Live from the conference: Tony Blair addresses the crowd at Frontiers in Development with a message on global development in 2012. For real time conference highlights, watch our livestream of the event and follow #DevelopmentIs on Twitter.
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Frontiers in Development is an effort to engage with the most innovative and experienced development practitioners around the world; seizing pivotal opportunities to leave behind legacies of success. Over the past year, Frontiers in Development launched an essay competition to collect ideas from some of the brightest minds and best practitioners in development. This compilation is now a publication that is available for public distribution through our website. The essay competition set the stage for the forum, where 40 panelists will speak about the past, present, and future of development.
The USAID Frontiers in Development forum is centered around a three-day conference to be held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC from June 11-13. This forum will draw together development practitioners and recipients, leaders from government and the private sector, academics and concerned actors from throughout the broader community. Frontiers in Development is much more than a great lineup of outstanding speakers (including Bill Gates, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, James Stavridis, and Rakesh Rajani). It is more than a chance for networking, or a few days to interact with talented colleagues and counterparts. It is more than the essays from a range of authors and thinkers included in our companion publication. Rather, Frontiers in Development is an opportunity to focus our joint attention on what comes next – promising solutions, innovative technologies, cutting-edge ideas, and novel applications to development.
Through the USAID Frontiers in Development forum, you are invited to engage on a range of topics and issues – from managing the pressures of demography and climate change on our planet, to adapting democracy and economic growth programming to conflict situations, from seeking means to improve the sustainability of development efforts to communicating the importance of this critical work to a public audience.
As a longstanding leader in the development community, USAID is proud to be hosting this event. The excellent support and cooperation of our partners at Georgetown University, the Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation reflect the changing landscape of the development sphere, including the welcome emergence of an increasing number of active contributors. In fact, this changing development landscape is just one of the themes to be discussed in the days to come and months to follow.
We hope that you will engage in the Frontiers in Development forum – in person or online, by submitting questions for the panels or by reading the thoughtful essays included in the Frontiers in Development publication. Most of all, we hope you will join the conversation on what comes next, and how best to tackle the challenges we face at the Frontiers in Development.
On June 5, my staff and I were delighted to host USAID’s 5th Annual Small Business Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Over 200 small business representatives had the unique opportunity to hear insightful presentations from our Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), SBA Associate Administrator John Shoraka, and USAID senior officials. It was an incredible time to celebrate the success of USAID in expanding our engagement of U.S.-based small businesses and to have in-depth dialogue on how small businesses may continue to thrive in our changing environment.
The energy at the conference was electric. What I witnessed was a reaffirmation of our commitment and renewed focus on the importance of small businesses for the continued growth of our economy and for their important contribution to our core development objectives. There was also a collective focus on USAID’s Implementation and Procurement Reform (IPR) initiative and the fact that IPR is not only about working with host country systems and developing local capacity, but also about expanding our partner base to include the increased use of U.S.-based small businesses.
Achieving strong cooperation between USAID and the small business community has been a long and sometimes arduous path. Historically, we have not done well in leveraging the talents and expertise of small business partners to achieve our goals. However, in recent years, we have increased our awards to small businesses by 50% and for the first time in many years, exceeded our overall small business goals in FY 2011. We’re also improving our accomplishments at the Mission level. For example, in FY 2011, the El Salvador Mission awarded 26% of its acquisition dollar obligations to U.S.-based small businesses while increasing local capacity development; and the Haiti Mission awarded 20% of its acquisition dollar obligations to U.S.-based 8(a) certified small businesses.
We recognize that there is so much more to be done to further enhance our relationship with the small business community. Through continued dialogue, I believe that we can improve the quality of development programs, bring new thought and innovation to the Agency, and improve the efficiency of how we carry out our mission.
For more information about how your small business can work with USAID, visit our Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Minority Resource Center.
