Washington, DC - President Obama’s Global Development Policy, released in the fall of 2010, elevated development as a core pillar of American power and recognized global development as a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States.
Consistent with Presidential Policy Directive 6, the President signed an Executive Order in 2012 establishing the President’s Global Development Council (GDC) to inform and provide advice to the President and other senior U.S. officials on U.S. global development policies and practices, support new and existing public-private partnerships, and increase awareness and action in support of global development. Since 2010, we have sharpened the focus of our global development investments on achieving sustainable development outcomes, leveraging the private sector and nongovernmental partners, and investing in game-changing innovations.
Today, the GDC released its second report outlining five sets of recommendations on how to further advance our new approach to development, including by: 1) further galvanizing the private sector; 2) promoting sustainable growth while building resilience to climate change; 3) driving innovation for development results; 4) increasing collaborative resource mobilization for development; and 5) further catalyzing economic opportunities for women and youth, especially in megacities.
These recommendations come at a critical juncture in the lead-up to the Third International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July and the UN Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September. These events present an historic opportunity to shape ambitious global development priorities for the next 15 years.
In implementing our new approach to development, the United States is leading by example, including through the following signature global development initiatives:
Additional development activities underway across the U.S. Government are also advancing each of the five goals outlined in the GDC report. The activities listed below are illustrative of the broad range of U.S. Government commitments and efforts underway.
Galvanizing the Private Sector for Development
The Obama Administration has put a premium on leveraging private sector investments to support global development. Below are examples of steps we have recently taken or intend to take to continue to leverage private sector resources:
- In December 2014, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation, launched a $210 million DREAMS partnership to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in up to 10 Sub-Saharan African countries, and ensure that girls have an opportunity to live Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe lives.
- In August 2014 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a $100 million Global Resilience Partnership to help protect the lives and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people, focusing on the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. The Partnership seeks to use unconventional financing instruments to mobilize private capital for resilience, and to fill knowledge gaps in cross-cutting areas relevant to resilience.
- USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) has leveraged $3.7 billion in private capital for development across 74 countries since its inception in 1999, including $2 billion since 2011.
- The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an African-led effort supported by the U.S. Government through Feed the Future, has advanced partner country reforms that facilitate sound private investment, and has leveraged more than $10 billion in responsible private sector commitments in agriculture to support smallholder farmers.
- Since the start of the Obama Administration, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has provided over $18 billion in financial and insurance commitments to private sector investors in nearly 100 emerging market countries around the world. Over its history, for each $1 of insurance and finance commitments, OPIC has mobilized $2.46 in external capital. OPIC committed over $70 billion in insurance and finance commitments in this time period, and other partners committed $185 billion.
Promoting Sustainable Growth
This Administration has made promoting sustainable growth a critical priority, including through actions at home and abroad to combat climate change. In June 2013, President Obama outlined the Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, and continue to lead international efforts to address global climate change. U.S. Government agencies are taking steps and will take additional steps to promote more sustainable growth globally, including:In November 2014, President Obama announced his Administration’s intention to contribute $3 billion, not to exceed 30 percent of total confirmed pledges, to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to reduce carbon pollution and strengthen resilience in developing countries. The strong U.S. pledge helped increase the number and ambition of other countries’ contributions and our leadership helped propel initial capitalization of the fund to over $10 billion, a threshold seen by stakeholders as demonstrating serious donor commitment.
- The Department of State, OPIC, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and USAID are collaborating under the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (ACEF) to catalyze private sector investment in clean energy projects in Africa by providing support for early stage project development costs.
- All MCC investments are implemented to meet the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards, a global benchmark for good international practice.
- OPIC has dramatically increased its support for renewable energy projects in developing and emerging markets, including over $5 billion of its total commitments over the last five years.
- The U.S. Government is working with multilateral institutions such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to support and implement climate adaptation and mitigation activities in the agricultural sector in low-income countries.
- USAID and the Department of State are leading U.S. government engagement with the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, an international public-private partnership working with over 40 companies around the world to reduce tropical deforestation caused by agricultural commodity production.
