Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Overview of the US Development Strategy

Gertee Traveler goes traveling

inside fireplace made from metal scraps and foil

An email from Old Dog sent me to this article just posted at newswithviews: U N SEEKS CONTROL OF PLANETS DRINKING WATER by Jim Kouri, This article refers to the latest "rights" resolution adopted by the U.N.; it's recognized we all have the right to clean drinking water and sanitation.

General Assembly Adopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Water, Sanitation as Human Right, by Recorded Vote of 122 in Favour, None against, 41 Abstentions

I haven't followed much of what happened at the big UN Summit last week so I poked around a few UN sites and their U.S. affiliate sites for updates.

President Obama’s speech fulfills the commitment he made at the United Nations a year ago to “support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year’s summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.” The policy outlined by the President has four pillars which will serve as the lynchpins for the Obama Administration’s improved, intensified and coherent approach to foreign assistance.

The President’s announcement of a new US Global Development Policy has four principles that will guide US foreign assistance in not only in addressing US commitments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but also bringing coherency and leadership into managing the breadth and depth of the US foreign assistance apparatus. The four pillars of the new US Global Development Policy are:

  1. The US recognizes that aid alone is not development. Available tools must be harnessed – including diplomacy, trade and investment policies – to help countries move from poverty to prosperity; (Some Americans think that "innovative finance mechanisms" means Global Taxes:
  2. The US will strive to offer people a way out of poverty by working with governments to improve societies in the long term;
  3. In order to bring countries out of poverty, the US will emphasize broad-based economic growth; and,
  4. The US will insist on mutual accountability for themselves as well as partners, better matching investments with the priorities of partner countries

The President’s speech is a call-to-action. It recognizes the power of partnerships with not only multilaterals such as the United Nations, but also recognizes the powerful catalytic role that the private sector, foundations and civil society does and can play in “realizing the future that none of us can achieve alone.”

President Obama calls upon his fellow leaders to lead and succeed noting that “no country wants to be dependent on another. No proud leader in this room wants to ask for aid.” He outlined broad governance ideals to help leaders unleash the power of the entrepreneurs, to engage women in the economic prosperity of their respective countries by opening schools and providing opportunities for them to attain economic well being and health.

It is clear this is not a “We lead, you follow.” policy. It is a clear departure from the past policies, a unambiguous articulation of doing business in a better and smarter way. Although we await the details to fill out the brief outline in his speech, the tidbits in the speech offer a sign that the US will no longer continue to do business as usual in its foreign assistance portfolio.

Here's a recent speech by Frederick Tipson (Director UNDP Washington) talking about the global Stand Up and root for sustainable development campaign:

Let us root for the team at the Peace Corps just three blocks to the west, and the team of the Foreign Service and the Civil Service over at the Department of State.

Let us root for the new team at the Agency for International Development (USAID) down the hill in the Reagan Building, and the Millennium Campaign Corp. (MCC) just two blocks to the East.
For the congressional staffers on Capitol Hill, and for the many think tankers, scholars, university students, church groups, and non-governmental organizations, and for the consultants, contractors, and corporations, who work within a few miles of this square to make a difference to those living in poverty and the conditions that keep them there.

And, yes, I would ask also that you root for the teams of the United Nations, such as mine, the UN Development Programme, and for the teams at UNICEF, at the World Food Programme, the UN Population Fund, and many others. And for those at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund -- all within a short walk from here.
This sure is the decade of action and innovation:

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