In early May, we witnessed a spectacular commitment to “making every mother and baby count” here in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through their Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, and in partnership with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), convened an important series of meetings focused on saving the lives of mother and their babies. We wanted to tally for you the numbers that express just how much every mother and baby count:
- Participation included more than 275 international maternal and newborn health professionals;
- With over 29 countries represented;
- Including over 100 individuals from Bangladesh.
- But why? Because just 1 maternal or child death is more than just a tragic occurrence. It affects the entire family, it affects social cohesion, and it dampens the economic growth of the countries. Data shows that after a mother dies there is an increased risk of death for surviving children.
- Here in Bangladesh, about 20 women die every day from childbirth, about half of these due to 2 main causes, postpartum hemorrhage that is to say excessive bleeding and eclampsia (high blood pressure leading to convulsions). These are the very 2 factors that kill 50% of mothers in developing countries around the world.
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Originally published at Blog.AIDS.gov.
Over thirty years ago, when the fight against HIV first began, the outlook for tackling the pandemic was bleak. Across the world, AIDS was seen as a death sentence. Within just a few years, it had devastated communities from the United States to South Africa.
But the world continued to fight, and the past three decades have seen tremendous progress in HIV research, prevention and treatment, thanks in large part to the leadership of the United States. Today, we can build on that strong legacy to answer President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s call for an AIDS-free generation.
The 19th International AIDS Society (IAS) conference will be an opportunity to renew our commitment to this incredible goal. It also marks an historic moment, as the United States hosts the conference for the first time in over 20 years now that people living with HIV and AIDS are able to visit the U.S. to attend in-person.
We know that we have a long way to go to win the fight against HIV–especially for children.
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)–the largest international commitment to a single disease by any individual country–the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. government agencies provide lifesaving HIV and AIDS services to millions of children, women, and families worldwide.
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This weekend, volunteers will virtually collaborate with USAID staff during the Agency’s first crowdsourcing effort. Volunteers will work online to review Agency data on specific USAID economic growth activities, and help code that data with geographic information to help the Agency map its impact. This type of public engagement builds upon new developments at the cross section of new technology and efforts to make aid data more transparent.
These new developments appeared during the 2010 Haiti where volunteer technical communities (VTC) that were empowered by Web 2.0 technologies to engage with the response effort. The World Bank noted that these VTC present a “fundamental shift” for disaster intervention that holds “great promise.” Though the UN Foundation found that the international humanitarian system was not prepared to handle a “firehose” of data from new sources, over the last two years, the information landscape has continued to evolve. The humanitarian and development sector has identified innovative ways to incorporate new data and methods into well-established work flows. VTC’s, for their part, have continued to refine their tools, their methods, and collaborate with humanitarian and development agencies to take full advantage of a wide range of data. By working together, they are creating new approaches to some of the most daunting challenges.
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Big news. Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – the so-called “rich man’s club” of developed countries – adopted a new Development Strategy (pdf) for partnering with developing countries. The multilateral organization, founded as part of the post-World War II Marshall Plan, took this significant step in fulfillment of a commitment made a year ago under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chairmanship of the OECD 50th anniversary Ministerial. Last year, OECD members adopted a new vision statement committing the organization to look outward and engage with the developing world.
After a good deal of heavy lifting, the new strategy advances the Obama Administration’s policy on global development and will increase the efficiency of U.S. aid funding.
We’re particularly excited because the Strategy will leverage for developing countries the OECD’s knowledge, resources and storehouse of economic policy best practices in areas such as tax, investment, economic growth, anti-corruption, and good governance. Non-members such as Ghana and Malawi will be partners in the effort working with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and Development Centre.
In this era of shrinking foreign aid budgets, the U.S. supports the new Development Strategy as a means of working smarter through better, more strategic collaboration, both across the OECD and with outside partners. Development assistance, no longer the major flow of resources to the developing world, is increasingly catalyzing other forms of finance and technology. In this way, the Strategy is building on the achievements of Busan High Level Forum and the New Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, emphasizing a more diverse range of partners and a more targeted focus on transparency, results and accountability.
