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M A R C H 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
the control of any one nation—Amer-
ican leaders proposed longer-term,
multilateral solutions, focusing partic-
ularly on agriculture and nutrition.
At a 2009 meeting of the Group of
Eight developed countries in L’Aquila,
Italy, the United States proposed and
secured approval for a global initiative
to strengthen the agriculture sector in
developing countries, particularly by helping smallholder
farmers improve their productivity. The initial commit-
ment was to raise $22 billion over three years.
Feed the Future is the American contribution to the
L’Aquila initiative. TheWorld Bank coordinates the Global
Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has also
begun to carry out L’Aquila projects.
Not only is U.S. leadership on such initiatives important,
but our funding has a multiplier effect: other donors are
more likely to contribute if the United States does. U.S.
Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv
Shah estimates that, overall, every dollar of U.S. aid brings
in an additional four dollars from other donors. If America
maintains and strengthens its leadership role, the world can
make lasting progress against hunger.
Joining Forces with Other Advocates
New knowledge about the best ways to improve nutri-
tion among pregnant women and children younger than 2
— and confirmation of its critical importance — led Sec-
retary of State Hillary RodhamClinton and her Irish coun-
terpart to launch the 1,000 Days Partnership in September
2010. The idea is to work for 1,000 days to improve nutri-
tion among children in that “window of opportunity” be-
tween pregnancy and the age of 2. The damage caused by
malnutrition during this period is irreversible — but it is
also preventable.
Scaling Up Nutrition, a global movement led by devel-
oping countries to improve nutrition for babies and tod-
dlers, is a related initiative. In June 2011, the Bread for the
World Institute and ConcernWorldwide hosted a meeting
in Washington, D.C., to boost support for SUN’s efforts to
build political will, develop workable strategies to solve nu-
trition problems, and identify ways to overcome barriers to
further progress.
Many nutrition practitioners in low-income countries at-
tended the Washington meeting, which coincided with
Bread for the World’s biannual National Gathering. A
group of 19 leaders of national organ-
izations representing the women of
different Christian denominations
came away motivated to organize U.S.
women of faith to help achieve the nu-
trition goals set by SUN and 1,000
We have also stepped up advocacy
for greater aid effectiveness and sup-
porting administration efforts already under way. Our
members wrote to their elected representatives as part of
a 2011 campaign for foreign assistance reform. As part of
theModernizing Foreign Assistance Network, our goals in-
clude a stronger focus on reducing poverty, clearer ac-
countability for spending and its results, a transformed U.S.
development agency, and assistance that meets the needs
and wants of local people in developing countries.
Promising Reforms
Besides launching initiatives such as Feed the Future
and the 1,000 Days Partnership, the Obama administration
conducted a whole-of-government review of development
that resulted in the release of the president’s Policy Direc-
tive on Development in September 2010. That directive
calls for elevating development as a foreign policy consid-
eration, strengthening the focus on sustainable develop-
ment outcomes, and taking other steps to make the United
States a more effective partner in support of development.
A few months later, in December 2010, the State De-
partment and USAID released recommendations from
their joint Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Re-
view. USAID has already begun to implement a package
of improvements, known as “USAID Forward,” which in-
clude a new “Country Development Cooperation Strategy”
aimed at improving development results at the country
USAID has also set up a public Web site, the Foreign
Assistance Dashboard
(, to
synthesize publicly available State Department and USAID
budget data. There are plans to expand it to cover all U.S.
foreign assistance programs. These reforms will bolster the
goals outlined at the U.N. Fourth High-Level Forum on
Aid Effectiveness, held from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, 2011, in
Busan, South Korea.
We anticipate that 2012 will be another eventful year as
we and our allies work to defend, expand and improve pro-
grams that help reduce hunger and extreme poverty.
The facts show that
development assistance
did not cause, and
cannot fix, the deficit.