PPD-6: The Basics

obama_un_speech001_16x9The Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD-6) was  released last week after a court order and frames U.S. development policy under  three pillar approach. Focused on sustainable development outcomes that value economic growth and democratic governance, game-changing innovations, and sustainable systems for achieving high-impact development, PPD-6 provides development policy with a new operational model and a modern architecture that elevates development to be a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy.

At the core of U.S. development policy is a focus on bringing models to scale, so that development work has not only a local impact, but also a national and global impact. In addition to scale impacts, PPD-6 emphasizes accountability by seeking sustained development progress consistently and greater attention being given to the pursuit of policy reforms essential for development such as diplomatic engagement, condititionality, and performance-based mechanisms. The New Operation Model under PPD-6 is more selective in where and in which sectors the United States will work, meaning hard choices will be made in allocating attention and resources across countries, regions, and sectors. In light of such necessary choices, PPD-6 lists key areas of investment that include health systems, sustainable energy, and food security.

Obama’s development policy supports capacity building in the public sector at the national and community level to provide basic services, with the goal of shifting countries away from a dependency on foreign assistance. The end goal in the PPD-6 is to put countries on a path to financing their own continued development. In order to achieve this goal, the U.S. government will work  through the leadership of multiple stakeholders and experts, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Partnerships will be prioritized with NGOs and private sector actors from policy conception to implementation. Government agencies such as the Department of Treasury, Agriculture, Justice etc. also now play a larger role through collaboration and the offering their expertise on the development and implementation of the development policy.

Finally, development is now elevated to a central pillar of national security policy making it equal to diplomacy and defense. As result, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is now included in meetings of the National Security Council (NSC). Despite the elevation to equal status of development to diplomacy and defense, no mention is made of an attempt to increase development’s budget. The absence of budgetary support raises questions on the actual elevation of development within national security policy making.In addition to its new seat at NSC meetings, USAID is also required to streamline its operating methods and practices. Part of this streamlining requires the agency to be more transparent.

PPD-6 gives particular attention to investments that benefit girls and women. The emphasis on investments that benefit girls and women will lead to accelerated progress aligning PPD-6’s views on the importance of girls and women with The Hunger Project. In order to make sure the goals and action items laid out in PPD-6 are accomplished a more deliberate and rigorous policy making and review process. One important aspect to note is the creation of a U.S. Global Development Council that include leading members of the philanthropic sector, private sector, academia, and civil society.