Foreign Assistance Reform

As an alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that work on the ground in every developing country, InterAction has long advocated for greater coherence, coordination, elevation and effectiveness of U.S. international humanitarian and development programs. InterAction applauds the U.S. government’s aid reform initiatives, which include President Obama’s Policy Study Directive on Global Development (PPD); Secretary Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR); the U.S. Agency for International Development’s reform agenda USAID FORWARD, and congressional efforts to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

We also commend the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously approving the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATA) sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe in December 2012. This legislation (H.R. 2638/S. 1271) has been re-introduced this year by Reps. Poe and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). We support efforts such as the FATA bill to increase transparency and look forward to seeing such legislation enacted.

In March 2013, USAID released a progress report on USAID Forward. For an InterAction analysis, click here.

While considerable steps have been made toward reshaping the U.S. approach to foreign assistance, how these initiatives are implemented will determine their ulti­mate success. InterAction looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to ensure that reform efforts result in coherent, well-coordinated develop­ment assistance that prioritizes poverty reduction. Our foreign assistance reform advocacy is guided by our board-approved Principles for Effective Assistance:

  1. Poverty reduction must be a primary objective of U.S. foreign assistance because it promotes stability.
  2. Achieving the long-term objectives of global prosperity and freedom depends upon sustainable development as a long-term process, which should not be sidetracked for any short-term political agenda.
  3. Cohesion and coherence, in place of current fragmentation, are necessary to achieve the effective use of foreign assistance resources.
  4. Building local capacity promotes country ownership and leads to self-sufficiency.
  5. Harmonize priorities among U.S. government agencies, multilateral institutions and recipient governments to assure the best use of resources.
  6. Humanitarian assistance programs should continue to be a core part of foreign aid and be guided by the principle of impartiality to conform with international humanitarian law.
  7. U.S. foreign assistance programs should be under civilian control and run by development professionals in order to be appropriate for the public abroad.

    For further information on InterAction's foreign assistance reform efforts, please contact Mark Lotwis.