WCS: Review of U.S. Foreign Assistance Reflects an Elevated Development Agenda alongside Diplomacy
QDDR assesses how well State Department and USAID funds work together to support America’s interests abroad
NEW YORK (December 17, 2010) – The Obama administration released its Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) of the overall U.S. foreign assistance strategy and implementation. The review, one and a half years in the making, proposed several changes that indicate better support within the government for the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a key partner for many Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) programs around the world. The U.S. Department of State has stated its goal to improve transparency and accountability in its foreign aid and identify USAID as the country’s lead agency on international development.
“We are pleased that the QDDR’s comprehensive review of foreign aid aims to elevate development and USAID implementation alongside diplomacy,” said Kelly Keenan Aylward, WCS’s Washington Office Director. “The review intends to make U.S. government spending abroad more effective, more efficient and more strategic. Ideally, this will mean increased synergies between biodiversity conservation, food security, global health, and global climate change to enhance livelihoods and grow green jobs, among other development goals.”
Key recommendations of the QDDR include:
- USAID should be strengthened by being given responsibility for implementation of Feed the Future, global health initiatives and global climate change;
- Biodiversity conservation issues have the potential to be elevated as the U.S. Department of State creates an Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment; and
- An emphasis on the rights of women and girls as key actors in development throughout strategy.
WCS, in association with the Alliance for Global Conservation, brought women conservation leaders from the developing world to Washington, D.C. in October to advocate for a coordinated U.S. conservation strategy. Among the participants was Governor Habiba Sarabi of Afghanistan, with whom WCS worked in establishing and administering Band-e-Amir National Park, the first national park in Afghanistan. As collectors of necessities like fuel wood and fresh water and as those who are responsible for most agricultural labor, women are disproportionately harmed by environmental degradation, and therefore benefit from early adoption of environmental conservation strategies. In Washington, the women emphasized the role of natural resource management, democracy building and good governance structures and development goals as key to improving livelihoods in the developing world.
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The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
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