Development Works Number 4, August 2012 | Page 2

Since 2008, when sudden steep increases in the cost of basic foods resulted in tens of millions of newly hungry people, the G-8 has focused on enabling developing countries to build food security. In May 2012, just before the United States hosted the most recent G-8 summit, President Obama gave the first speech on global hunger ever given by an American president while in office. He announced a new partnership to speed efforts to end hunger and improve child nutrition, particularly in the 1,000-day “window of opportunity” between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. The president also reaffirmed the commitments made by the G-8 at the 2009 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, to strengthen agriculture and food security. The United States initiated the L’Aquila plan, and our country is on track to fulfill its financial commitment, largely through the relatively new Feed the Future initiative. Increasingly, countries with “emerging” economies— such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa—are starting their own development assistance programs, augmenting the resources provided by traditional donors such as the United States. Many of these new donors are middle-income countries (meaning those with incomes ranging from about $1,000 to $12,000 per person per year). Often, they are “graduates” of development assistance themselves. Some still receive assistance with specific projects but are experienced donors in other areas. Many emerging donors have the advantage of being able to share their own recent experiences with efforts to build a stronger economy and enable more people to benefit from it. New donors are also important because aid budgets from traditional donors are constrained. Until fairly recently, developing countries were commonly referred to as aid “recipients” and too often relegated to the passive role that this term suggests. They rarely had much influence when decisions were made about priorities for foreign assistance programs or strategies for carrying them out. But this model of development assistance is changing rapidly. International Development: Who Are Our Partners? David Snyder Some international partnerships are “bilateral,” or between the United States and one other country. Others are group or “multilateral” efforts. These can range from supporting and participating in large organizations such as UNICEF or the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to working in teams with fewer partners and a narrower focus—perhaps preventing and curing dengue fever, or developing better ways to capture and purify rainwater. Two important partnerships are the G-8 and G-20, shorthand for the “group of 8” and “group of 20” countries. The G-8 countries are mainly traditional development donors, such as the U.K., France, and Canada, while the G-20 brings together many of the world’s largest economies. Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, and the European Union are all G-20 members. Both groups were created in the recognition that many issues require collective action: no single country has enough power or influence to solve the problem. Creating More Effective Partnerships A woman weeds crops by hand. Coordination among development partners is particularly important in agriculture programs, including this one that focuses on equipping farmers in Malawi to increase food supplies by planting crops year-round. The “donor-led” model of development ha s important disadvantages. Development programs may be less effective, .06 percent About 85 percent: amount of Kenya’s public spending paid for by Kenyan taxpayers. Percentage of U.S. budget spent on development assistance. 2