The U.S. government is just one of many actors combating global poverty and contributing to international development and humanitarian successes. Other key partners and actors, from other countries, to the United Nations (UN), to foundations, to private investments, to U.S.-based NGOs, administer international development and humanitarian assistance programs. U.S. government investments often act as a catalyst for additional investment and help to guide global priorities.
Local Country Governments
Country ownership is routinely highlighted as a key principle of good development practice. Country ownership is the full and effective participation of a country’s population through legislative bodies, civil society, private sector and local, regional and national government in conceptualizing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating development policies, programs and processes. This allows for better targeting of resources, strengthened accountability among the various stakeholders, and increased sustainability and success. By empowering and supporting governments and citizens to plan, finance, and implement solutions to solve its own development challenges, NGOs, partnering agencies, etc. help countries on the path to become self-reliant.
Local Civil Society
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are the third sector of society, alongside government and business. They comprise community groups, the press, NGOs, labor unions, indigenous groups, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and organizations that work in the interests of citizens. CSOs play a vital voice in enabling people to claim their rights, in promoting rights-based approaches, in shaping development policies and partnerships, and in overseeing their implementation, operating as a valuable check for government and business through partnership and engagement.
International and Multilateral Organizations
The roots of modern multilateral organizations go back to the creation of the UN in 1945, after World War II. Additionally, the immediate postwar years witnessed the creation of a system of multilateral financial institutions to rebuild the global economic order devastated by the Great Depression and World War II. These institutions include the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, and what became the World Trade Organization. The Cold War years brought about the formation of multiple regional development banks – the African, Asian, and Inter-American Development Banks – to provide specialized lending and technical assistance. Today, multilateral organizations have evolved to work on every continent and in every sector.
The United Nations System
The United Nations is a primary actor in nearly all development and humanitarian spaces and mobilizes the UN member states and the broader international community to collectively combat global poverty and conflict and promote human rights.The UN system is made up of the UN itself and dozens of affiliated programs, funds, and specialized agencies, all with their own membership, leadership, and budget. The UN works across the globe to maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, promote sustainable development, and uphold international law.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The IMF comprises 189 countries and works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system.
The World Bank fights poverty through grants, loans, and technical assistance provided to low- and middle-income countries. Governed by 189 member countries, the Bank is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
The Global Fund is an international public-private partnership designed to accelerate efforts to end the AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics. The Global Fund works with national governments, civil society, the private sector, and those affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria to fund targeted efforts to end the epidemics. Since 2002, the Global Fund partnership has saved 27 million lives and has maintained strong U.S. bipartisan support for its efficient and collaborative work with the U.S. bilateral programs, its ability to leverage domestic resources and donor investments in global health, protect U.S. health security, and spur economic growth.
The U.S. is not the only country that invests in international development programs. In fact, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) report, in 2017, the 30 countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) contributed a total of $146.6 billion in official development assistance to poorer countries. The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and France give the largest dollar amounts. In comparison, Sweden, Luxemberg, Norway, and Denmark’s contributions represented the largest percentage of their gross national income.
China is another key development player. China has long contributed to international development through foreign assistance mechanisms primarily intended for commercial access and market expansion. As a result, almost half of China’s aid was spent on infrastructure sectors including energy generation and supply, transportation, storage and communication. In 2018, China announced the creation of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), which will centralize and eventually expand China’s international development efforts.
The Private Sector
In recent years, engagement with the international private sector has emerged as a key complement to other sources of development assistance to help accelerate economic growth and achieve greater impact and scale. Recognizing that developing economies represent many of the fastest growing markets, customer bases and workforces, a growing number of private sector actors — including U.S. and global corporations, local businesses based in developing countries, financial institutions, impact investors and entrepreneurs — are proactively seeking
opportunities to drive growth and profitability while delivering impact in the communities and countries where they operate.
Each private sector actor engages in development differently, some are involved in advancing the development agenda through their bottom line and others via corporate social responsibility. The U.S. has infrastructure abroad to support and promote U.S. private sector engagement in development. This infrastructure will be further enhanced by the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation that was authorized in 2018.55
Private foundations also play a vital role in international development programs as key funders for program implementation and international advocacy. Private foundations play an increasingly prominent role in the scale of their giving and in their ability to set the agenda for international development. Examples of some of the largest U.S. private foundations working to support developments include: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and United Nations Foundation.
U.S. Based International NGOs
U.S. based international NGOs play a critical role in implementation of development and humanitarian programs, shaping of international development policy, and serving as a connector for the American people. InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working to eliminate extreme poverty, strengthen human rights and citizen participation, safeguard a sustainable planet, promote peace, and ensure dignity for all people. InterAction serves as a convener and NGO community thought leader, working to mobilize our 200-plus members to collectively advocate for policies and solutions that advance the lives of people in the poorest and most marginalized conditions. Our members mobilize an estimated $15 billion of private funding from American citizens and implement development and humanitarian programs in nearly every country around the globe.
InterAction member NGOs are supported by $15 billion of private contributions
Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist congregation and faith communities
Access to Learning and Information
- InterAction’s field mission reports, white papers, and other publications provide timely updates on current issues.
- Our annual InterAction Forum, CEO Retreat, and over 800 meetings each year bring together members, outside experts, government officials, and other stakeholders on numerous issues.
- Adhering to InterAction’s standards gives member agencies widely recognized legitimacy in the vital areas of governance, financial management, and program performance.
- We amplify the voice of the sector and complement member efforts with traditional and social media strategies, press referrals, and online tactics.
- The members-only InterAction NGO Aid Map provides an at-a-glance mapping of who is doing what, where, around the globe.
Ability to Influence Government
- We open doors and access to top-level government officials and disseminate timely information on legislative, policy, and budgetary issues that impact the community.
- InterAction works to address bold issues including international humanitarian law; prevention of sexual abuse; and gender-based violence, risk, and disinformation.
- Our NGO Futures Initiative convenes leaders to adapt to the rapidly changing political, environmental, technological, and economic sector shifts.
Engaging in Global Processes
- InterAction represents NGO perspectives through our active engagement in the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
- InterAction has taken the lead on NGO engagement through our role on the Grand Bargain facilitation team for more effective information sharing and collective positioning.
Our members work around the world, united by the commitment to working with the world’s poor and vulnerable and a belief that we can make the world a more peaceful, just, and prosperous place – together.
Our members’ activities mobilize an estimated $15 billion of private funding thanks to generous contributions from the American people. InterAction membership represents the diversity of the American people. Our members include all types of organizations, big and small, faith-based/founded and secular, multisectoral and sector-specific, each with diverse perspectives and approaches to tackling international and humanitarian development challenges. But all members embody a philosophy that reflects InterAction’s values of partnership, humanitarianism, sustainable development, justice, diversity, ethical practice, and gender equality, and are required to follow a rigorous set of operational standards that are designed to ensure that programs are effective and efficient.
How InterAction Engages with U.S. Congress and the Administration
InterAction advocates for the policy priorities of its members, primarily with the Legislative and Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, but also with partners, think tanks, and the private sector. We work to coordinate the policy positions of InterAction members, as well as the community’s outreach efforts, to maximize the effectiveness of NGOs in influencing the U.S. government’s policy decisions and budget priorities. InterAction’s advocacy focuses on funding poverty-focused development programs and humanitarian relief, while also engaging on issues such as foreign assistance reform; democracy, rights, and governance; global health; food security and nutrition; water and sanitation; and humanitarian access.