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The Foreign Aid For a New Administration

by Joanna Klonsky

MINNEAPOLIS– After participating in a panel (PDF) on the future of U.S. foreign assistance at the University of Minnesota on Monday, Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser spoke to about the next presidential administration’s approach to foreign aid. With several other think takes and non-governmental organizations, Oxfam has created the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network  to “make the argument that as a new administration comes in, it’s a critical moment for those of us who are thinking of the balance between diplomacy, defense and development,” says Offenheiser. The group is calling for major reforms and a “twenty-first century vision for how the United States engages with the world through the use of foreign assistance programs.” Offenheiser says the United States needs a new national development strategy that is aligned with national security and diplomatic interests, and an “entirely new” approach to development that is “driven from the field, not driven from the halls of Congress.” To accomplish all this, Offenheiser says the United States needs to create new legislation to replace the old foreign assistance bill. He also calls for the creation of a new government department, headed by a cabinet-level position, devoted to development so that the Defense and State Departments “don’t subsume the development agenda.” The new department would need adequate funding to incorporate the Millennium Challenge Corporation and PEPFAR, and to deal with humanitarian crises and the possible humanitarian consequences of climate change, the energy crisis and the global food crisis.

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