This is a joint post with Sarah Jane Staats.
The long-awaited Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) of USAID-State operations has been nearly eighteen months in the making. We’ve heard bits and pieces about the process, the players, the substance, and timing. The latest rumor is that at least one last debate is occurring prior to its release: whether USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) or other types of humanitarian assistance should remain at USAID or be moved to the State Department. If true, this would fly in the face of the administration’s own rhetoric of rebuilding USAID and elevating development.
While it is unfortunately hard to know from the outside whether this debate is really occurring, ongoing, or has been decided, it’s important – even if only for the sake of argument – to explain why it matters that OTI stay at USAID.
1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While USAID and the administration are working hard to build the agency into the world’s premiere development agency, USAID is already considered the world’s premiere humanitarian response agency. USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) is the ER for disasters.