Alphabet Soup Drama

A draft copy of the PSD-7, titled “A New Way Forward on Global Development,” and authored by the NSC and NEC was recently leaked by Foreign Policy blogger Josh Rogin.

The State department’s QDDR is expected to dovetail presently. The extent of USAID’s authority is at stake in this showdown between the NSC and Foggy Bottom due to the PSD-7 recommendation pertaining to the creation of an interagency global development committee. The PSD-7 draft is divided into three sections.

The first, “A Deliberate Development Policy,” advocates for broad-based growth, democratic governance, innovations, sustainability, holding long-time aid recipients accountable and customizing post-conflict development policy vis-à-vis unique country contexts—anodyne stuff for those of us who are up-to-date on what’s trendy in development policy.

The second, “A New Business Model,” advocates for selectivity in sector selection, underscoring country responsibility, division of labor among donors, leveraging the private sector, philanthropy, NGO and diaspora communities, strengthen multilateral institutions and impact evaluation.

The offending passage appears in the third section, “A Modern Architecture,” which aims to address the concerns voiced by Raymond Offenheiser. It advocates for the 3D policy (no one’s surprised), coordination between USAID and the State Department, reestablishing the US as a global leader in development and establishing mechanisms that would streamline global development.

The creation of the Development Policy Committee (DPC) would be one such mechanism, which, as an interagency body, would transfer the responsibility—or right—to organize US development policy out of the State Department. Also, it calls for a global development policy review every four years, independent from the QDDR.

In the last section, the report calls for a new partnership with Congress. The proposal for an independent development agency that spans the entire government is one that is also supported by John Kerry and Richard Lugar, who head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Furthermore, the PSD-7 draft would upgrade the role of USAID, which would control its own budget, maintain its own policy planning staff and have significant say in setting US global development strategies and mandates; Rajiv Shah would even “be included in NSC meetings where appropriate.”

Laura Freschi at Aid Watch—that glorious repository of international development snark—maintained the blog’s skeptical, pessimism-tinged attitude by musing whether the PSD-7 or the QDDR would actually have any positive impact on developing countries on the “receiving end of America’s imperfect largesse.” On the other hand, Professor Philip Auerswald, who, in fact, advised Gayle Smith of the NSC on various development issues, praises the PSD-7 for its noble undertaking, one he advises that every nation undertake.

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