The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) stepped up its efforts to support sustainable development by launching a new initiative last year aimed at working with leaders and stakeholders around the world. This new initiative is called Frontiers in Development.
The Frontiers in Development effort kicked off with a meeting at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. June 11 to 13, 2012. Prior to the conference USAID also published a series of essays available on its website addressing a variety of topics. The Frontiers in Development publication includes essays by Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Rajiv Shah and dozens of other experts and officials. A PDF version of the full publication is available on the site as well.
In the forward of the publication USAID noted that while there have been some notable victories in the developing world—notably 700 million fewer people living in poverty today since two decades ago—we are also at a moment of dynamic change.
“The forces affecting development are changing rapidly. Private-sector capital flows are seven times larger than what they were a decade ago, and now dwarf development assistance. The Arab Spring has ushered in new possibilities for democracy and growth in the Middle East, but also led to new challenges and uncertainties. Conflict and extreme poverty are increasingly intertwined. The growing success of many emerging markets has lifted millions from poverty, but also has unleashed much greater demand for natural resources, energy, and food. Climate change threatens to slow and possibly even reverse development gains in many countries.”
USAID said organizations working in developing countries will need to embrace the changes that are happening, or are on the horizon, and evolve to be effective partners in supporting development. The agency said Frontiers in Development grew out of its drive to keep up with this dynamic landscape by engaging with innovative, experienced and smart leaders and practitioners.
Frontiers in Development was “designed to encourage forward-looking, provocative discussion and debate and to strengthen the analysis design, and implementation of development programs, Frontiers in Development is aimed at cultivating innovative analysis and leadership to expand the Agency’s learning and to increase our conversations.”
Since the initial launch there has been little activity on USAID’s Frontiers in Development site but it collects some very helpful information in one place for users, including all the articles written for the effort’s launch and archived video of the 2012 forum. The book of articles produced prior to the forum last year is also worth a read, it covers a wide range of development topics.
– Liza Casabona
Photo: Georgetown University