Of course, there is still much to be done. Pilot projects will test the organization’s ability to work across expert areas in a useful partnership, set ambitious targets and metrics, and track progress through rigorous evaluation. It is certainly a big step in re-orienting the OECD’s business practices to improve the challenges and opportunities of today’s economic development.
Last week, President Obama announced the G-8’s commitment to the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition”, the next phase of the G-8’s shared commitment to achieving global food security and nutrition goals. One of the elements of this New Alliance is a focus on science, technology, and innovation including the importance of open and available food security data. The group also committed to convene an international conference on food security and Open Data for G-8 members and stakeholders to determine how to increase openness and access to data. Seizing on the commitment of the G-8, USAID convened six leading innovators to showcase mapping, videos, and other tools that use data for more effective development.
Following the President’s speech, USAID launched a Food Security Open Data Challenge that invites technologists, agriculture stakeholders, entrepreneurs, academics, and others to determine the most creative and wide-reaching use of open data for food security solutions and better, cheaper, and faster results. This work builds on USAID’s far- reaching commitment to open data including the Open Government Partnership, Open Government Initiative, International Aid Transparency Initiative, the newly launched GeoCenter to increase GIS capacity in USAID, and others. Continuing this commitment to transparency, USAID invites all who are interested to join us, and lend your creativity, your curiosity, and your partnership to raising millions out of poverty. The results of this challenge will contribute to the development of an international conference on food security and Open Data for G-8 members and stakeholders, and will complement Feed the Future’s work to fight hunger and promote broad-based economic growth, particularly through development in the agricultural sector.
USAID’s Food Security Open Data Challenge includes three core events. In June, USAID will host an Ideation Jam where technologists and agricultural stakeholders will identify key questions of the challenge by focusing on the overlap of food security priorities and the potential of available data. In August, USAID will host a Codeathon to convene technologists, agriculture stakeholders, government representatives, entrepreneurs, and startup experts to finalize challenge submissions and design interventions that are available for investment. Finally in September, Administrator Shah will host a Food Security Datapalooza and announce challenge winners and showcase some of the best ideas for open-data based solutions to food security.
We look forward to working with a wide range of partners in this effort and welcome you to join us. Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley leader in information analysis, is an early partner and will open its mapping and analytical platform to participants so that all food security stakeholders, technologists or not, can participate in new ways to analyze existing information for actionable results.
Originally posted at Feed the Future.
1. What is the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and who is participating?
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a commitment by G-8 members, African countries, and private sector partners to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years. It builds upon the progress and commitments made in 2009 at the L’Aquila G-8 Summit, and offers a broad and innovative path to strengthen food security and nutrition.
The New Alliance includes specific commitments from:
- African leaders to refine policies in order to improve investment opportunities and drive their country-led plans on food security;
- Private sector partners, who have collectively committed more than $3 billion to increase investments; and
- G-8 members, who will support Africa’s potential for rapid and sustained agricultural growth, and ensure accountability for the New Alliance.
2. Does the New Alliance mean that the U.S. and other G-8 members will not meet their 2009 L’Aquila commitments?
Not at all! The New Alliance builds upon the G-8 commitments made at L’Aquila in 2009 and represents the next phase of investment in food security and nutrition. The L’Aquila effort in 2009 was critical in reversing decades of neglect of African agriculture by donors and governments. We’re going to sustain the commitments we made three years ago, and we’re going to speed things up, as President Obama has noted.
L’Aquila showed that we can marshal aid resources and that African countries can develop credible, comprehensive plans. But we need to accelerate our progress, which the New Alliance will do by mobilizing private capital, taking innovation to scale, and managing risk.
It’s important to keep in mind that the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative was about so much more than just money – it was a new way of doing development. Initiative leaders agreed to put their money behind country plans that had been developed and were owned by the developing countries themselves, and to increase investment in research and development, to better coordinate efforts, and to act both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions.
