Analysis of the Presidential Study Directive

Publish What You Fund has put together an analysis of the leaked draft of the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development (PSD-7), "A New Way Forward on Global Development". Please find below.

Strengths:

  • Creating a U.S. Global Development Strategy, establishing a Development Policy Committee and developing regional development strategies. These should all help the coordination of information between different branches of the U.S government while ensuring coherence in development policy across U.S. agencies.

  • Strengthening development capabilities and the role of USAID, specifically calling for accountability for humanitarian and development assistance budget.

  • Division of labor among key donors, focusing on specific regions and concentrating expertise in fewer sectors.

  • Partnership with Congress in moving legislation forward with greater flexibility and a reduction of earmarks with much higher standards of accountability.

Weaknesses:

  • Overall- The document fails to address aid transparency and accountability at the donor level. It identifies the importance of accountability in recipient countries but progress is limited and immeasurable unless there is full disclosure of information at the donor level. As Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew himself has noted: “We owe it to them (recipients) to be able to do the co-ordination and to have the capacity ourselves to go to them with a coherent program where the different pieces fit together.” (April 27, 2010, Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Global Hunger Food Security Initiative)

  • Page 4- “There are a number of countries to which the U.S. has provided substantial assistance over years or decades, but which have made little development progress.” This progress can only happen when there is significant increase in the availability and accessibility of comprehensive, timely and comparable aid information from donors.

  • Page 5- “Forge a deliberate division of labor among key donors – will seek an explicit division of labor by concentrating our efforts on selected countries and regions and concentrating our expertise in a smaller number of sectors.” Co-ordination amongst donors is essential to achieve better results. This is best achieved by providing data in a comparable format. Comparability is essential to make the best use of taxpayers’ resources, however, in order to plan and deliver those resources to maximum effect the U.S. needs to be able to compare its efforts with other donor nations and the recipient countries’ own spending.

  • Page 6- “Establish mechanisms for ensuring coherence in U.S. development policy across the U.S. government – a U.S. Global Development strategy to be undertaken every 4 years, inter-agency Development Policy Committee (DPC). State and USAID will work to ensure the coherence of development co-operation, across U.S. agencies active in country under Chief of Mission authority.” While this is a very important step, the implementation of aid transparency principles and engagement in the International Aid Transparency Initiative will deliver on the U.S. Government’s own desire for greater transparency and better information management. It will also assist global aid transparency efforts and make real progress towards greater aid effectiveness and improved governance in recipient countries.

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