Our work in Afghanistan is emblematic of our agency’s overall mission: USAID partners to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. USAID’s role in Afghanistan is to promote a stable, inclusive and increasingly prosperous country. During the past decade, Afghanistan has made remarkable development gains across multiple sectors, thanks to the whole-of-government efforts of the United States, along with our international partners and the Afghan people.
As you may know, at least 165 million children worldwide are stunted, or have short stature resulting from chronic under-nutrition. New evidence shows that the effects of stunting are even more far reaching than we realized, with implications on many aspects of the lives of individual survivors and the countries they live in. Stunting leads to irreversible cognitive impairment and poor health over the lifespan. Each year, under-nutrition in all forms is the underlying cause of 3.1 million child deaths or 45% of all child deaths worldwide. It leads to higher health care costs, increased mortality and lower productivity.
This transition period is a pivotal moment for Afghanistan, in anticipation of which USAID has been planning and adjusting its programming to maximize sustainability, oversight and accountability. Throughout our efforts, we are applying important lessons from the past twelve years in Afghanistan, as well as from other high-risk environments in which USAID has worked.
We understand fully that the fiscal reality our nation faces at home means that resources available for Afghanistan will decline over time. Weaning Afghanistan from unsustainable levels of assistance is necessary for us, and essential for them. To achieve this without triggering a crisis, we must remain a strong partner and continue to provide assistance in areas critical to Afghan development and stability. To do this with fewer resources, we are making tough decisions and prioritizing investments that have the greatest potential for long term sustainability. As USAID navigates through the 2014 transition period, we are committed to expending every effort to safeguard taxpayer funds and ensure that the development progress in Afghanistan is maintained and made durable.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Our support to advance freedom in closed societies is a long-term endeavor. Indeed, I have been involved in this work virtually my entire professional career. As a scholar, implementer, activist, and now as an official of the Obama Administration, I have always been humbled by how hard this work is, and how brave our colleagues are who risk their lives on the front lines of freedom and democracy every day.
This work is a reflection not only of American values but also of universal values. We are at a pivotal moment in the struggle to advance democracy and human rights around the world.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The U.S. government, including many members of Congress, has been a strong supporter of the welfare of the people of South Sudan for decades—throughout Sudan’s civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement period, and since independence in 2011. We are all deeply alarmed by the horrific violence now threatening their hard-won struggle for independence—especially today, which marks the third anniversary of the conclusion of South Sudan’s referendum, in which an overwhelming 99 percent of the South Sudanese people voted to form the world’s youngest nation. The people of South Sudan have endured far too many years of conflict and bloodshed to see peace slip away.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The U.S. government, including many members of Congress, has been a strong supporter of the welfare of the people of South Sudan for decades—throughout Sudan’s civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement period, and since independence in 2011. We are all deeply alarmed by the horrific violence now threatening their hard-won struggle for independence—especially today, which marks just the third anniversary of South Sudan’s referendum, in which an overwhelming 99 percent of the South Sudanese people voted to form the world’s youngest nation. The people of South Sudan have endured far too many years of conflict and bloodshed to see peace slip away.
The outbreak of hostilities on December 15 has since erupted into heavy fighting across seven of South Sudan’s 10 states. This fighting is the result of longstanding, deeply rooted grievances in a fragile new state with nascent institutions not yet able to deliver justice or services to its people. Coupled with an unresolved power struggle that has ignited tensions along ethnic lines, we are now seeing a vicious cycle of targeted killings.
As we celebrate the start of 2014, and a new year, the Syrian people find themselves in their third year of an escalating war. In just the last year, the number of people displaced inside Syria has quadrupled from 1.5 million to more than 6.5 million. More Syrians are now internally displaced from their homes than anywhere else in the world. An additional 2.3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety. More than 9.3 million people—over 40 percent of Syria’s population—are now in need of humanitarian assistance.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Since its independence from France in 1960, the CAR has been one of the poorest, most unstable countries in the world. According to the United Nations Development Program, its indicators in health, education, gender equality, income, and trade measure not only well below global averages but even remarkably below the standard for “low human development.” Successive autocratic governments punctuated by political instability and conflict have only exacerbated the effect of poverty on Central Africans. It is in this context that the current crisis developed and because of this context that the emergency in the CAR has rapidly escalated and stymied the delivery of assistance to those most affected by it.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Afghanistan 2014: Year of Transition
Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Members of the Committee, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify before you today to discuss the role of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in advancing U.S. Government policy through USAID’s civilian assistance program during the transition in Afghanistan. It is an honor to appear before you today with Ambassador Dobbins and Deputy Assistant Secretary Dumont.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Continued U.S. engagement is critical to Afghanistan’s stability and to protecting the vital interests of our own country. Improving governance, creating economic opportunity, and supporting civil society are critical to solidifying our military gains and advancing our political and diplomatic goals for Afghanistan and the region. In order to achieve these goals, USAID has reoriented its assistance program to lessen its stabilization work and place an even greater emphasis on long-term, sustainable development programming.
Last updated: October 31, 2014