In fulfilling President Obama's commitment, as stated in the President's Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD-6), to build USAID into "the world's premier development agency," USAID implemented ambitious reforms called USAID Forward. Through foundational changes in several key areas, these reforms aim to ensure that the Agency becomes a model for delivering efficient and effective development assistance. Below are specific areas of reform and some accomplishments to date. See USAID Forward for more information.
Evidence Based Policy: For USAID to become the world's premier development agency, it must be able to make strategic policy choices that are informed by cutting-edge evidence and analysis. In 2010, the Agency created the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning to shape overall strategic and program planning to ensure the Agency's evolution as a learning organization. The Agency introduced a new evaluation policy that has been called "a model for other Federal agencies" by the American Evaluation Association. Evaluation results will be released within three months of their completion, whether they tell a story of success or failure.
Strategic Budgeting: The new Office of Budget and Resources Management is tasked with ensuring that budgets are aligned with agency priorities and linked to program outcomes. The office is also tasked with ensuring that funds are expended efficiently. In an era of constrained foreign affairs budgets, the need is especially great to invest based on sound analysis and evaluation of what works.
Locally Led Development: USAID is creating new funding mechanisms to allow it to work directly with local partners, substantially increase in-country capacity, and empower the local private sector and civil society to create meaningful development solutions. In the 2011 Development Assistance Committee Peer Review, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development recognized these efforts, calling the Agency a leader when it comes to private sector engagement.
Science and Technology: To transform development through science, technology, and innovation, USAID launched the Grand Challenges for Development, a series of grant competitions designed to focus the development community on key barriers to progress. We recently announced award nominations for our first Grand Challenge-Saving Lives at Birth-and plan to soon unveil Grand Challenges in agriculture, energy, and education. In addition, USAID established a partnership with the National Science Foundation to link their research fellows with USAID-funded scientists in the developing world.
Each of these reforms is designed to change the way the Agency does business-with new partnerships, a greater emphasis on innovation, and a relentless focus on real results. Collectively, these reforms will help ensure USAID is investing every development dollar in the most effective, efficient, and transparent way possible.