Read the G-8 Accountability Report, which tracks G-8 progress on fulfilling L’Aquila pledges.
3. What kinds of private sector companies are participating in the New Alliance?
The more than 45 companies making commitments at this time include both large and small American, African, and international companies. Most of the participating companies and associations have missions associated with agriculture or finance. A full list of the companies can be found here.
4. How much does this cost, and where is the money coming from?
President Obama announced last week that more than 45 international and African companies have committed more than $3 billion to specific agricultural investments spanning all areas of the agricultural value chain, including seed systems, fertilizer, irrigation, crop protection, extension and training, post-harvest processing and storage, agricultural financing, and infrastructure. This is new money committed by the private sector at the 2012 G-8 Summit and builds on public sector commitments made in 2009.
At the L’Aquila G-8 Summit, member countries and others pledged more than $22 billion for agricultural development and at the 2012 G-8 Summit they affirmed continued commitment to sustaining and disbursing these funds. The New Alliance will channel those efforts into the most innovative and productive ways possible to maximize results.
As a way to channel funds committed at L’Aquila three years ago, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was set up as a unique partnership between donors, partner countries, civil society, and multilateral development institutions to scale up financing for agriculture in the poorest countries. It provides financing through a competitive process to countries that have technically sound agricultural development strategies in place.
The GAFSP has awarded $481 million to 12 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and will award approximately $180 million more this week. The United States, which has contributed $301.4 million to the GAFSP, is likely to complete its $475 million pledge in the next year. We continue to support this innovative program as part of our commitment not only to food security but also to country-led processes and multilateral involvement.
Last week, the G-8 set a goal of securing $1.2 billion over three years in further contributions to the GAFSP from new and existing donors. The United Kingdom has publicly pledged $120 million toward this goal.
5. Which African countries are involved, and what are they committing?
At the 2012 G-8 Camp David Summit, the New Alliance initially launched in Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia, and will expand rapidly to other African countries, including Mozambique, Cote D’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. These countries are participating in the Grow Africa Partnership, a joint initiative with the African Union and the World Economic Forum to support the private sector component of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). Over time, the New Alliance will expand to other African countries that have demonstrated an interest and willingness to participate in the process.
These African countries have committed to major policy changes that open doors to more private sector trade and investment, such as strengthening property rights, supporting seed investments, and opening trade opportunities. G-8 members identified development assistance funding aligned behind these nations’ own country investment plans for agriculture, and private sector firms have laid out investment plans in the agricultural sectors of these countries.
Be sure to check out Feed the Future’s one-stop shop on G-8 announcements for more information.
Read the latest edition of USAID’s premier publication, FrontLines, to learn more about the Agency’s work on issues surrounding child survival and its portfolio of projects in Ethiopia. Some highlights:
- Efforts to end preventable child deaths are in their last lap and on a sure path to victory, says USAID’s top doc in the Bureau for Global Health.
- The Swaziland parents who decide to have their newborn baby boys circumcised are part of a worldwide effort to achieve an HIV-free generation sooner rather than later.
- UNICEF Chief Anthony Lake has seen firsthand the resourcefulness of this planet’s youngest citizens in the midst some of its worst disasters.
- Find out why, despite one of the region’s worst droughts last year, the perpetually battered country of Ethiopia escaped the season with no famine.
- A truce between four groups of people from Ethiopia’s Somali and Oromiya regional states who held longstanding grievances appears to have ushered in an unprecedented period of peace and an end to violent – and sometimes deadly – clashes.
- Though Earth Day celebrations ended in April, USAID’s work to protect the environment continues 365 days a year. See that work through photos that won the 2012 environment photo contest put on by FrontLines and the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment as well as those that came in as runners-up.
Subscribe to FrontLines for an email reminder when the latest issue is posted online.