Wednesday, April 15, 2015
USAID is the largest provider of food assistance in the world and we are seeking to maintain our leadership role – to be the best at what we do – by evolving our programs with the times. So today I would like to share with you the evolution of food aid and how evidenced-based learning can improve our programs. I also want to highlight how we are currently using the flexibility provided through the International Disaster Assistance account and how the critical reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill are enabling USAID to reach more people quickly and cost-effectively. These reforms serve as the basis for USAID to continue to pursue additional flexibility in food crises to use the right tool at the right time.
USAID’s mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In Central America, USAID assistance has been an important part of this effort. For example, past programming has expanded financing for small businesses and supported macroeconomic policies to reduce inequities and improve access to quality health and education. We have seen political, social, and economic advances in countries like Costa Rica and Panama. However, in recent years, social development and economic growth in Central America have been stymied by a dramatic rise in crime and violence—particularly in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This insecurity is rooted in deep-seated issues of social and economic inequity, weak institutions of criminal justice, the failure of the region’s governments and private sector to expand economic opportunity for vast segments of the population, and increases in gang violence and international crime. As these long-standing challenges in Central America worsened, we saw the consequences manifest at our border last year when more than fifty thousand unaccompanied children left their homes in Central America to make the dangerous journey to the United States.
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $383.4 million for South Asia reflects our sustained commitment to the region through a steady level of funding over the past few fiscal years. In more than 100 countries around the world, including 32 in Asia, U.S. development assistance plays a vital role in building the foundations for lasting economic prosperity, fostering democratic values and combatting the causes of instability that pose threats not only in far-off places, but also here on our own shores — threats such as profound human suffering, more frequent and intense storms that erase gains and set back whole societies, and weak systems of governance that continually fail to meet the needs of the people. USAID is expanding stable, free societies that provide lasting alternatives to otherwise destabilizing forces, while also creating markets and trade partners for the United States and fostering goodwill abroad — all with less than 1 percent of the total federal budget.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
While visiting Ghana in 2009, President Obama observed that, “Development depends on good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That’s the change that can unlock Africa’s potential.” Consistent with the President’s vision, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) promotes better governance as an integral part of our development agenda. But the real story isn’t one of our technical assistance or support for elections. The real story lies in the committed African men and women that are working every day to strengthen their nations’ democratic institutions and processes. According to a 2014 Afrobarometer survey, seven out of ten Africans prefer democracy to other political systems. These individuals, growing in number, making their voices heard -- through elections and through civil society organizations -- are the faces of democracy in Africa.
Ultimately, our investment in development represents the vanguard of our economic strength, moral leadership, and national security. At the same time, it advances an unprecedented global fight to end extreme poverty. Since the dawn of humanity, extreme poverty has crowded at the heels of progress—stifling hopes and undermining growth across the centuries. But today, we stand within reach of a world that was simply once unimaginable: a world without extreme poverty and its most devastating consequences, including chronic hunger and child death. As President Obama said at the United Nations General Assembly, “America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030. We will do our part to help people feed themselves, power their economies, strengthen their policies, and care for their sick. If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity.
Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and from the American people, USAID is responding to unprecedented development challenges, including some of the most pressing events unfolding on the world stage today. By partnering to end extreme poverty, reduce state fragility, and promote resilient democratic societies, we help developing countries transform into peaceful, open, and flourishing partners for our nation.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
The Syrian crisis is the largest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time. The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has exacerbated an already protracted crisis in Syria, where the Assad regime has waged an unrelenting campaign of bloodshed against its own people for four years.
The humanitarian situation grows more complex every day. There are more than 12.2 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance— more than half of Syria’s pre-war population, and equal to the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles. According to the United Nations (UN), Syrians are now the largest refugee population in the world under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. One in five people displaced globally is Syrian.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
In our fight against Ebola, we have seen great suffering, but also scenes of survival and resilience. Patients can beat this disease. The U.S. government in collaboration with our international partners, including many volunteers and NGOs, can beat this disease. To get to zero, we must remain vigilant. This unprecedented epidemic has required a herculean global effort. And we have seen how America’s leadership galvanized a worldwide response from governments, NGOs, and volunteers. Ebola underscores the importance of tackling fragility and extreme poverty in these poor countries. It quickly debilitates weak institutions and systems, wreaking havoc in communities least prepared to fend off the disease. We strive to not only reach our goal of getting to zero Ebola cases in West Africa, but strengthen health systems, enable societies to fend off future threats, and allow those who lost ground to return to a path of prosperity and stability. These efforts are core to USAID’s mission to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. They are also critical to America’s interests and security at home and abroad.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Forging strong partnerships will be critical to meet the immense challenges and needs ahead in Iraq and Syria. As part of our commitment to ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies, USAID will continue to provide life-saving, needs-based assistance and protect and empower women and minorities, while pushing to secure access to additional populations currently trapped in areas controlled by ISIL. Our hearts are with the thousands of people who remain trapped in unsustainable situations, and we are gravely concerned for the health and safety of these displaced men, women, and children, besieged by acts of violence committed by ISIL, the Syrian regime, and other extremists.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
This unprecedented crisis underscores the importance of tackling fragility and extreme poverty. Ebola preys on weak systems, wreaking havoc in communities least prepared to fend off the disease. That is why we must work not only to control the epidemic at its source in West Africa, but to bolster our global health systems. These investments are critical if we are to avoid having future outbreaks that follow a similarly devastating and costly path. This effort is core to USAID’s mission to both end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies that advance our global security and prosperity.
Last updated: May 24, 2016