USAID Has Technical Capacity To Lead GHI If Given Authority

In a post in the Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog,” Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the center, and Rachel Silverman, a research assistant at the center, examine the question of Global Health Initiative (GHI) leadership, citing the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), released last December, which states that “USAID would assume leadership of the GHI by September 2012, contingent upon fulfilling a set of 10 benchmarks to demonstrate its capacity.” They continue, “[A]s the GHI leader, USAID will coordinate activities representing about 30 percent of the initiative’s total budget, with no authority over funding allocations, decision-making, or the actions of other agency leaders. … By burdening USAID with eventual responsibility for the GHI’s success but with no authority or leverage to make it happen, the QDDR has inadvertently placed USAID in an impossible situation.” Noting some options on how to move forward on GHI leadership, they conclude that “by giving USAID responsibility for success without the mandate to meaningfully steer the initiative, USAID is being set up to fail” (10/28).