Re: FW: fyi on USAID
- 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,--------------------------- ONElist Sponsor ----------------------------
> 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
> " Let me begin by thanking John Sewell [ODC President] and ODC for
> sponsoring this forum. ODC has contributed so much to development
> 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 hearing if I had not withdrawn my nomination....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
> 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
> "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
> 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
> 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
> should be divided, with Treasury responsible for the IMF and USAID
> 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
> our international interests: for example, to understand the internal
> tensions that could lead a state to fail or go to war with its neighbor;
> 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
> 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.
> 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.
> 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
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> "The dangers created by this poverty gap are not only the products
> 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
> organizations around the country and the officials and people from other
> nations with whom I had the privilege to work. I have felt your
> 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
> Jr. said, "Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is
> the building of humanity, it has dignity, it has worth...."
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