September 23, 2010

US Policy: A New, Much Improved US Approach to International Development & Assistance

Remarks by President Barack Obama at the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit
Redefining "Development":  "For too long, we’ve measured our efforts by the dollars we spent and the food and medicines that we delivered. But aid alone is not development. Development is helping nations to actually develop - moving from poverty to prosperity. And we need more than just aid to unleash that change. We need to harness all the tools at our disposal - from our diplomacy to our trade policies to our investment policies.

The Ultimate Goal of Development:  Offering Pathways Out of Poverty:  "Second, we are changing how we view the ultimate goal of development. Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn’t always improved those societies over the long term. Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for decades. That’s not development, that’s dependence, and it’s a cycle we need to break. Instead of just managing poverty, we have to offer nations and peoples a path out of poverty.  ...  But the purpose of development - what’s needed most right now - is creating the conditions where assistance is no longer needed. So we will seek partners who want to build their own capacity to provide for their people. We will seek development that is sustainable."

Emphasize Broad-based Economic Growth:  "This brings me to a third pillar of our new approach. To unleash transformational change, we’re putting a new emphasis on the most powerful force the world has ever known for eradicating poverty and creating opportunity."  ...  "(T)here are certain ingredients upon which sustainable growth and lasting development depends:  encouraging entrepreneurship; investing in infrastructure; expanding trade; welcoming investment; accountability in government; and investing in the health and education, and the rights of women."

Governments Can't Do It Alone:  "Finally, let me say this. No one nation can do everything everywhere and still do it well. To meet our goals, we must be more selective and focus our efforts where we have the best partners and where we can have the greatest impact. And just as this work cannot be done by any one government, it can’t be the work of governments alone. In fact, foundations and private sector and NGOs are making historic commitments that have redefined what’s possible."

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