The Consensus for Development Reform (CDR) believes that an effective development strategy is an essential part of an effective foreign policy, and that reforming our foreign assistance will yield better results for those we help and more faithfully serve our national interests. The following four reform principles are a practical basis for policy-makers and advocates.
Promote Opportunity and Growth: Private sector-led economic growth is the only sustainable solution to global poverty and our foreign policy must embrace it as our overarching development goal. Unlike America’s competitors, our entrepreneurial tradition, dynamic capital markets, and robust public and private institutions offer an unrivaled ability to drive growth, with clear benefits both abroad and at home. To do so we must reform and modernize our foreign assistance to incentivize growth, reduce barriers to trade and investment, and expand economic opportunity.
Reward Effectiveness: We must commit to identify and reinforce what works and quit doing what doesn’t work, regularly and systematically determining which aid programs are delivering real results and supporting strategic objectives. Funds should be redirected toward more effective and cost-effective programs, thereby demonstrating at home a judicious use of taxpayer resources and demonstrating abroad that our support requires of beneficiaries a dedication to effectiveness and results.
Advance Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law: Our assistance must help build institutions that are democratic, accountable, and ultimately replace aid. Such institutions are essential for broad-based economic growth and the establishment of prosperous middle class-based societies. Building domestic capacity hand in hand with responsibility for outcomes – where a government can raise revenues, address citizen priorities, and be held accountable for results – is true country ownership and the only success-based “exit strategy” from foreign aid for donor and recipient alike.
Maintain Our Global Leadership: Our humanitarian commitment has been a cornerstone of the United States’ global leadership for 70 years, demonstrating to the world that Americans are generous, innovative, problem solvers, and able to mobilize global action. Our humanitarian commitments and leadership command broad public support at home and create lasting goodwill abroad. President Bush built a reform legacy through innovative, ambitious humanitarian programs with clear accountability and performance standards. The successes, reforms, and lessons of these initiatives should be applied throughout our foreign assistance.