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Re: FW: fyi on USAID

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  • Christine Chumbler
    If anyone s interested, I have the full text of this speech. He didn t hold back in giving his opinions; more power to him, I say. c ... From: Bell,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 7, 1999
      If anyone's interested, I have the full text of this speech. He didn't hold back in giving his opinions; more power to him, I say.


      >>> "Bell, Elizabeth" <eib6@...> 7/7/99 9:39 AM >>>
      From: "Bell, Elizabeth" <eib6@...>

      > Dear USAID list-serve subscriber,
      > U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator J. Brian
      > Atwood will step down this Friday, July 9, after more than six years of
      > service at the agency. Last week, before the Overseas Development Council
      > (ODC), he gave a farewell address. What follows is an excerpt of that
      > speech.
      > " Let me begin by thanking John Sewell [ODC President] and ODC for
      > sponsoring this forum. ODC has contributed so much to development
      > thinking
      > over the years. I could not think of a more appropriate venue for my last
      > message to the development community as AID Administrator.
      > "One year ago, I decided it was time to bring my tenure to a close.
      > About that time Sandy Berger asked me if I would agree to serve as
      > Ambassador to Brazil. That decision was obviously a mistake. I lost
      > control over my own timetable. I would probably still be waiting for a
      > hearing if I had not withdrawn my nomination....
      > "First, I want to be retrospective. We did get some things done in
      > the past six years....
      > "USAID is today more responsive in crisis and post-crisis
      > situations.
      > Our Office of Transition Initiatives is a model for the international
      > community and has helped us fill that gap between the breakdown of a
      > society and its long-term development.
      > "The Bureau for Humanitarian Response we created contains all the
      > elements for rapid and effective crisis response: disaster relief,
      > emergency food, transition support and PVO support and coordination. This
      > bureau is now better linked to our development bureaus than ever
      > before....
      > "As we speak, yet another study is under way to consider, among a
      > series of options, separating the Bureau for Humanitarian Response from
      > USAID and either placing it inside the State Department or making it a
      > stand-alone agency. This would be a very large mistake. We have worked
      > hard to promote the linkages between relief, recovery and development that
      > make the continuum a reality. In addition, separating the popular
      > humanitarian programs from USAID would make even more vulnerable our
      > long-term development portfolio on Capitol Hill....
      > On the USAID battle to remain an independent agency, he said, "I
      > feel
      > very proud that these things were done, but I regret deeply that we wasted
      > so much time here in Washington fighting for our very existence. I regret
      > that we not only had to battle the traditional opponents of foreign aid in
      > Congress -- a group that was reinforced by the non-passport-carrying
      > members of the class of 1994 -- but also that the battle had to be fought
      > with Administration colleagues who should have known better....
      > "The budget pressures within the international affairs accounts have
      > made people more aggressively parochial than ever. If you don't have the
      > money to do your job, then you look around for someone else's money. The
      > easiest target in town is the development assistance account.
      > "I would argue that this account represents the future, but if you
      > sit
      > at the State Department you have to believe the future is now. State's
      > crisis orientation is natural, but it does crowd out the more prospective
      > vision. That is why an AID sitting in the State Department would in time
      > find itself crowded out. I am grateful to Madeleine Albright for
      > appreciating this reality.
      > "The focus in Washington during much of my tenure was on the
      > reorganization plan that moved USAID into State. What would really have
      > advanced the cause of development would have been a plan to give USAID
      > responsibility for the oversight of the World Bank....
      > "Responsibility for the International Monetary Fund and the World
      > Bank
      > should be divided, with Treasury responsible for the IMF and USAID
      > handling
      > the World Bank. This is the division of labor in many OECD countries and
      > it would be most appropriate here. The World Bank is, after all, a
      > development bank. USAID already leads U.S. delegations to World Bank
      > consultative group meetings; it alone possesses the expertise needed to
      > partner with the bank.
      > "Yesterday we learned that the budget surplus has grown once again.
      > It will be $1 trillion over the next 15 years. That is more than the
      > combined GNPs of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, we continue to
      > run our government under budget caps set when we had a deficit. These
      > budget caps are a disaster when it comes to protecting America's
      > international interests. Every day we are missing opportunities to
      > advance
      > our international interests: for example, to understand the internal
      > tensions that could lead a state to fail or go to war with its neighbor;
      > to
      > create new market opportunities; to control the flow of weapons of mass
      > destruction; to promote democracy and human rights; or to achieve
      > sustainable development....
      > "The politics of the budget process -- do we use the surplus to save
      > social security or cut taxes? -- is producing backdoor isolationism and
      > both branches of government are responsible for the current impasse. The
      > international affairs account needs relief. We cannot fulfill our
      > international responsibilities with a 30 percent reduction from last
      > year's
      > inadequate appropriation. The President and the Congress need to work
      > together to fix this....
      > "What we are doing to the United Nations system is unconscionable.
      > At
      > a time when the UN is bending under the weight of human crises, most
      > emanating from the developing world, we are sapping it of its vitality by
      > refusing to pay our bills. Then we turn around and criticize it for
      > failing to do its job.
      > "Yet another compromise has been reached in the Senate to pay our
      > arrearages. We will pay most of what we owe but only if the UN agrees to
      > lower the U.S. assessment.
      > "The art of compromise is a noble one. It makes democracy work.
      > This
      > time, however, the proposal is to compromise away a solemn treaty
      > obligation. We will pay what we rightfully owe only if the UN accepts our
      > condition -- that we pay less in the future. This is wrong....
      > "This is a shameful approach designed to appease people whose real
      > goal is to kill the United Nations. It should be rejected by honorable
      > people to preserve our reputation as an honorable nation.
      > "The UN is a vitally important ally in the battle against
      > inequality.
      > Its voluntary agencies do work the bilateral agencies cannot do. Yes,
      > reform is needed, but reform never succeeds when it is demanded at the
      > point of a gun....
      > "The United States, with its military budget of $275 billion and its
      > foreign assistance budget of $12 billion, seems to have made a choice.
      > But
      > have we done so consciously? Or, are we just victims of inertia? Our
      > defense budget won the Cold War, it is said, so it must be right for this
      > new era of globalization. I don't think so.
      > "Despite our prosperity today, we are in a negative spiral. We are
      > already fast approaching a world where 10 percent of the people control 90
      > percent of the wealth. We hear rhetoric about a more equitable world
      > where
      > America's vision of a democratic, market-based globe can be realized, but
      > it is not matched by resource allocations. Our own political system and
      > our press seem to miss this credibility gap, but the developing world does
      > not.
      > "The dangers created by this poverty gap are not only the products
      > of
      > disillusionment -- war, terrorism and the like -- they also include losing
      > the battle against climate change and disease. Environmental and health
      > threats emanate from the conditions of poverty. This is not just an
      > investment we should make to uphold our values, it is an investment we
      > should make to protect our people....
      > "I want to thank the development community -- the people in this
      > room,
      > organizations around the country and the officials and people from other
      > nations with whom I had the privilege to work. I have felt your
      > commitment
      > and your support in times of crisis. We know that the poor of the world
      > appreciate the lifeline we represent. We also know, as Martin Luther
      > King,
      > Jr. said, "Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is
      > for
      > the building of humanity, it has dignity, it has worth...."

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