Briefing Papers Number 4, July 2008

Number 4, July 2008 briefing paper Reforming Foreign Aid by Charles Uphaus The Changing Management of U.S. Official Development Assistance 100% Other 80% Agriculture Treasury 60% Defense 40% State 20% USAID 0% 1998 2002 2005 Source: OECD (2006), DAC Peer Review of the United States. Reprinted from InterAction, The United States and the MDGs. 2007. Key Points • Responding to the global hunger crisis, and preventing it from happening again, requires establishing long-term development goals, especially increasing agricultural productivity in poor countries. • The capacity of the United States to plan and deliver effective foreign aid has diminished as U.S. security concerns around the world have overshadowed development priorities. • The United States needs to elevate development as one of our national priorities and give it resources equal to the task. • Effective U.S. development assistance would target resources toward enabling poor people around the world to provide for themselves and live free of debilitating malnutrition, illiteracy, and epidemic diseases. • A cabinet-level department for global development should be part of a reauthorized foreign aid program, ensuring a development voice is heard at the highest level of foreign policy considerations. Charles Uphaus is a policy analyst for Bread for the World Institute. Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates its advocacy network, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad. Abstract Sustainable progress against hunger and poverty should be a top priority of U.S. foreign assistance. Elevating development and fixing foreign aid are the most important things the United States can do to respond to the global hunger crisis. Effective aid includes clear objectives, host-country “ownership,” accountability and flexibility, longterm commitments, integrated approaches, and adequate and reliable resources. In working toward a more effective development assistance program, nothing less than a comprehensive reauthorization of the Foreign Assistance Act is required, and this should include a cabinet-level department for global development. The United States must provide leadership commensurate with its resources and values. Reforming foreign assistance would strengthen the U.S. reputation around the world, and beyond that, it would be part of a more sophisticated and realistic approach to national security.