White House Document Leaked Outlining a “New Way Forward” on Development

Ronald Reagan Building, home of USAID

In an interesting twist, a White House document outlining a new paradigm for development policy has been leaked this week.  The document is a draft of the White House review of U.S. development policy, known as the PSD-7 (Presidential Study Directive).  We were not expecting to see anything from the White House until after the release of the State Department’s review, the QDDR (the Quadrennial Diplomacy & Development Review).

Real development policy change may be on the horizon.  According to this document, the “United States will pursue a new approach to global development that focuses our government on the critical task of helping to create a world with more prosperous and democratic states…”  This approach will be built on three pillars:

1)      “A deliberate development policy that places a premium on economic growth and democratic governance, game-changing innovations, and sustainable systems for meeting basic human needs;

2)      A new business model that positions the United States to be a more  effective partner and to leverage our leadership and;

3)      A modern architecture that elevates development as a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy and harnesses the development expertise now spread across government in support of common objectives.”

Overview of Proposed Changes:

All of Global Washington’s Four Principles of Aid Effectiveness are accounted for in this document, with the exception of any explicit reference to local ownership.  It is somewhat strange that there is no mention of local ownership, at least as a preference over supply-side solutions.  Our three other Principles, including targeting the poor, consolidation & coordination, and transparency & accountability, are  at least in some way addressed in this document.  Click here for more information on Global Washington’s Four Principles of Aid Effectiveness.

One important fact to keep in mind is that this is a draft document that was written a few weeks ago- it is possible that changes have been made already, and that the final study may reach different conclusions.