CGD releases research on link between contraception and women’s empowerment

At the Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, held in Washington on December 7, 2017, the Centre for Global Development (CGD) released five new publications on various topics related to family planning, and women and girls. Under the theme of 'Reproductive Choices to Life Chances', the research focuses on the link between contraception and women's economic empowerment. Speakers at the conference included Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi.

A recording of the conference is available online along with the new publications. 

Website - CDG

United States

US Congress avoids government shut down with temporary spending bill

On December 7, 2017, Congress passed a two-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December 22, 2017.  Negotiations are now underway to determine the level of defense and non-defense discretionary spending for the rest of the fiscal year.  Discussions will be complicated, however, by the House-Senate Conference on the pending tax legislation as well as a potential solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which many Democrats are insisting be part of any overall deal

In September, President Donald Trump said he was terminating the DACA program, leaving 700,000 'Dreamers' (undocumented migrants who arrived in the US as children) at risk of deportation.

News article - Politico

United States

UNFPA praises Canada's additional funding following US cuts

Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Natalia Kanem said that Canada’s pledge of CAD15.6 million (US$12.2 million) to the agency was critical to supporting women and girls in the world's poorest regions. In light of the US's withdrawing nearly US$70 million of the UNFPA's funding, Dr. Kanem said that Canada’s continued support was “lifesaving”.  Dr. Kanem was in Ottawa for the launch of the UNFPA’s annual population report.

News article – The Globe and Mail

Canada United States

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approves two USAID nominations

On December 6, 2017, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved two nominations: Eric Ueland as Under-Secretary of State for Management, and Brock Bierman as USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia. Bierman is a formal official from the George W. Bush administration, previously nominated by Bush to serve as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) first small- and rural-state advocate.

Furthermore, on December 8, 2017 it was reported that Dina Powell, Deputy National Security Advisor, will leave the White House in January 2018.  Powell has been the driving force behind the Trump administration's strategy on the Middle East. 

News article - The Washington Post

Hearing, Eric Ueland - US Senate

Hearing, Brock Bierman - US Senate

United States

Study on US foreign assistance evaluations releases recommendations for improvements

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and The Lugar Center released a study on US foreign assistance evaluations on December 5, 2017, which looked at the quality and use of evaluations at the State Department, USAID, the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The study found that almost 40% of evaluations used inadequate methods for data sampling, collection, and analysis, although the quantity and quality of evaluations has increase overall. According to the report, agencies still face barriers to using evaluations to inform programs and policies, such as inflexible budgets, lack of staff time, and scarce resources.

Publication - Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

United States

Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on Under Secretary of State for Management

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Eric Ueland as the Under Secretary of State for Management.  Ueland previously served as the Republican Staff Director of the Senate Budget Committee. In his testimony before the Senate Committee on September 12, 2017, Ueland committed to ensuring the safety of Americans working in embassies abroad, as well as supporting 'a strong and capable Department that effectively advocates for the United States’ interests around the world'. 

Website -SFRC

United States

US House Foreign Affairs Committee introduces companion bill to Senate Bipartisan Multilateral Aid Review

US Congressmen Michael McCaul (Republican, Texas), Ted Yoho (Republican, Florida), and Albio Sires (Democrat, New Jersey), all members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bipartisan companion bill entitled the 'Multilateral Aid Review Act of 2017'. The bill seeks to increase transparency in US contributions to multilateral agencies, including the UN.  It aims to create a methodology to allocate US resources to those that best advance US interests and create incentives for improved effectiveness of development assistance. The Senate bill has already cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Statement - Congressman Michael McCaul

United States

US government publishes 2017 Global Water and Development Strategy

The US government has released its 2017 Global Water and Development Strategy, with the aims of 1) increasing access to sustainable safe drinking water and sanitation services and promoting key hygiene behaviors, 2) protecting freshwater resources, 3) promoting cooperation on shared waters, and 4) strengthening water governance and financing. The strategy focuses on 13 countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Sudan, and the West Bank and Gaza. 

According to the publication, US businesses benefit directly from engaging on international water issues, with American technology and expertise in high demand around the world. 

Publication - USAID

United States

USAID to scale up global trade initiative

USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, an initiative aimed at helping countries reduce import barriers, will soon scale up from four to 20 countries. Green said USAID is looking increasingly to collaborate, co-finance, and co-design programs, tools, and initiatives with the private sector. According to Green, the Global Alliance – which includes Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UK – is an example of a public-private partnership that demonstrates a "new way" of delivering assistance. The 20 countries were chosen based on members' countries of interest, with an eye towards geographic diversity and incorporating a mix of emerging and developing economies.

News article - Devex

United States

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee advances Bipartisan Multilateral Aid Review

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously to pass the 'Bipartisan Multilateral Aid Review', a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Bob Corker of the Republican Party, and Chris Coons of the Democratic Party. The legislation would create a task force that reviews the effectiveness and accountability of multilateral institutions in which the US invests, in order to maximize outcomes for American taxpayers. 

Press release - US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

United States