USAID development and humanitarian policies and strategies are developed in close partnership among Washington bureaus and independent offices, international Missions, and other partners. They articulate the Agency's positions in key areas, based on evidence and analysis; identify priority directions and actions; and provide guidance to staff and implementing partners overseas. All current development and humanitarian policy documents are listed in the USAID Policy Registry.

U.S. Development Policy in Context

The USAID development and humanitarian policy supports the objectives of the National Security Strategy and other strategic documents, such as the Department of State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan, that aim to strengthen our diplomatic and development capabilities to better meet our foreign policy goals. U.S. development cooperation—inclusive of humanitarian and other crisis-response efforts—is a pillar of our national security, international strength, and principled engagement abroad. USAID policies and strategies expand upon our development and humanitarian assistance priorities and further support our efforts to achieve the Agency's mission.

Policies and Strategies

The scope, intent and composition of USAID policies and strategies vary according to subject matter and issue area. They are intended to convey the thinking of the Agency’s leadership,  guide decisions and actions to achieve evidence-based development and humanitarian outcomes, and improve the effectiveness of USAID’s development programs. Policies and strategies are developed according to a common set of procedures (ADS 200) that ensure they are grounded in the best available evidence, reflect good development practice and clearly articulate the agency's collective vision. They illustrate USAID's understanding of the nature of challenges within a certain theme and the best approaches for accomplishing Agency goals in this area. Where necessary, USAID provides more operational guidance on implementing specific policies or strategies through internal regulations.

USAID Policy Framework

The USAID Policy Framework: Driving Progress Beyond Programs lays out a collective vision for international development, translates U.S. national security and foreign policy goals into Agency priorities, and promotes coherence among our development, humanitarian, and crisis-response policies. The Policy Framework establishes three overarching priorities to drive progress beyond programs: first, to confront the greatest challenges of our time; second, to achieve lasting development progress; and third, to invest in USAID’s enduring effectiveness. These priorities are connected: achieving our long-term mission depends on confronting the greatest impediments to development today; marshaling action to address them demands more inclusive partnerships and harmonized efforts that drive lasting change; and realizing this commitment takes investment in our people and the streamlining of our processes.

Policy Registry

USAID is required to maintain a list of development policies, strategies and vision statements in a Policy Registry per ADS 200. The documents listed in this Registry guide USAID’s programming; ensuring it is responsive to current priorities and reflective of global good practice in providing development and humanitarian assistance. The Policy Registry aligns with the five global challenges in USAID’s Policy Framework: Driving Progress Beyond Programs.

Challenge: Respond to complex emergencies, build peace and resilience, and invest in lasting food security.

Challenge: Help countries withstand the effects of a changing climate and secure a net-zero future

Interagency Policies and Strategies related to this policy priority include:

President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE)

Challenge: Stem the tide of authoritarianism, counter corruption, fight digital repression and disinformation, and spur democratic renewal

Interagency Policies and Strategies related to this policy priority include: 

Challenge: Bolster health security, improve primary care, and reverse the decline in global life expectancy

Challenge: Address economic headwinds by promoting inclusive economic growth

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