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Fostering integrated development programming for sustainable impact

March 29, 2016

Social and economic issues around the world do not adhere to singular sectors or regional areas, but development interventions often do. Efforts to create more coherent and adaptive programs that approach multiple sectors, known as integrated development, show potential in breaking down traditional development silos and allowing solutions to better align with complex problems.

The integration agenda meshes particularly well with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will grow increasingly important throughout their implementation. At the same time, current funding mechanisms, along with training structures, program design and evaluation models, can be poorly suited for integrated programming. A new report, “Integrated Development: Strategic Harmonization of Foreign Assistance,” discusses how and why development actors in the United States and around the world can foster innovative, flexible and integrated development programming for sustainable impact. Written by Daniel Runde, Director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the report reflects the findings from two roundtable discussions among representatives from bilateral donors, the U.S. Department of State, the private sector and the broader development policy community. Sponsored by FHI 360, the discussions addressed funding and implementation of integrated development programs. 

The report was released and discussed at a March 1, 2016, event, “Facing Complex Challenges: Innovating through Integrated Development,” held with the support of FHI 360 at CSIS in Washington, DC. The event, report and earlier gatherings at CSIS are part of FHI 360’s ongoing commitment to advancing the conversation on integrated development solutions among global thought leaders and decisionmakers. 

FHI 360’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Fine participated on the panel and was joined by Carla Koppell, Vice President, Applied Conflict Transformation, U.S. Institute of Peace; Diana Ohlbaum, CSIS Fellow; Susan Reichle, Agency Counselor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); and Donald Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer, World Learning, Inc. 

Panelists stressed that while there indeed is a growing call for integrated approaches, several challenges from the U.S. funding and policy perspective remain. They touched on what needs to be done to address these challenges in the SDG era, with many of their suggestions reflecting those outlined in the CSIS report. Some of the suggestions included a continued effort to broaden the evidence base around integrated approaches, an examination of existing earmarks to find ways that the integrated approach can be adopted in new project design, training in integration for USAID professionals, continued work to improve donor coordination and policy coherence at the country level.

Watch a video of the panel discussion or a short video, below, of Daniel Runde talking directly with Patrick Fine and Susan Reichle. Reposted with permission from CSIS.

Home page photo credit: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360