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The Barer study: "A New Model for U.S. Foreign Assistance"

There has been an on-going dialogue attempting to reform U.S. foreign aid provided by the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (and now more widely by other USG agencies as well). A number of studies and congressional testimony by various institutions and individuals discuss such reform. Among the most often cited of the recommendations are things such as increased interagency and executive-legislative branch coordination, raising the status of development in U.S. policy, establishing a coordinated national aid strategy, giving USAID cabinet-level status, utilizing more field input in decision-making and increasing civilian resources. There have been efforts to categorize the different types of aid into various subject areas of importance and allocated funding in that manner. The common factor among all of these suggestions is that the changes are ones that to be implemented by the U.S. government side.

The Barer Institute has formulated recommendations which focus on a new approach to the delivery of human services. The Barer study, "A New Model for U.S. Foreign Assistance" reviews the current status of foreign assistance, proposes revisions to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and makes other recommendations on revising assistance policy. The key finding is that recipient governments should be responsible for demonstrating a commitment to enhancing government support for the provision of human services encompassing healthcare, education, and economic development. These enhancements should be subject to verification and compliance with metrics adopted and applied jointly by the State Department and USAID as a material component of the assistance programs. This can be done in a collaborative manner with assistance from the U.S. government and civil society.

Stan Barer, Senator Richard Lugar and Manisha Singh
Stan Barer, Senator Richard Lugar and Manisha Singh

Representatives of the Barer Institute recently traveled to Washington DC to meet with key policy makers to discuss U.S. government policies and present the Barer study. Meetings were held with Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his staff, and Senator Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his staff. The Committee is currently undertaking a review of foreign assistance and the Barer study was submitted as part of the review. The Institute also briefed Washington Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Budget committees among others, and Senator Maria Cantwell, a member of the Senate Finance and Commerce, Science and Transportation committees, among others. On the House side, Barer representatives met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman’s staff, who are undertaking a similar review of U.S. foreign aid and received the Barer study as well. On the executive branch side, Barer representatives had conversations with officials from the State Department, briefed key officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development including the AID Administrator as well as the AID Counselor.

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