SUGGESTED REVISIONS FOR THE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961
(a) FINDINGS AND POLICY. On the 50th anniversary of this Act, the Congress has determined that foreign assistance granted under this Act was intended to promote U.S. strategic interests, to build capacity and sustainability in recipient countries. Assistance under this Act was not meant to substitute for a recipient nation’s own development spending, but rather to supplement such spending, leading to creation of sustainable programs funded through internal resources. At present, the Act requires general reporting and review of programs and policies impacting development in recipient nations. It also requires specific reporting on human rights and trafficking violations, which are to serve as bar to receiving assistance under the Act. Governments engaging in gross human rights violations are prohibited from receiving assistance or security assistance under this Act, unless such assistance directly benefits the needy.
In the interests of fulfilling the goals of U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance, the Congress finds that additional measurement should be required. Such additional measurement and reporting requirements should include assessments of the provision of human services: healthcare, education and economic opportunity by governments. Metrics on these human services shall be used to determine the quality and quantity of assistance granted under this part. They should also be utilized to determine progress and milestones to be achieved within certain timeframes.
The Congress further observes that the United Nations has targeted 2015 for the achievement of eight Millennium Development Goals: (1) Ending Poverty and Hunger (2) Universal Education (3) Gender Equity in Education (4) Child Health and Reduction of Infant Mortality (5) Reduce Maternal Mortality (6) Combat HIV/AIDs and Other Diseases (7) Environmental Sustainability and (8) Global Partnership in Trade and Finance. As the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Millennium Declaration of 2000 which committed to achieving these goals by 2015, the Congress finds that there is still much ground to be covered before reaching these goals. In order to demonstrate U.S. commitment to furtherance of the Millennium goals which coincide with the goals of U.S. foreign assistance, U.S. bilateral aid policy going forward should include steps to rapidly achieve the intent of the Millennium goals.
(b) MEASUREMENT OF AID EFFECTIVENESS. No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which does not make serious and tangible efforts to ensure access to healthcare, education, economic opportunity and other basic human services to its population. Recipient governments will be responsible for demonstrating a commitment to enhancing government support for:
1) improving public health through the eradication of diseases and providing access to available medicines with specific attention to infants, children and women and showing how policies and programs are targeted at reducing infant and child mortality as well as increasing life expectancy,
2) increasing basic fundamental education for both young girls and boys including facilitating the ability of girls to attend school, ensuring availability of primary school education with adequate facilities and teachers, and developing institutional standardized testing to measure progress; and
3) providing opportunities for economic advancement through government support for participation in international microfinance programs, governmental cooperation with trade capacity building initiatives and support for private investment.
Such enhancement of programs shall be subject to verification and compliance with metrics adopted and applied by the Administrator as a material component of the assistance programs. The Administrator shall, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of State for each relevant regional bureau and Ambassador to each relevant country, determine effective milestones to be met within specified timeframes for governments receiving assistance under this part.
(c) REPORTS USED TO SHAPE FUTURE AID. The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a full and complete report regarding access to healthcare, educational and economic opportunities in countries that receive assistance under this part. The reports shall include measurements developed in consultation with metrics experts and list indicators which are agreed to be accurate measures of the health, education and economic opportunity of populations. The following general guidelines shall be utilized:
(1) Such information shall be collected on a specified timeframe taking a “snapshot” of the current conditions of the country. The metrics will then be collected on an annual basis, with comparisons made to the previous year’s data to determine if each indicator has moved forward or backward during that year.
(2) The metrics will be used to determine if the current levels of assistance are sufficient. If indicators are moving in a reverse direction, the report would include an analysis of why this may be the case. U.S. officials will then work with the foreign officials to reverse the trend.
(3) In determining how the report can be used to shape and tailor additional aid directed toward particular conditions, a country’s domestic ministries should be consulted in the process and the services of civil society receiving funding under this part should also be utilized.
(d) COLLABORATIVE ASSISTANCE. The Secretary and Administrator should direct staff to have discussions with relevant foreign government officials and local civil society to determine how and where monetary resources are being spent. The discussions should include a description of training being received from U.S., third country or international organization officials. Based on the information gathered, determinations regarding additional training and capacity building should be formulated. After reviewing data initially accumulated, timeframes should be established to reach achievable goals. With the training assistance of U.S. government officials, aid recipient governments should be required to commit to meeting these timeframes in order to continue to receiving foreign aid from particular assistance programs under this part. Conclusions should be made about the availability and effective use of resources to improve human services in each country. These conclusions should be utilized in determining the amount and type of future assistance under this part.