SID Washington Annual Conference: John Podesta Reframes MDGs for 2030

Washington, DC – PITAPOLICY, a new member to the Society for International Development, attended SID’s annual conference on Thursday, June 6th, 2013.  We were pleased to see how the conference covered politics, institutions, economics, and technology (our key themes in looking at development in the ‘pita-consuming’ region) and we have grouped the highlights across the PITAPOLICY themes for pita-consumers to comment further! The big question was: what do mean by “fragile” countries–what qualifies? As Joseph Hewitt of USAID explained, “Not absence of or , but absence of legitimacy & effectiveness.”

Our analysis: Policy, Institutions, Development, & Economic points, or PIDE POINTS, are identified! Our favorite theme revisited the age old question asked by childhood story character, Lorax, from Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax”.  The Lorax asks how will societies respond to social conscience…

**Note: Our points are italicized.  Direct quotes will be shared in quotes, unless otherwise stated.

Politics in Development:

  • We tend to correlate democrtization processes as described in “How Development Confronts Politics?”
  • It’s a given that aid from political institutions IS political.

Interests in Development:

  • As companies expand into emerging markets, they c that they need to assume development actor role.~Dan Rundy

  • If private sector takes on more of a role while expanding in2 , is it or something else?


  • Need to encourage more American presence in field to engage on in states. -Tiff


    Mismatch problem: A fragile state problem must consider how local leaders focus on humanitarian assistance to maintain political career survival, while many donors focus on #sustdev. #mismatch


Technology in Development:

  • U.S. Department of State is supporting opposition via 1) a database of over 500 Syrians on ground to connect 2) mass media dissemination- Ast Secrty

Analysis in Development:

  • In 1991 identified a gamechanger: found that political is central to socio-economic Carothers  
  •  Since 2011, what we’ve seen from the is the impact of growing urbanization.
  • Perhaps, investments in education AND urban environments are needed two create resilience.  Think slum areas concentrated near huge hubs of unemployment.

Society for International Development

Welcome and Introduction: Rodney Bent, SID-Washington 2013 Conference Chair

Opening Keynote Address: John Podesta, Chair, Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund: John Podesta Reframes MDGs for 2030
  • “Progress towards Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not evenly achieved”
  • “Our report to for next set of recognized global move away from North-South dichotomy.”
  • Many MDGs implemented in “silos”
  • “Face of Poverty has changed since 2003, when MDGs first drafted”
  • More than 40 percent of global population lives in post-conflict, “fragile” states.
  • There may be a tension between the aspirations of not leaving people behind versus the practicality of achieving new MDGs for 2013.
  • PIDE POINT: Podesta recognizes that the MDGs must move away from ‘North-South’ dichotomy –esepecially  within regions (eg. MENA).  For example, partnerships would need to develop from within countries, like Egypt, that are reviewing its economic and social programs.
Concurrent Breakout Sessions (We focused on the Fragile Countries session since we spoke with one of the speakers after the presentation concluded.)
Panel 1: Building a Resilient City in Emerging Economies: Sustainable Development Interventions for Climate, Health, and Energy

Cities have become humankind’s permanent and irreversible home— 50% of humans now live in cities, 60% will do so in 2030, and perhaps 85% in 2100. Nearly every country in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has already become majority urban, or is in the process of doing so. This urbanization trend includes the world’s poor, the majority of whom will live in cities within two decades. While cities give the urban poor new opportunities, they
also create problems: one billion people live in slums without basic services such as clean water, and many suffer
from widespread hunger, violence, hazard exposure, and infectious diseases. This panel will bring together public,
private, and NGO experts to discuss the greatest development challenge of the 21st century — how to alleviate
conditions for the urban poor. Questions will include:
o How does urbanization change the development equation? How are cities different from rural
o What are the greatest challenges and opportunities presented by mass urbanization?
o What are rapidly-growing cities’ most pressing needs when it comes to development and
 poverty alleviation?
o What are best practices for managing transportation, job creation, health, sanitation , energy, and water demands?
Moderator:Peter Engelke, Senior Fellow, Strategic Foresight Initiative, The Atlantic Council
Speakers: Farley R. Cleghorn, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Futures Group International
Joseph P. Danko, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Urban Programs, CH2M Hill Dr. René Hohmann, Urban Specialist, Cities AllianceDr.
Christine Sow, Vice President, International Programs, Plan International USA
  • World Bank Spring Meetings released a specific report on the growing urban-rural dynamic. 
  • PIDE POINT: Given the growth of urbanization, note how the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt emerged in the more urbanized parts of the country.

