Number 10 (September 2010)
The U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) generated unprecedented levels of commitment to cut poverty and disease, improve access to education and health, and promote gender equity and environmental sustainability.
Progress on the MDGs is a mixed bag, particularly in Africa, where many of the targets will not be met.
With a focused strategy, based on measurable results, the United States can redouble its efforts to accelerate progress on the MDGs.
Number 9 (July 2010)
With unprecedented levels of goodwill, focus, and commitment to Haiti, there are still enormous hurdles in laying the groundwork for a country-led recovery.
Haiti’s 10-year national reconstruction plan includes a multi-donor trust fund and an interim reconstruction authority to oversee rebuilding.
The mechanisms driving Haiti’s recovery must prioritize civil society participation, promote real transparency, and not compromise broader goals for quick short-term results.
Number 8 (November 2009)
In the last few decades, U.S. foreign assistance has largely supported a collection of disparate projects and interventions rather than a coherent, consistent program that is flexible and responsive to conditions in developing countries. As a result, it has not had a transformative impact at the country level.
USAID should once again focus attention on broad-based measures and approaches that will improve agricultural and economic growth rates, and reduce poverty at the national level. This will involve renewed emphasis on agriculture and rural development, women's participation in the economy, education, infrastructure and capable national institutions and will require a much more deliberate development strategy carried out over a longer time horizon.
To plan and implement such a strategy, USAID urgently needs to rebuild its technical capacity, especially in agriculture, rural development and economics that has been allowed to diminish over the past decades.
Number 7 (October 2009)
Many developing countries have had success in reducing malnutrition. But malnutrition remains pervasive and, in many countries, comes at a very high cost. Each year, millions of children die from malnutrition; millions more suffer ill health and face long-term physical and cognitive impairment, leading to lost productivity. The period between conception and the first two years in a child's life are critical.
The Obama administration's initiative to fight hunger offers an opportunity to improve nutrition of mothers and children around the world. In addition to the focus on increasing agricultural productivity and raising rural incomes, the administration should scale up nutrition interventions and integrate nutrition into its development programming.
It should use improvements in maternal and child nutrition as a key indicator of success. It should support country-led strategies, coordinate with other donors and ensure that U.S. actions and policies do not undermine nutrition objectives.
Number 6 (February 2009)
One in every eight U.S. residents is living in poverty, according to the last official count conducted by the Census Bureau. But these data reflect conditions through 2007, well before the current recession.
Poverty and hunger on any scale is intolerable in a country as wealthy as the United States. To reduce poverty and hunger—and eventually eliminate them—the United States must be prepared to act more boldly than it has for several decades. Step one should be to set a national goal to end hunger and poverty, with a target date, so that progress can be tracked.
Ending poverty and hunger will require a comprehensive framework of solutions, that recognizes the many factors that contribute to economic hardship, such as lack of employer-provided health insurance, poor schools, lack of affordable housing, little access to financial services, and a host of others. Goal setting is the critical first step, as it focuses the nation's attention on outcomes and gives the public a way to hold the nation's leaders accountable.