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Policymakers view Pakistan as one of the most critical fronts in efforts to combat violent extremism. Different US administrations have taken divergent approaches on development assistance to the country. In 2010, a CGD study group drew lessons from past experiences to offer practical recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of foreign assistance and other, non-aid instruments for achieving sustainable development in Pakistan. It suggested better ways to deploy aid, and ideas to unlock the potential of trade and private investment.
A new report card on the US development strategy in Pakistan gives failing marks in key areas but recommends that the United States stay engaged in Pakistan, focus on areas where it has achieved success, channel more funds through other entities, such as the World Bank, and spread previously authorized assistance over more years.
It’s not a stretch to say that United States-Pakistan relations are at a low point. Indeed, it seems just when Washington and Islamabad think bilateral relations cannot get any worse, they inevitably do. The latest fallout stems from the accidental NATO bombing in November 2011 of Pakistani military outposts, resulting in the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan immediately shut down critical NATO supply routes and the negotiations to re-open them have gone nowhere. To add insult to injury, Pakistan faces a slew of minor crises on its home front, relating to the economy, politics, and of course, security. In Washington, support for civilian assistance to Pakistan is rapidly waning. With this as background, the United States is also undergoing two major personnel transitions in Islamabad. U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter and USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson have both announced their intention to step down this summer. This staff turnover, while a distraction in the short run, also provides an opportunity for the United States to re-brand its civilian assistance program in Pakistan. Our latest open letter to Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides urges the United States to support Pakistan’s “democratic machinery” with more USAID innovation, stronger Pakistani think tanks and research groups, and more independent media.
“No superpower that claims to possess the moral high ground can afford to relinquish its leadership in addressing global disease, hunger, and ignorance,” said former US senator Richard Lugar. “Our moral identity is an essential source of national power… We diminish ourselves and our national reputation if we turn our backs on the obvious plight of hundreds of millions of people who are living on less than a dollar a day and facing severe risk from hunger and disease.”
This essay draws on the work of the Center for Global Development's
Study Group on U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan and on the ideas in the group's open letters to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to present five recommendations for spending aid money well in Pakistan.
This brief examines options for a COD Aid contract in Pakistan’s education sector and its potential benefits for improving the relationship between official donors and the government of Pakistan, and for increasing the effectiveness of aid spending in Pakistan.
A new focus on measuring development results would have far-reaching benefits for U.S. development
strategy, for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and for the strength of Pakistan’s democratic institutions.
In this essay, Nancy Birdsall and Wren Elhai suggest five possible indicators that illustrate the type of
measurable targets that could help the United State and Pakistan meet shared goals for effective and