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International development is "one of the most powerful tools we have for advancing global progress, peace and prosperity," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told a gathering of employees of the United States Agency for International Development. Secretary Clinton stressed that development is one of three pillars of U.S. foreign policy, alongside diplomacy and defense:
"We have set the United States Government on a path to double foreign assistance with our 2010 budget request. We've made significant pledges of assistance for the West Bank and Gaza. We've made development an integral part of our approach in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq. … In Italy, the President announced our food security program that will come with a major increase in funding for food and sustainable agriculture. And again, when he was in Ghana, he focused on the importance of smart development."
As part of an administration-wide effort to better reflect the importance of international development, USAID will be part of this year's new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The review, which is a new process for the State Department and USAID, will offer a careful review of current practices and programs to be sure that American taxpayers and the developing communities they seek to help, are getting the most out of their money.
Secretary Clinton noted that USAID workers are "on the front lines" in facing multi-faceted challenges and a careful assessment of needs will help them do their jobs:
"As we've seen in many places around the world and most recently in Afghanistan, long-term stability depends not only on the defeat of violent extremists, but also on the construction of roads, the creation of jobs, and the strengthening of Afghan institutions to address the needs of the people."
Secretary Clinton said the evaluation will also look at the work of the Presidents' Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. She said she hopes reviewing USAID and the U.S. Department of State will help maximize collaboration between the two agencies and help align programs around the world.