With the release of the “Strategy on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance” earlier this year, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presented a reformulation of its traditional approach in these key areas of development. Among the strategy’s new objectives is to “foster greater accountability of institutions and leaders to citizens and the law,” which USAID plans to achieve by integrating assistance for elections, civil society and media, governance, rule of law and anti-corruption into a new systemic approach. In addition, USAID aims to leverage high-impact partnerships, such as the Open Government Partnership, and harness game-changing innovations in information technology and performance-based governance to make public data more accessible and to empower citizens to push for greater governmental responsiveness to their needs and concerns.
On December 17, the Development Assistance and Governance Initiative at Brookings hosted an event on the implications of the new USAID strategy as well as the contours of global accountability efforts. USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein provided remarks on how U.S. foreign assistance programs are addressing the issues of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law worldwide. A panel discussion followed and included: Warren Krafchik, director of the International Budget Partnership; Sarah Mendelson, deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance; and David Tolbert, president of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Brookings Senior Fellow George Ingram moderated the discussion and Brookings Acting Vice President of Foreign Policy Ted Piccone provided introductory remarks.