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FY 2021

Choose to Invest

In Development & Humanitarian Action

Executive Summary


Foreign aid saves lives.

Global poverty is at an all-time low, hunger has been cut in half, and safe water is increasingly available. Additionally, fragile nations continue to make progress on social development, economic growth, and good governance—key building blocks to improving lives.

For less than 1% of the overall federal budget, American foreign aid helps communities around the world as they work to end extreme poverty, support the advancement of human rights, promote resilient democratic societies, and spur inclusive economic growth. It represents the highest ideals of who we are as a nation: generous, principled, and free. And, it builds economies, supports peace, and advances American values.

However, the work is not done.

In 2020, nearly 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection—that is about 1 in 45 people globally. Additionally, 5.6 million children still die each year of preventable and treatable diseases, and the number of hungry people is rising for the first time in a decade.

For the 10th year in a row, InterAction, an alliance of U.S. based internationally-focused nongovernmental organizations, has prepared Choose to Invest to help educate and inform the annual budget debate.

Choose to Invest provides Congress, the Administration, and other interested stakeholders with funding recommendations and justifications for 48 programs covering development, democracy building, health, and humanitarian action.

Our recommendations mainly focus on programs funded by the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Bill; we also include recommendations on safeguarding international food security funded by the Agriculture Appropriations Bill and international labor and health protections funded by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

The funding recommendations made here do not represent the actual amount required to address the hardships around the world. They attempt to strike a balance between global need and the political and fiscal realities governing the United States budget. Billions more dollars are necessary to provide refuge to displaced people, safeguard human rights, educate children, and diagnose and treat disease.

Thank you for your support and for ensuring that the United States continues to be a global leader.

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