Panel 2: A Productive New Direction for the US Food Assistance Program–or a Proposal that is (Again) “Dead on Arrival”?

The Obama Administration has included in its FY 2014 budget submission a proposal that would reduce the
volume of in-kind commodity assistance shipped from the U.S. on U.S.-flagged vessels and increase the volume
purchased in local or regional markets, mostly in Africa and Asia. This is not a new proposal, as the Bush Administration requested something similar, but it may be the first not be marked “dead on arrival” in the U.S. Congressional in-box.
o What has changed?
o What has not changed?
Moderator: Connie Veillette,Senior Fellow, Lugar Center
Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, Catholic Relief Services
Lucas Koach, Policy Director, Food for the Hungry
Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy, Food Security and Hunger, Agriculture, & Trade, Oxfam America
Beth Tritter, Managing Director, Glover Park Group
  • This panel reviewed issues from several perspectives given the largely controversial book “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo as well as in the debate “dead on arrival.”
  • PITAPOLICY Founder, Mehrunisa Qayyum, commented on the controversy in a March article:
Panel 3: Fragile States: Why We Should Care
In geopolitics, how much we “care” is measured by the level of funding and political capital spent, both of which
are finite resources. Iraq and Afghanistan have received massive amounts as Tier 1 priority foreign policy issues,
whereas Somalia, Congo, Haiti, and even Sudan (among others)–all fragile states–receive only token resources
and no-cost diplomatic platitudes.
 o What are the costs and benefits of the United States providing resources in an attempt to reverse or remedy fragile states? How do we weigh     potentially competing security and humanitarian needs?
 o What is the track record for the success and failure of US and international engagements with failed or failing states? What are the fundamental ingredients that are required for progress toward stability and recovery?
 o What are the “bright spots” for intervention in these difficult areas?
Moderator: Melanie Greenberg, President and CEO,Alliance for Peacebuilding
Joseph Hewitt, Technical Team Leader, Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Ambassador William Garvelink, Senior Advisor for Global Strategy, International Medical Corps
Haruyuki Shimada, Advisor, South Asia Department, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
J. Randall Tift, Senior Policy Advisor, World Vision
  • “Linear solutions can make the problem worse in “~Greenberg
  • Fragility is not the “absence of democracy or economic systems”. RATHER it is “absence of legitimacy and effectiveness” in interactions between state and society — whereas legitimacy is the fairness of the system, and effectiveness in outcomes.
  • Make investments in ‘learning agenda’
  • “Partnerships are incumbent for civil society to organize”~Hewitt
  • Tift highlighted 10 World Vision lessons learned on fragile countries, such as “1) Fragile states are not helpless, 2) Fragile states are not passive, just disempowered; 3) Do not limit American staff from participating in field programs, among a few others.
  • PIDE POINT: Sometimes we aggregate data so much that we miss local area developments.
  • PIDE POINT: Disagree somewhat with Tift’s recommendation “Must blend security with counter-terrorism goals with the humanitarian goals” because private sector and NGOs will become even more dependent on outside assistance for security, which creates more tension.

