strategy and for US foreign assistance programs that promote capacity, accountability, and transparency. During his chairmanship, the Committee passed legislation including the Global AIDS Assistance Program and the creation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

“Senator Lugar sets the bar for American policymakers dedicated to improving US foreign assistance and global development,” said selection committee co-chair Moisés Naím, an internationally syndicated columnist and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Senator Lugar was instrumental in the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, often called the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill for the three co-authors, which authorized up to $1.5 billion a year for five years for non-military development assistance to Pakistan.

The bill promoted investments in jobs, growth, and democracy building in one of the most critical fronts in the US effort to combat violent extremism. While dealings between the US and Pakistan has been punctuated by controversy, the bill helped to introduce greater balance to a strategic relationship that has long been dominated by short-to-medium term security concerns.

The senator has also brought enthusiasm for innovative new solutions to the legislation he proposed and supported. The Vaccines for the Futures Act – introduced by Senator Lugar in 2007 – looked beyond usual mechanisms to speed the development of vaccines for global killers like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and endorsed new market-based approaches like Advanced Market Commitments (AMCs), which encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines for diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia that primarily affect poor countries. This approach, first proposed at the Center for Global Development, has helped to make new pneumococcal vaccines available in 19 countries and is predicted to cover 40 countries by 2015—averting as many as 650,000 deaths within the next four years.

A strong supporter of transparency and good governance, Senator Lugar coauthored Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, often called the Cardin-Lugar Transparency Provision, which requires all US-listed oil and mining companies to publicly disclose the payments they make to governments of countries in which they operate. This provision became law in 2010; in the same year, CGD acknowledged the work of Publish What You Pay in championing the provision by awarding the organization with the CDA.

More recently, through his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Lugar helped create the foundation for a strong US development strategy, introducing legislation that promotes accountability and transparency in US foreign assistance programs and places a high premium on data, measurement, and results.

He has also championed US efforts against global hunger, sponsoring legislation that would re-orient US foreign assistance programs to focus on promoting food security and rural development in countries with large, chronically hungry populations. He also dedicated time and energy to understanding how the international financial institutions (IFIs) could reform to better meet the needs and evolving standards of the post-financial crisis world, and underlined the vital need for strong US leadership at the institutions.

Sarah Jane Staats, director of CGD’s Rethinking Foreign Assistance Initiative said: “Senator Lugar has these core mid-western values of honesty, integrity and hard work and he used them not just for narrow American self-interest in Congress, but to advance a greater global good.”

Senator Richard “Dick” Lugar is the senior senator from Indiana and currently the most senior Republican in the Senate, having served for six terms. Prior to serving in the senate, Senator Lugar served in the US Navy, on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, and as mayor of Indianapolis. He was defeated in the GOP primary this year and will step down from the US Senate in January 2013.

Birdsall and Naím co-chair the award's distinguished selection panel which includes: Glasser, Eveline Herfkens, founder of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign and former Dutch minister of development cooperation; Duncan Green, head of research for Oxfam Great Britain; and Isabel Munilla, recipient of the 2011 Commitment to Development Award on behalf of Publish What You Pay.