Thursday, October 31, 2013
I last testified on the Syria crisis for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs seven months ago and since then we have seen another 30,000 deaths, reflecting the staggering escalation of violence. In just the last year, the number of reported deaths has tripled from 26,000 to more than 100,000. The number in need inside Syria jumped from 2.5 million people to more than 6.8 million—roughly the equivalent of the combined populations of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut. And now with over two million refugees, a national crisis has fully evolved into a regional crisis, putting severe strains on vulnerable communities of neighboring countries.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Since the start of the January 2011 revolution, USAID’s portfolio in Egypt has focused on responding to the Egyptian people’s demands for jobs, accountability, and rights. In the wake of the events of July 3, these priorities remain intact. We will continue to work with the Egyptian people to address their legitimate aspirations for economic opportunities and democratic governance.
USAID’s assistance program in Egypt is a cornerstone of our bilateral relationship, and we are proud of the accomplishments we have made over the last thirty years. Just to highlight a few accomplishments, USAID has achieved significant impact in increasing access to education. Our recently completed early grade reading program improved fluency by 91 percent in pilot schools, and the scaled-up project reached 1.4 million students in all grade-one classrooms across Egypt. Our assistance has awarded 185,000 scholarships to girls and built nearly 100 schools (serving over 44,000 students) in underserved communities throughout the country.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
As is well known, Haiti has long struggled with serious development challenges. The devastating 2010 earthquake, coupled with periods of political unrest, other natural disasters, and limited capacity of government institutions, exacerbated these long-standing issues. USAID’s program has seen notable successes in overcoming these challenges. However, the long-term sustainability of these programs and the development of Haiti depends on the Government of Haiti’s ability to maintain the advances made through these activities and to take the sometimes difficult steps needed so it can better meet the needs of their citizens.
Now, two years later, Somalia has its first effective central government since 1991, with democratically elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a new Somali Federal Parliament. Somalis have worked hard to establish the foundation of their state based on significant efforts to forge a national consensus. And I am very pleased to report that I recently returned from an international meeting on Somalia focused on peace and prosperity, not famine. In Brussels on September 16, 58 countries and 11 international organizations gathered in support of a compact that outlines a roadmap forward. Emerging from 20 years of conflict will be a long and bumpy road, but Somalia is now heading in the right direction, with the best chance in 20 years to move toward a better future.
Today I am pleased to talk to you about this opportunity, the new frameworks and international partnerships in support of Somalia, and what USAID is doing to help Somalia transition out of conflict, fragility, and chronic poverty.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Humanitarian assistance will not end the bloodshed in Syria. Yet it is saving lives and helping alleviate the very real pressures this protracted conflict has put on the lives of everyday people. As we continue to work with the international community toward a political solution, the United States remains fully committed to a strong and flexible humanitarian response—and to coordinating closely with our international development partners—to help the Syrian people and Syria’s neighbors endure this crisis. And, we must continue to press for greater access and security for aid workers. We continue to be deeply appreciative of Congressional support to provide the resources that makes our humanitarian assistance work possible in the region.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Since the political and economic crisis of 2008, Zimbabwe has been in the process of a protracted and difficult transition toward economic normalcy and greater democracy. But the nation’s intermittent progress has often been matched by daunting setbacks. While the economy has slowly stabilized since the disastrous crisis of 2008, the recent, deeply flawed elections represent a disturbing political and democratic setback from the cautious and sober optimism five years ago at the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU).
Since the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2008, the United States and other international donors have played an important role in promoting reforms and providing humanitarian and development assistance in order to promote economic and social stability. Although we’ve seen measurable progress in certain areas, the recent elections in Zimbabwe raise concerns regarding how the United States should continue to support democratic and economic development.
In my testimony, I will address USAID’s approach to water management, the funding of the Agency’s water programs, and the impact of the water programs. In so doing, I will discuss USAID water programs in Africa, as well as the Agency’s newly released Water and Development Strategy, which will guide future development and implementation of USAID water programs.
A key aspect of the Agency’s past and future strategic approach to meeting health needs through our water programs is increased coordination with ongoing Agency efforts, particularly our food security and health programs. We believe the impact of USAID funded water programs on human health has been positive. In this regard, from FY 2006 to FY 2012, the Agency has supported water programs which have provided water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to approximately 50 million people. Going forward, we expect to build upon that impact as we begin to implement the first ever USAID Water and Development Strategy.
Rebalance to Asia III: Protecting the Environment and Ensuring Food and Water Security in East Asia and the Pacific
The death last year of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi marked the end of an era in Ethiopia. Fully half of the population has never known another leader or another style of governance, and his passing brought with it both hope and trepidation for the country’s future. Ten months later, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) remains firmly in control of all organs of government. This includes the Parliament, which selected a new Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, and Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, during an extraordinary session on September 21, 2012, marking Ethiopia’s first peaceful political transition in modern history. It is significant that neither Hailemariam nor Demeke is a member of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), which led Ethiopia since the 1991 overthrow of the Mengistu communist regime, nor are they members of the Orthodox Church, unlike all of their predecessors.
Last year, less than one year after the separation of South Sudan had brought hope for a better way forward, I testified before the House and Senate on a worrisome set of trends emerging across Sudan and South Sudan. Unfortunately, the news remains grim. Millions of people in both countries continue to suffer from the effects of ongoing violence and extreme poverty, and we are seeing some of the worst humanitarian conditions in several years in Darfur, the Two Areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and Jonglei state in South Sudan. Conflict is escalating and affecting communities on both sides of the north-south border. As my colleague Larry Andre has noted, the U.S. government continues to prioritize resolution of this crisis as a principal foreign policy goal, with focused diplomatic initiatives and humanitarian assistance. In the face of continued challenges to reaching the most vulnerable, USAID maintains an unwavering commitment to help the people of Sudan and South Sudan. We remain firmly committed to doing all we can to meet growing needs and, at the same time, help promote a lasting peace.
Last updated: July 22, 2014