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Washington Post Examines Development Experts’ Reactions To Draft QDDR

The Washington Post examines development experts’ “mixed reactions” to the recent roll out of the State Department’s draft Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which would give USAID “a bigger role in running President [Barack] Obama’s two main foreign aid initiatives – health and agriculture.”

“Aid organizations also hailed the review’s conclusion that USAID should be in charge of the president’s two major international development programs – Feed the Future, which helps small farmers, and the Global Health Initiative, which includes the massive U.S. effort to combat HIV/AIDS,” the Washington Post reports. However, several aid organizations “criticized the review for not resolving a long-running debate over whether the State Department or USAID should ultimately be in charge of development,” the newspaper writes, noting that the dispute points to a “broader question of how closely” USAID and State should collaborate.

“The review assigns the State Department the lead in political and security conflicts, while putting USAID at the helm ‘in humanitarian crises caused by large-scale natural disasters’ or disease,” the Washington Post writes.

“On the one hand, USAID is becoming a stronger, more capable agency. But on the other hand, this murky relationship, especially with regard to crises, between the State Department and USAID, persists and will continue to frustrate U.S. foreign policy efforts,” said Norm Unger of the the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Assistance Reform Project.

An unnamed congressional staffer, who is not authorized to comment on the issue, said, “A middle ground has been the name of the game with what has come out in the QDDR so far” (Sheridan, 11/28).