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USAID plans new body to boost resilience

Updated November 15, 2018

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Move comes amid talk of budget cuts to foreign aid in the US, pressure from President Donald Trump to do more with less. — File
Move comes amid talk of budget cuts to foreign aid in the US, pressure from President Donald Trump to do more with less. — File

NEW ORLEANS: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is to set up a new body to promote resilience, a senior official said, amid growing pressure on the world’s top foreign aid donor to do more with less.

Creating resilience — the ability to withstand broad disasters ranging from climate change-induced floods and droughts to economic shocks and health epidemics — is seen as increasingly important if international aid is to work.

“The extraordinary cost of going back to the same places every three to five years with the humanitarian convoys is simply unsustainable,” said Greg Collins, USAID’s resilience coordinator, at a conference in New Orleans on Tuesday. USAID had spent about $5 billion in Ethiopia, among the poorest nations in Africa, over the last 15 years, he told the Resilience Measurement, Evidence and Learning Conference.

The move comes amid talk of budget cuts to foreign aid in the United States and pressure from President Donald Trump to do more with less. Experts said the creation of a new Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, which still has to be approved by Congress, would cement momentum behind the global poverty-reduction approach.

The proposed Bureau for Resilience and Food Security would have about 180 staff, Collins said.

Lindsey Jones, a researcher at the Overseas Development Institute, expressed hope the new bureau would “open the door to have longer-term finance” for resilience programmes. He said other countries such as Britain and Sweden had tried to promote resilience in countries that received aid, but the fixed-term nature of their programmes was a weakness.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018

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