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Help Wanted: Ideas to Inform White House Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Development Policy

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One month and four interagency meetings into the Presidential Study Directive (PSD-7) to review and provide strategic direction on U.S. global development policy, what do we know about what's going on?

We know the exercise includes all agencies with a stake in the development policy arena (which is many!). We know that it is not a study of foreign aid, but the entirety of U.S. development policies, programs and tools. We know the NSC is trying hard to base the deliberations less on opinion and more on analytics, data and experience from the field on what works. We know they want the group to be concrete about the specific role and comparative advantage of the U.S. government in global development. We know it will cover three main phases:
  1. The What -- what is the substance, objectives, priorities and trade-offs of U.S. development policy?
  2. The Means and Tools -- what do we need to make U.S. development policy more effective?
  3. The How -- how to organize the U.S. government to achieve the stated objectives, both in terms of structural and non-structural (better coordination, sharing of information, comparative advantage vis-à-vis other actors, etc.)?

And we all know that this is an incredibly difficult task in need of objective, bold thinking. So, who better than you guys, who follow this and care deeply about enhancing U.S. leadership on global development?

Put yourselves in the shoes of the interagency members grappling with a couple of big questions and take a crack at providing some direction:

  1. How would you describe the global development policy agenda over the past decade? What should be the agenda for USG leadership in global development policy looking ahead ten years?
  2. Moving forward, what should be the objectives and priorities of USG development policy? What trade-offs need to be considered as we seek to focus our objectives and priorities? What should be the division of labor between the U.S., other donors, multilateral institutions, and the philanthropic and private sectors?

The White House just started its public outreach on the PSD and genuinely wants input. What do we want them to hear?