In order to further optimize the State Department and USAID’s humanitarian assistance, I have established a new senior-level mechanism for coordinating and overseeing U.S. humanitarian assistance – the Humanitarian Assistance Steering Council. The purpose of the Council is to coordinate U.S. government efforts in order to achieve seamless, efficient, and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives, including promoting burden-sharing and UN humanitarian reform.
The State Department, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as USAID, through the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, have vital and complementary roles to play in the development and implementation of U.S. humanitarian assistance. The Council’s establishment will improve oversight and accountability across the two organizations while supporting their distinct and important functions.
Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, with his delegated authorities of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, and Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, head of the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, will co-lead the Council at the outset. Other members will include senior leaders from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning.
The Council will provide important leadership and coordination to maintain the United States’ proud tradition of responding to conflicts, other complex emergencies, and natural disasters while equipping the United States to improve the impact and results of our humanitarian assistance. Promoting burden-sharing by other donors will be an important focus for the Council. Despite significant U.S. and other donor contributions, the gap between needs and available resources continues to grow, which is why it is critical that we redouble our efforts to improve efficiency and increase donor contributions in order to promote sustainable solutions for those in need.