Remarks at the Opening Session of the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference

March 13, 2012

My fifth point has to do with continuing to elevate development. It’s an indispensible pillar of our national security strategy. And effective development requires indigenous political will, responsive, accountable and transparent governance, economic frameworks that create opportunities. And to achieve that, we need to broaden our traditional development assistance tools and focus on mobilizing reform through influence and engagement that draws on the strengths and resources of all relevant government agencies.

Diplomacy is central to that, and part of the work we did through the QDDR to help you as the chief of mission truly become the chief executive of the U.S. Government presence in your countries was to ask you to really support the development side of the ledger as well. I will soon be sending you detailed guidance that covers modernizing our diplomacy to better support development. And as we pursue our signature initiatives—the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future—we are transforming the way we do development. Now sometimes, it’s a little frustrating because we emphasize country ownership. And a lot of people who have done development over the years, they go into a country and they say, well, here’s what you need, and now countries are saying, no, here’s what we want. And so negotiating that is really a diplomatic effort that requires your participation.

Our Global Health Initiative will reach 6 million people with lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment by 2013, creating the foundation for an AIDS-free generation. And our Feed the Future initiative is driving agricultural growth and improving nutrition. So we’re increasing our capacity within countries so they can take on more responsibility. We have to move for – towards sustainability. We’ve had so much rhetoric about that and now we have to translate it into an active agenda. It just doesn’t work anymore that when we go into a country with our aid, the government in the country basically withdraws from that area and uses the money that they were using, for example, on health, to do something else.