Amanda Glassman and Nandini Oomman, here at CGD, have released two separate notes (here and here) on the Global Health Initiative (GHI). Amanda and Nandini, who both have deep backgrounds in global health issues, are critical of the GHI and cautious about its future. Both see health assistance, in all its many forms, as a fundamental development activity. Both knock the dysfunction of the current bureaucratic structure and lines of authority and
CGD Policy Blogs
If last night’s SOTU was, as expected, short on development, at least the Obama Administration finally made good on last year’s SOTU promise to try to consolidate the USG agencies that work on economic promotion. (I say “try” since the request is simply for fast-track authority; no plan has actually been revealed yet.) I’m torn on what I’ve been hearing so far:
Tonight President Obama will make his third State of the Union address with the expectation that its themes will be largely driven by electoral considerations. I agree, but Obama also addresses the public as the sitting president; he must strike the right balance between incumbent and candidate.
Given the dual purposes of the speech, here are my expectations on what he may say with regard to foreign policy and development issues.
Admittedly, procurement reform isn’t the most exciting topic in development policy. But the implications of USAID’s move last week to reform its Source, Origin, and Nationality rule (S/O/N), one of the mother relics of procurement rules, are too important to pass relatively unnoticed through the news cycle.
This is a joint post with Owen McCarthy.
The development community breathed a sigh of relief on December 23 when President Obama signed a nine-bill spending package that included healthy funding for the International Affairs budget. But there is more in this behemoth than topline funding numbers. Tucked away in the State, Foreign Operations portion are new income definitions for the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) low income and lower middle income country categories.
At first glance, this may seem like news only for MCC wonks and income data nuts, but the new specifications will have far-reaching effects. The new income definitions will create new low income country (LIC) and lower middle income country (LMIC) groups with new indicator medians that could change a country’s passing/failing status. MCC legislation also dictates that only 25% of MCC funds may be used for LMICs; the new income definitions will alter the countries that fall under this cap by altering the income country groups.
The question of whether and how much aid Pakistan will receive has been a hotly contested issue in Congress this year, with some members having called for civilian assistance (authorized under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation) to be cut altogether.