InterAction Letter to Secretary Rex Tillerson and Administrator Mark Green

InterAction sent the below letter to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and USAID Administrator, Mark Green, concerning the reform process for USAID and Department of State.

Dear Secretary Tillerson and Administrator Green,

We write to you today on behalf of the American development and humanitarian organizations that have been your steady partners and remain staunch public advocates for positive reform within the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). InterAction is the largest alliance of international NGOs and partners in the U.S., including some 190 development and humanitarian organizations working in nearly every country on the planet. We represent American citizens’ instinct to make a positive difference in the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. Our members manage resources that come from the American public, many through their religious institutions, the corporate sector, and foundations, all of which are leveraged by U.S. leadership in dollars and engagement. Thus, we see U.S. foreign assistance as the critical ingredient of any global effort that advances prosperity, freedom, and peace. We believe that the United States’ foreign assistance supports positive, life-changing programs for people all over the world, and is an essential component of U.S. global leadership.

As a community, we all work to make our programs as effective, efficient, and sustainable as possible. As you proceed with the recently launched redesign effort, we want to ensure that you have full information on the effects of changes you may be considering on the human dignity, livelihoods, and the civil society voice of the people we work to serve. We respect and appreciate that leadership at State and USAID have already taken steps to build opportunities for public discussion with the NGO community about the redesign. However, we want to highlight that for us to have a meaningful exchange of information – for our community to share relevant information with your staff about the very tangible impact of potential reforms – we need to learn more about the range of actions being considered. USAID’s engagement through the American Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) has been useful in shaping input, but the speed of the first stage of this redesign process leaves little time for transparency and dialogue. This makes it difficult for American development and humanitarian organizations to provide the necessary insight on the impact of possible changes.

During your confirmation processes, each of you affirmed that strong bipartisan Congressional support for foreign assistance programs is key, and recognized that over the last 15 years Congress had led positive efforts to improve U.S. assistance with powerful results. State and USAID similarly have deep relationships with American non-profits that work abroad and represent the charitable face of all Americans. InterAction, on behalf of this community, stands ready to engage with you and your staff to ensure that those reforms you are considering improve this country’s ability to deliver positive, life-changing, and life-saving outcomes around the world. To this end we ask you to share more information about the nature of the changes you are considering as you finalize your agencies’ recommendations, and to follow up by publicly releasing those recommendations after they are delivered. InterAction remains at your disposal to facilitate the convening of focused conversations with civil society leadership.

We thank you for your commitment to this country and to improving its foreign assistance programs. We believe that by continuing our important work together we can better address the root causes of poverty, and prevent and respond to humanitarian crises in order to create a safer and more secure world. To that end, we look forward to our future partnership.

Sincerely,

Samuel A. Worthington, Chief Executive Officer

Lindsay Coates, President