Tuesday, February 05, 2008

UNGO Briefing on U.S. Foreign Aid

Thursday, January 31, 2008
State Department
UNGO Briefing on U.S. Foreign Aid: Past, Present, and Future
Sponsored by: Women’s Foreign Policy Group

Nazanin Ash (The Secretary’s Policy Planning Department, responsible for foreign assistance and aid effectiveness issues).

Daniel Rosenblum (Deputy Coordinator in the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia EUR/ACE, and Senior Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia in the Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance F)

The U.S. Department of State is the leading foreign affairs agency and has the primary role in coordinating and implementing international affairs. Although the Department of State is the leading foreign affairs agency the success and implementation of its U.S. foreign is not without flaw. Nazanin Ash and Daniel Rosenblum discussed the past, present, and future of U.S. foreign aid and the complexities that go along with reorganizing the distribution of humanitarian and diplomatic aid.

Ash discussed the strategic intent of the U.S. Department of State in implementing the 2008 reorganization and what improvements have been made to the distribution and accountability of U.S. foreign aid. Three key issues have been implemented in order to insure a U.S. foreign aid policy that is more accountable to our government, NGO’s, U.S. citizens, and to those it’s helping. These issues include, but are not limited to: aligning foreign policy to that of other UN countries, increasing coordination and coherence within the process, and increasing performance and accountability on the domestic and international levels. Most of the issues plaguing the Department of State in previous years spawned from the lack of common systems and oversight on foreign aid projects.

Rosenblum remains very optimistic about the future of U.S. foreign aid as seen through the eyes of the Department of State and USAID. Previously, the Department of State had problems with the way assistance was carried out, especially when it came to short-term versus long-term goals. The reorganization has implemented a more streamlined process, especially in regards to how to approach budget requests to the President and Congress. In addition, the Department of State has provided the public with a much more simplistic way of how U.S. foreign aid is spent and has separated democratic and humanitarian aid for further clarity.

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