IRC Welcomes Draft US Global Development Policy
The International Rescue Committee welcomes the conclusions contained in a preliminary version of a White House policy document entitled "A New Way Forward on Global Development." While the document is not yet final, much of it reflects the best current thinking on development policy and practice.
“The document articulates a thoughtful approach to development policy and priority areas for investment,” said IRC president George Rupp. “It elevates international development as part of a US national security strategy and seeks to improve the way the government coordinates development policy across federal departments and offices. And it wisely seeks a bipartisan approach to these issues and close relations with Congress.”
The IRC particularly welcomes the acknowledgement of the importance of partners, including nongovernmental organizations like the IRC. The IRC also endorses the paper's admonition that America should not just distribute lifesaving humanitarian aid where needed, but should also invest in ways to help these societies meet basic human needs over the long term. The IRC incorporates this approach in all of our emergency and post-crisis development work.
The draft policy document takes a business-like approach to aid programs, arguing that the US must be more selective about where and how aid programs are run. While it is true that aid programs must be carefully designed to do the most good and avoid waste, IRC cautions the Administration against narrowing its focus to the point where the US disengages from countries and regions in need. Even in countries plagued by misrule, corruption or conflict, the IRC has found ways to help deserving people at the local level. Further, we have seen how US leadership can generate political will and resources from other countries that can have a tremendously positive effect.
"Some will read this paper and try to discern who is winning turf wars in Washington," said IRC vice president for government relations Anne C. Richard. "It is more important to focus on how a White House development policy will help people around the world. It will do that by improving the coherence of US aid programs."
Overall the new policy is a vital step in the right direction. “The Administration is moving to reassert US leadership in combating global poverty by formulating a national policy for global development, strengthening USAID, and making foreign assistance more effective and accountable,” said Rupp. “We look forward to working with the Administration to ensure the success of the new policy.”