Washington D.C.- May 21st, 2015
The President’s Global Development Council (GDC) was established by Executive Order in 2012 to inform and advise the President on U.S. global development policies and expand the external perspective on the global development agenda pursued by the U.S. government The council is made up of members appointed by the President from a range of sectors and is supported by Executive Director Jayne Thomisee. It is led by Chair Mohamed A. El-Erian, member of the Allianz International Executive Board, Chief Economic Advisor to its Management Board, and former CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO, and Vice Chair James Manyika, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute and Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company.
On May 15, 2015, during its second public meeting, the GDC released its second report, detailing the following recommendations to advance the White House’s approach to meet the Post 2015 Development Agenda:
- Further galvanizing the private sector
- Promoting sustainable growth while building resilience to climate change
- Driving innovation for development results
- Increasing collaborative resource mobilization for development
- Further catalyzing economic opportunities for women and youth, especially in megacities
In the report, the GDC highlights how the U.S. is leading by example with various global initiatives, such as the Global Climate Change Initiative and Feed the Future. It also describes many ongoing development activities across the U.S. Government that are dedicated to advancing these five recommendations. These include:
- PEPFAR, December 2014: PEPFAR, launched in partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation, a $210 million DREAMS partnership was established to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in up to 10 Sub-Saharan African countries. While it is in the early stages, PEPFAR has helped reduce annual HIV infections globally by about 40%.
- Support and implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation activities in the agricultural sector for low-income countries through partnerships with multi-laterals such as IFAS, CIFs and GAFSP.
- In 2010, the Administration prioritized youth engagement through different programs such as Young African Leaders Initiative (2010), Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2013), and the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (2015). These programs seek to invest in the next generation of leaders and strengthen ties between the U.S. and other nations.
- The GDC is developing Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE). They are physical entrepreneurial community centers tailored to a country’s specific economic concerns, which provide women with the education and resources necessary to support their needs to start and grow their own businesses.
The GDC’s priority of inclusive development highlights several synergies with the work of The Hunger Project: the use of evidence-based methodologies, collaborative resource mobilization, and the focus on the challenges of the most marginalized, especially women and youth as each account for 50% of the world’s population. The GDC believes the U.S., as well as developing countries, have an important role to play for development: they must go “beyond aid,” and seek to use more modern and inclusive approaches to development.
While the initiatives in the GDC’s report are broad and thorough, there still remain additional recommendations to implement a comprehensive development agenda. Attendees encouraged the GDC to prioritize the strengthening of local governments via engagement and empowerment of marginalized and rural populations to establish effective social accountability mechanisms at the grassroots level. The GDC acknowledged that accountability and transparency are as equally important for effective local government as governance and capacity building, though admitted that the USG’s current development framework is not reflective of a comprehensive agenda to easily coordinate different agencies to integrate at the local level. In hopes of addressing this, the GDC sincerely expressed that it remains “open to change and ideas,” especially from civil society.
In closing, Chairman Dr. Mohamed El-Erian stated: “Quantum leaps happen from small changes.” Lasting improvement and sustainable development will not be achieved with grand goals and limited scope for implementation, but rather grassroots and integrated approaches, where people are- ultimately- the agents of their own change. This not only grants each person their due human dignity through participatory action and autonomy, but will also yield sustainable development for a hunger and poverty-free world for all.