A New Framework

September 22, 2011 By Jane Kaminski

In the current economic climate, many advocates for foreign assistance have argued that international development is a cost-effective way to promote a more stable, peaceful world.  USAID’s recently released “USAID Policy Framework 2011-2015” lays out a comprehensive strategy for U.S. global development that improves governance, strengthens public health systems, and creates economic opportunities around the world.

The USAID Policy Framework commits itself to effective long-term development policy.   Following on last year’s Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the Policy Framework follows the QDDR four year cycle to lays out USAID’s objectives and operational principles.  It also incorporates the modernizing initiatives of USAID Forward, which aims to change how USAID approaches development with an increase emphasis on partnerships, innovation, and sustainable programs.

The reforms in the Policy Framework are responding to the changing world, like the rapidly changing global economy, demographic changes, and improving access to information.  They also are informed by events like the Arab Spring, which demonstrated both the increased impact and reverberations of shocks around the world and halting expansion of democratic governments.  Finally, the Policy Framework identifies the shifting “aidscape” as a key trend in development policy, referring to the evolving and expanding world of international development.  The US approach to development is adjusting to accommodate and take advantage of the emergence of partners like NGOs, businesses, and other governments.

USAID’s Development Objectives aim to tackle some of the most serious and preventable affliction the developing world faces today, and through proven, innovative methods that touch more people.  The seven objectives that the Framework emphasizes are:

1)      Increased Food Security

2)      Promote Global Heath and Strong Health Systems

3)      Reduce Climate Change Impacts and Promote Low Emissions Growth

4)      Promote Sustainable, Broad-based Economic Growth

5)      Expand and Sustain the Ranks of Stable, Prosperous, and Democratic States

6)      Provide Humanitarian Assistance and Support Disaster Mitigation

7)      Prevent and Respond to Crises, Conflict and Instability

The programs by USAID that address these objectives improve lives around the world, at small cost to the American public.  And by making this small investment of less than 1% of the federal budget, these programs improve US national security by stabilizing or preventing conflicts in weak countries, improving economies in emerging markets which in turn are export opportunities for US companies, and improving health care access, especially for women and children, which has been proven to strengthen communities around the world.