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CGD Policy Blogs


How $500 Million in U.S. Aid Can Help Pakistan’s Flood Victims Rebuild

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai

Last week, the Government of Pakistan hosted officials from the United States and more than 30 donor countries and multilateral agencies in Islamabad for the Pakistan Development Forum. The big news from the two-day event was the announcement that the United States would accelerate disbursement of $500 million in previously committed aid to help Pakistan meet its flood rebuilding needs. (This pledge is above and beyond the more than $500 million the United States had previously committed to the immediate humanitarian needs from the flood.) What officials did not announces is what the US flood aid will be used for. My CGD colleagues Alan Gelb and Caroline Decker have recommended one proposal that the U.S. policymakers are currently considering: directing up to $500 million to finance a housing capitalization fund for flood-affected households.

U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan after the Floods: Molly Kinder

Molly KinderAs if Pakistan needed more troubles, this summer’s catastrophic flooding stretched the capacity of that country’s civilian government to the breaking point. How can the United States act to shore up a key ally and put a strategically critical country back on the path towards development and stability? My guest this week is Molly Kinder, a senior policy analyst here at the Center for Global Development.

Does Funding Pakistan Flood Reconstruction Mean Neglecting Long-Term Development?

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai.

Today on, we’ve written an op/ed with our colleague Molly Kinder that makes the case for why the United States should do everything possible to help Pakistan rebuild basic infrastructure in the areas devastated by this summer’s catastrophic floods. Here, we wanted to expand on one of the points from that op/ed—the debate over repurposing money from the existing $7.5 U.S. aid commitment, authorized a year ago by what’s called the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill.

The question of how much can and should be repurposed from Kerry-Lugar-Berman is dividing policymakers in Congress and in the Obama administration. The House of Representatives has already passed a resolution that, among other things, “supports the use of funds authorized by [Kerry-Lugar-Berman] for the purposes of providing long-term recovery and rehabilitation for flood-affected areas and populations.”

Beyond Gestures: A Trade Bill That Will Make a Real Difference in Pakistan

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai.

A frustrated David Ignatius chided Congress in yesterday’s Washington Post for its dithering in passing legislation that would create “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” (ROZs) in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Ignatius calls the ROZ initiative a “modest boost for the good guys” and laments that it is caught up in a partisan food fight in the Senate. We share his frustration over the Senate’s inaction, but we are less optimistic about the bill’s potential impact. In the legislation’s current form (details below), ROZs would at best be a token gesture that would be well received in Pakistan; at worst, they risk having little (if any) economic impact and creating expectations that cannot be met. If Senators are serious about promoting U.S. national security interests through economic progress in Pakistan, they should be prepared to go to the mat for something that will actually make a difference. Expanded trade access for all Pakistani exports from all of Pakistan is the best way to ensure a meaningful economic boost to Pakistan’s “good guys.”

Senator Lugar: Greater Transparency, Clear Objectives Needed for U.S. Aid to Pakistan

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai and Molly Kinder.

Senator Richard Lugar’s new opinion piece on Foreign Policy’s website lays out the case that a strong economic partnership with Pakistan is in U.S. national interests. Lugar argues that the recent failed bombing in Times Square and the subsequent arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American who had received bomb-making training in Pakistan’s volatile FATA region, is only a further reminder of how critical cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan remains.

Raj Shah Back from Pakistan, Sheds New Light on U.S. Plans

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai

Last week, USAID Administrator Raj Shah returned from his first trip to Pakistan since he took office at the beginning of the year. His trip followed close on the heels of last month’s high-level U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Washington, and was intended to signal that the optimistic words of the strategic dialogue will translate into concrete action. Transcripts of Shah’s press conferences for reporters in Pakistan and in Washington contain helpful information on the direction that the administration is taking in its development strategy in Pakistan. At the very least, it’s the first time we’ve heard Administrator Shah speak at any length about the details of U.S. aid programs to the country.

Fragile States and Climate Change: Things Fall Apart

**This post is co-authored with CGD senior fellow David Wheeler
Today's Washington Post column by David Ignatius finally inches popular understanding in the U.S. a bit further in the right direction on why climate change could be so costly to human society. It isn't just the direct costs of seawalls and more destructive hurricanes that climate change will bring. It's the risk that institutional arrangements to deal with those costs will not be resilient and will collapse under the resulting pressure--so that, as Chinua Achebe suggested about post-colonial West Africa, things do literally "fall apart".

An Open Letter to Jim Lehrer

To: Jim Lehrer

From: Nancy Birdsall

Subject: Missed opportunity to include development in the foreign policy debate

Dear Jim - How regrettable that the presidential debate on foreign policy and security focused on such a predictably narrow set of topics.