Spurring Innovation and Focus on Results
The Administration has promoted new public and private sector efforts to harness cutting-edge technologies, including to accelerate research and scale innovations in internet and communication technologies to support global development. U.S. Government agencies have taken and will take steps to integrate a focus on innovation and results into their operations and activities, including through the following:
- USAID’s Global Development Lab seeks to increase the application of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships to extend the Agency’s development impact in helping to end extreme poverty. The Lab does this by bringing together a diverse set of partners to discover, test, and scale innovations to solve development challenges faster and cheaper. The Lab has helped launch the Better Than Cash Alliance to accelerate the use of mobile and e-payments worldwide.
- In 2014 USAID partnered with the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and the Omidyar Network to launch the Global Innovation Fund, and we have collectively pledged $200 million over the next 5 years to invest in novel solutions to global development challenges.
- USAID’s Evaluation Policy, launched in 2011, requires that all large and all pilot projects undergo an external evaluation.
- MCC uses data and evidence as part of its operational model to select partner countries, make investment decisions and monitor and evaluate results, and is developing new mechanisms to link payments to development results, such as pay-for- performance, cash-on-delivery or other outcome-based payment approaches.
- The Treasury Department is strengthening evaluation policies and practices in the multilateral development banks that will improve the collection and publication of data on evaluation to support learning.
Mobilizing Resources Collaboratively
Achieving an ambitious Post-2015 Development Agenda will require the international community to mobilize the full range of international financial flows, including public and private flows, as well as remittances, philanthropy and other sources. The United States is pursuing efforts to expand resource mobilization efforts, including:
- Under the Partnership for Growth Initiative in the Philippines, Treasury, USAID, and MCC are investing in a range of programs to strengthen the country’s ability to raise domestic resources. These include support for improved tax administration, electronic tax payments, a data processing division, redesigning tax forms and improving audit functions.
- To help combat cross-border corporate tax-avoidance practices globally, Treasury is actively participating in the G-20 and Organization for Economic for Economic Cooperation and Development’s joint action plan to develop better global guidelines and standards for the taxation of multinationals.
- The U.S. Government is working with African counterparts to develop the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF), an initiative to stem illicit finance activities and free up resources for development and investment.
- To increase domestic revenue mobilization, USAID, Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance, and MCC provide bilateral technical assistance on tax and customs policy and administration in 21 partner countries. In addition to bilateral assistance, the International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks, supported by the United States, have for decades provided large programs of technical assistance to support domestic revenue mobilization in virtually all developing countries.
- In the framework of the G-20, Treasury led development of a selected list of proposed concrete actions to reduce remittance transfer costs, including by improving market competitiveness, transparency, and consumer protection, an example being the U.S. proposal to accelerate progress on the G-20 Plan to Facilitate Remittance Flows.
Catalyzing Economic Opportunities for Women and Youth, with a Focus on Megacities
President Obama has made promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women and youth, including in megacities in many regions of the world, central to our national security strategy and foreign policy. From establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls, to focusing on women and girls for greater impact in our global health and food security initiatives, we are prioritizing opportunities for women and youth, including:
- The United States is investing in the next generation of leaders, and has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young leaders, the United States, and the American people. President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010, and announced its expansion during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014.
- Launched by President Obama in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and to strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding.
- The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), launched in 2015, seeks to expand opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and civil society activists in the Western Hemisphere region. Building on the success of the President’s young leader initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, YLAI will incubate and accelerate the work of young business and civil society leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.
- President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are committed to championing our efforts to help adolescent girls around the globe attend and complete school through the Let Girls Learn initiative, which they launched in 2015. Let Girls Learn is a government-wide effort that will leverage the investments we have made and success we have achieved in global primary school, and expand them to help adolescent girls complete their education.
- The United States is working to address barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and participation in the workplace through the Equal Futures Partnership, which seeks to break down barriers to women’s political and economic empowerment in their countries through legal, regulatory and policy reforms. U.S. commitments to the partnership have supported women entrepreneurs and civic education and leadership development for women and girls.
- The Administration has also launched a number of regional programs to drive reforms and investments, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy initiative, the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas), and the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP). In conjunction with these regional initiatives, we are developing Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE).