Foreign Aid Reform: Studies and Recommendations [July 28, 2009]   [open pdf - 320KB]

"In recent years, numerous studies have addressed various concerns and provided recommendations regarding U.S. foreign aid policy, funding, and structure. [...]. While the 14 studies surveyed by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) emphasize different aspects of the importance of U.S. foreign assistance, all agree that foreign assistance must be reformed to improve its effectiveness. Of the 16 recommendation categories CRS identifies, only enhancing civilian agency resources has the support of all of the studies covered in this report. The next two most-often cited recommendations are raising development to equal status with diplomacy and defense, and increasing needs-based foreign aid, while encouraging recipient government ownership of aid effectiveness. Half of the studies urge a greater congressional role in foreign aid budgeting and policy formulation. Because these studies were written for the purpose of reforming U.S. foreign aid, it is not surprising that none of them recommends maintaining the status quo. Given the current economic crisis and budget constraints along with other major concerns, such as health care, energy policy, and global warming, however, some Members in the 111th Congress may prefer a continuation of the existing foreign aid structure. This report is a review of selected studies written between 2001 and 2008 and will not be updated."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40102
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