Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States of America

A Week of Policy, Partnerships, and Progress: MCC at and around UNGA

As world leaders gathered this week in New York City for the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the United Nations General Assembly, MCC’s mission and work took center stage. 

I listened to President Obama unveil the first-ever development policy issued by a U.S. president.  His groundbreaking MDG Summit speech outlined development’s heightened role in U.S. global engagement as a strategic, economic, and moral imperative.  The President emphasized that economic growth is the centerpiece of his new development policy, because growth is the fundamental force that will transform the developing world and eradicate poverty.  He talked about empowering and partnering with countries committed to taking responsibility for their own development.  And, he stressed that America’s development investments can have maximum impact in partner countries that set in place high standards of transparency, good governance, and accountability. 

I am proud that MCC is already putting the President’s core development principles into practice, like investing in economic growth, promoting country-led development, demanding accountability, and focusing on transparency and results.  MCC’s experiences have informed many aspects of the President’s new policy.  We are integral to the policy moving forward by sharing what we have learned, including our leadership on rigorous evidence-based evaluations to drive policy decisions and ensure aid effectiveness. 

The principles of effective development outlined in President Obama’s policy were repeated by the presidents and prime ministers from a number of partner countries I met with this week to discuss progress on the implementation of their MCC compacts.  They spoke about reforming their policies, building homegrown capacity and more responsive institutions, and delivering the results their citizens expect.  These themes were also featured at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.  I was particularly struck by CGI’s emphasis on strengthening market-based solutions and empowering girls and women, which are also clear priorities for MCC’s work in partner countries worldwide and for achieving the economic growth underpinning the Obama administration’s global development policy. 

Moreover, the President’s development policy embraces partnership as essential to success, and each MCC event in New York sought ways to mobilize the power of partnerships.  I met President Benigno Aquino to sign a $434 million MCC compact with the Philippines.  This compact will fight corruption by streamlining processes at the Bureau of Internal Review; strengthen local accountability through the Kalahi-CIDSS rural development program; and improve access to markets and community services through the construction and repair of 220 kilometers of Samar Road.  The Philippines’s MCC compact is another example of how we partner with countries committed to sound political, economic, and social policies vital for sustainable development to deliver the progress and results the poor expect.

To further engage with the private sector as vital partners in development, Cape Verde’s Prime Minister José Maria Neves, the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation Lars Thunell, and AES Corporation’s Global Chief Operating Officer Andres Gluski joined me in addressing a private sector gathering.  These gentlemen shared their first-hand perspectives on the power of private enterprise to augment and accelerate public efforts to stimulate economic growth.  Businesses, foundations, NGOs, and partner countries discussed strategies to align their activities with sustainable development objectives.  One of my top priorities at MCC, like the President’s policy advocates, is to increase development impact by broadening our partnerships with the private sector and non-traditional actors, such as philanthropic foundations.

MCC also partnered with other leaders in the field for a breakfast roundtable on gender.  The discussion was co-hosted with the White House Council on Women and Girls and highlighted ways we can effectively integrate gender equality in development plans to ensure long-term sustainability.  We recognize that expanding opportunities for women and girls in developing communities reduces poverty.  MCC Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts spoke more about MCC’s gender policy at a high-level luncheon with heads of state later that day. 

Now, we will build upon the conversations, relationships, and partnerships we forged and deepened this week to further MCC’s mission.  MCC’s policies, practices, and results will continue to contribute to President Obama’s vision for development and serve as critical building blocks for a new era of global poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth.