Aiding USAID

October 23, 2009 By Jordan Smith

In an important interview with Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent, the State Department’s head of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter answers a burning question:

Only one policy option has been ruled out: dissolving USAID and moving development work to the State Department. “There will be no merger,” Slaughter said. “Secretary Clinton has made clear she wants a strong AID, a well-resourced AID, [and] wants diplomacy and development well-integrated.”

Slaughter’s announcement will calms the fears of activists and development experts who worry that USAID will be swallowed up by the larger and historically crucial State Department. Indeed, at the recent USGLC-hosted event with Ms. Slaughter, Deputy Secretary of State Lew and USAID Acting Director Alonso Fulgham, several audience members voiced their concerns about losing the country’s aid organization.

Ackerman also got Ms. Slaughter to expand upon the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), hoping to put to rest any ideas that it will be just another well-meaning but ultimately ineffectual document on how to improve foreign aid.

“This is not an abstract planning exercise that goes into a report and sits on a shelf,” she said. “It’s a planning exercise that does connect to the budget, that’s very important, but the implications go far beyond the budget. The budget is the tool to implement what we’re going to come up with. This is really what I think secretaries of state should be doing, which is a kind of farsighted look into how the United States is going to implement its foreign policy agenda in the 21st century.”

Read the full interview here.