The preservation of leadership in global development has been a priority for U.S. administrations since World War II, based on the belief that U.S. economic assistance is an instrument for peace, prosperity, and human betterment.
Today’s era is different. For the past two years, President Donald Trump has proposed cuts to foreign assistance, but has been resisted by a bipartisan coalition in Congress. In a world where development dollars are called upon to tackle myriad challenges, questions of how aid is deployed and how it complements other sources of private and public finance in achieving development impact are crucial.
The 15th Brookings Blum Roundtable (BBR) will continue a conversation from August 2017, on challenges to and opportunities for U.S. foreign assistance and global leadership.
There is an urgency to SDG implementation. Time is running out. If the estimated trends do not change, many lives will be lost or damaged, and, in the longer-run, development trajectories for the next few decades will be adversely affected. A narrow window of opportunity that exists today is closing. If the U.S. is to exercise global leadership with its foreign assistance, it should view its contributions and support through a Sustainable Development Goals lens. This would reinforce the long-standing principle of U.S. assistance that it respect universal country ownership rather than a U.S. driven agenda.Continue Reading
The America First era brings new complexity for those of us who believe that U.S. global leadership is central to advancing America’s national interests. From engaging our NATO allies to trade alliances, the impact couldn’t be more challenging. Yet, while other international issues have struggled to bridge the partisan divide, a strong bipartisan consensus successfully pushed back against proposals that recommended dangerous cuts to U.S. tools of global engagement.Continue Reading
The Business and Sustainable Development Commission, Chaired by Lord Mark Malloch-Brown and comprised of business leaders from around the world, reports that it will likely require around $2.4 trillion a year of additional investment to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030. It also estimates that achieving those goals could open up as much as $12 trillion of market investment opportunities in four categories—food and agriculture, sustainable cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being. While that represents an enormous opportunity, it also prompts the question of what options exist to bridge the current gap in financing.Continue Reading
According to the World Bank, 2 billion people live in countries affected by fragility and conflict, and they constitute the youngest and fastest growing populations, globally. Fragile states are the primary source of historic levels of people displaced by violent conflict, which rose even further in 2017, to 68.5 million—equal to the combined populations of California, Texas, and Maryland. Today, refugee flows threaten to destabilize regional neighbors and continue to roil the politics of European allies. The challenge of state fragility, framed as both a global security threat and as the principal obstacle to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is prompting accelerated efforts to create the clear evidence and joint frameworks needed for effective action, creating an even more urgent opportunity—and necessity—to harness the current consensus and apply lessons learned.Continue Reading
Evolution within the multilateral system is essential in today’s fast-changing context. The increased ambitions of the global community and the need for global public goods, reflected in agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate accord, are creating a demand for improved results and coordination. The growing size and political influence of emerging economies, the enhanced agency of many developing countries, and an increasingly complex set of transnational issues are also reshaping the global context for multilateralism. The U.S., as an originator and investor, wields significant influence and advances its global development and strategic interests through the multilateral development system.Continue Reading
The United States has been a global leader in the development cooperation field for a long time. Thus far, despite a disturbing general attack on the rules-based international system by the current U.S. administration, country partners, international organizations, and other donors still look to the United States for leadership. Yet preeminence is ephemeral, built partly on historic inertia, partly on perception, and partly on real results. Indeed, inertia may be the key factor maintaining the U.S. position today. However, more is at play than that, including a Congress that is resisting isolationism and deep budget cuts in the foreign affairs budget accounts.Continue Reading