Panel 4: Contracting Procurement Reform

USAID Forward is reforming the way America’s largest foreign aid agency does business. Other aid organizations
are also in the midst of implementing reforms that involve new strategies such as funding developing country
governments, businesses and NGOs directly. This panel will look at key policy issues, streamlining of timing for
procurement, outsourcing, and the role of small business.
o Do procurement reforms diminish the United States’ unique “whole of nation” approach to
international development?
 o What about other aid organizations? With AusAID potentially doubling its aid by 2016, how
can we measure progress to determine the total impact?
 o What about quality? Have USAID, AusAID and others surveyed their host nation partners to
see if their programs are effective?
 o Regarding contracting reform localization, does it have to be “either/or” with respect to local
and international contractors? Or are there ways to find synergies between these groups?
Moderator: Jim Kunder, Senior Fellow, German MarshallFund of the United States
Gregory Adams, Director of Aid Effectiveness, Oxfam America
Kathleen Flanagan, President and CEO, Abt Associates
Chris Tinning, Minister- Counsellor, Washington, Aus tralian Agency for International Development (Aus AID)
Eric Postel, Assistant Administrator for Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and
Environment, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • PIDE POINT: Outsourcing security to private sector security was not discussed.
  • More discussion of the procurements challenges in latter keynote speeches.
Presentation of 2013Andrew E. Rice Award for Leadership and Innovation by a Young Professional in International
  • Awarded to two from the Middle East & North Africa region working in Washington, DC: Morocco and Syria
  • Amazing how Abdallah’s work collaborated with civil society organizations on the ground in Syria to obtain over 200,000 documents to illustrate human rights violations, which we argue in our Huff Post Blog is the key driver for holding war criminals accountable in fragile countries, like Syria. Source:
Luncheon Keynote Address Henrietta H. Fore Chairman and CEO, Holsman International, former
Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Dual contradiction of USAID versus the private sector dollars.
  • PIDE POINT: “In “de-risking environments” we need to incentivize foreign direct investment, decrease “rent-seeking” and balance state and private donorship.”
Thomas Carothers, Vice-President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, co-author ofDevelopment Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution
  • Development aid confronts politics–there’s no such thing as “nonpoliticized aid” because we are taking into accounts how our actions and aid giving will be perceived politically.  “We are thinking and acting political”.
  • “Almost” inserted into the title of book and talk because there is a potential of bringing in socio-economic reasons to engage.
  • We’ve shifted from the 60s and 70s model of “apolitical roots in providing only technical assistance” and towards the 90s trend where every significant US donor follows USAID in reviewing political development indicators.  These include governance, corruption, and rule of law.
  • Two impulses are driving the “Lorax” in Development: 1) End of the Cold War, less suspicious about donor activism; and 2) historic shift towards democritization with the language of human rights appealing to societies that are not as attracted political ideology discussions. 
  • But at least they converge on four words: accountability, participation, transparency, and INCLUSION.  World Bank, DFID, and others refer to these as “Demand-Side Reforms” as they realized that resistance to change comes from those power-holders in fragile countries.
  • INCLUSION received, and is receiving more attention, in the Social Safety Networks (SSN) discussions and recent World Bank Report for the MENA region.
Ambassador Rick Barton, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization, U.S. Department of State
  • “How to give government an ear when international development community is busy giving everyone a voice!”
Plenary Session: Governance: The Diverse Demand Side
Conflicting pressures for progressive change from both the bottom up and top down can cause problems for
everyone involved in governance. How can all parties come together to work towards governance transformation? From the demand side, we will look at private equity, natural resource management, and telecommunications and their requirements for and impact on governance. This panel will address questions such as:
oWhat do those in private equity need to see before they will invest? What does the “Lorax” who speaks for the people whose lives will inevitably change feel is needed in governance?
o How does the most powerful game changer in recent times –social media and other telecommunications advances –affect governance?
o And what about from the top down? What is the point of view of the government leaders?
Moderator: Larry Garber, Deputy Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
Teresa Barger, CEO and CIO, Cartica Capital
Charles Benjamin, President, Near East Foundation
Deborah Kimble, Practice Area Director for Governance and Civil Society, Creative Associates
Harris Khalique, AAWAZ Team Leader, DAI
  • “Securities laws are fine, but problem is with enforcement” ~Barger
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) climate needs 1) laws, 2) enforcement, and 3) feedback loops to ensure accountability. ~Garber
  • “Rural communities have a remarkable capacity for self-governance regarding natural resources.” Benjamin
  • PIDE POINT: Rural communities need a sapce for self-governance, so consider different ways of codifying customary law when it comes to water rights.  Note Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s current water disputes.
Closing Keynote Address: Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • “Private sector has to be involved with taking things to scale”
  • Inclusivity means groups need to be reflected in improved housing, employment, etc…in other words “where all the groups are included as planners”.  There’s not “About them without them”.
  • PIDE POINT: Inclusivity and donor assistance was linked towards US strategic interests when Steinberg commented that our fastest growing trade countries are those  that received U.S. aid. This has implications for other types of budgetary discussions as U.S. assistance funding has decreased in the last decade.
  • For questions on points above, feel free to tweet us @PITAPOLICY or email queries to Thanks!





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