How U.S. Development & Diplomacy Fared in Biden’s First 100 Days

Friday, April 30th marks the Biden Administration’s first 100 days in office. While the Administration’s next 100 days are likely to be as critical as the first, here’s a look back at how America’s development and diplomacy tools have been deployed to address many of the complex global challenges affecting the world’s most vulnerable and with impacts to America’s security, prosperity, and safety.

1. Supporting America’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Almost immediately after taking office, President Biden quickly rejoined the World Health Organization COVAX, the multilateral mechanism for ensuring a global vaccine distribution.  And with Congress’ approval, an additional $11 billion in emergency COVID-19 response funding was committed to emergency global health and humanitarian needs.  And on April 26th, President Biden announced the United States would share over 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to countries around the world, with suggestions of additional actions to come soon.

2. Addressing global impacts of climate change and climate-related crises

As one of his first presidential acts, President Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on January 20th. He mobilized countries around the world to increase their commitments to fight climate change at the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22nd-23rd and announced the United States will double its climate financing efforts through the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and triple its assistance to help developing countries adapt to impacts of climate change. USAID also announced that it would invest $250 million to leverage $3.5 billion in private finance in support of climate resilience.

3. Mitigating destabilizing humanitarian crises around the world

President Biden announced a new special envoy for Yemen to support the UN-led peace process and help resolve the humanitarian crisis driven by conflict. As the Syrian conflict reaches a grim 10-year milestone, USAID announced $596 million in additional humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria. He also directed Vice President Harris to lead diplomatic efforts in Central American countries to address root causes of irregular immigration to the United States, meeting virtually with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on April 26th and announcing $310 million in new assistance for humanitarian needs and to address food insecurity in Central America on April 27th.

4. Aligning development and diplomacy as key national strategic priorities

President Biden officially added the position of USAID Administrator to the National Security Council and released interim National Security Guidance recognizing diplomacy and development as “leading instruments of American foreign policy.” President Biden also selected the State Department as the site of his first Cabinet agency visit, saying the United States must “earn back our leadership position” in order to “make big things happen” for American families and the world and created a new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position at the State Department and named Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley to the role on April 12th.

5. Strengthening resources for America’s development and diplomatic efforts:

Immediately after entering office, President Biden withdrew the 2020 rescissions request that targeted multiple government departments, including billions in global health and humanitarian funding. He also proposed a $6.8 billion increase to the International Affairs Budget (IAB) in the Administration’s first budget request, recognizing growing global needs, from new strains of COVID-19 and future pandemic threats, to addressing increasing conflict, humanitarian crises, and continued economic competition from countries like China.