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U.S. Congress Should Consider 5 Questions In Review Of Administration’s Plan To Merge USAID’s 2 Humanitarian Response Offices

Devex: Opinion: Merging USAID’s disaster offices means answering hard questions. Here they are.
Dina Esposito, vice president of technical leadership for Mercy Corps, and Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development

“The Trump administration’s recently released fiscal year 19 budget proposal outlines a plan to merge the United States Agency for International Development’s two humanitarian response offices — the Office of Food for Peace and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance — into a new standalone humanitarian assistance bureau. … [T]his reform — if done right — could improve and extend the reach of U.S. humanitarian assistance. However, we are deeply concerned that the FY19 budget pairs this change with an accompanying proposal to cut overall humanitarian assistance funding and eliminate food assistance resources. … As Congress reviews the administration’s merger plans, it should press the administration to demonstrate that this is a constructive reform. … Here are the five questions — and considerations — [stakeholders in Congress and in the relief community] should be thinking about. 1. What is the purpose and vision behind this merger? … 2. What level of authority will the new entity have? … 3. How will a merger preserve the distinctive technical capacities of each office? … 4. How will finance and procurement processes and personnel systems be reconciled? … 5. What role will the new bureau have in resilience programs?…” (3/28).

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