InterAction urges Obama to pursue bold agenda

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

InterAction this week congratulated President Barack Obama on his second term and urged him to mark it with a bold vision for ending global poverty.

The president's most immediate challenges are negotiating a FY2013 budget and stopping sequestration cuts that would gut both domestic and foreign programs in January, InterAction said in a press statement. Protecting development and relief assistance funding from disproportionate cuts is key, the organization said, noting that the funding make up less than 1 percent of the budget and help millions escape poverty and rebuild after crises.

“While development and relief assistance was not on the ballot, Americans care about those less fortunate around the world,” said Sam A. Worthington, President & CEO of InterAction.

InterAction also encouraged the Obama administration to strengthen signature programs such as Feed the Future, which supports smallholder farmers. USAID should continue its reform agenda and build its relationships with civil society organizations as well, InterAction's senior director of public policy said in a piece for Devex.

"We will be watching USAID’s progress on aid reform closely," Lotwis wrote, "and expect the administration to stick with its ambitious reform agenda following the Fourth High Level Forum on Development Effectiveness in Busan last year – particularly efforts to increase aid effectiveness, transparency and local capacity. We support the principles underlying these efforts, and we believe that our community has a great deal to offer in terms of experience, local knowledge and relationships with NGOs overseas."

In the immediate future, Obama also must act rapidly to fill leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State, Lotwis said. And in the longterm, "We hope President Obama’s legacy will be one of lifting millions out of poverty and allowing them to reach their full potential," Worthington said.