Shared Goals: Measuring Overall Development Progress in Pakistan

January 14, 2011

The United States has one overriding goal in Pakistan. It is a more capable and prosperous, lessfractious state, able to fulfill three basic functions: ensure internal security, meet the basic needs of itscitizens, and maintain its own legitimacy. As clearly set out in the Obama administration’s strategicplanning documents, Pakistan’s political, economic, and security challenges undermine not only itsown security, but also the security of other countries in the region and of the United States. In the end,it only is when Pakistan is on a durable path toward transformation that American policymakers canput to rest their nightmare scenario of extremists and terrorists controlling that beleaguered country’snuclear arsenal.

A new focus on measuring development results would have far-reaching benefits for U.S. developmentstrategy, for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and for the strength of Pakistan’s democratic institutions.In this essay, Nancy Birdsall and Wren Elhai suggest five possible indicators that illustrate the type ofmeasurable targets that could help the United State and Pakistan meet shared goals for effective andtransparent development.


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