As Administrator Rajiv Shah, who testified before you earlier today has stated our mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. Our best partners in this effort are democratic societies – mature governments, active civil societies and dynamic private sectors – because their commitment to growing their economies and investing in their people makes our investments go farther. Increasingly, we have such partners in the Latin American and Caribbean region, where sensible policies and smart donor investments have helped fuel impressive social, political and economic progress.
This is an unprecedented moment for our nation—one where we can again lead the world in achieving goals once deemed too ambitious, too dangerous, or too complex. In doing so, we can protect our national security and spur economic growth. But above all, we can express the generosity and goodwill that unite us as a people.
As President Obama said in the 2013 State of the Union address, “We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all—not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it’s the right thing to do.” As we step forward to answer the President’s call with renewed energy and focus, we remain committed to engaging the American people and serving their interests by leading the world to end extreme poverty.
Four years ago, President Obama set forth a new vision of a results-driven USAID that would lead the world in development. We have since risen to this challenge, pioneering a new model of development that brings a greater emphasis on partnerships, innovation, and results. We are guided in these efforts by a new mission statement: we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.
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.
Last updated: November 24, 2014