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The U.S. Congress should fully fund the administration's $47.8 billion request for base international affairs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. This request represents a 6% reduction from FY 12 funding levels and a 14% reduction from the FY 13 request, reflecting the difficult budget environment that lawmakers currently face. The foreign affairs budget, which represents less than 1% of the annual U.S. budget, provides an invaluable set of tools for advancing U.S. foreign policy interests. The relatively modest investments that fall under the international affairs budget bear great returns, as the American government helps develop stable, democratic partners that cooperate on trade, security, immigration, and economic issues. Amid weariness among the American people with military engagement overseas, diplomacy is an inherently less costly means of advancing interests.
In repressive countries, the smallest amount of U.S. assistance can bring hope and provide a lifeline to those who face imprisonment, torture, or even death for speaking out in support of freedom, while helping to engender the next generation of potential leaders. Recent developments in the Middle East, Russia, Burma and elsewhere show the importance of robust, strategic, and flexible funding for the United States to respond effectively to quickly changing situations on the ground and continue to play a leadership role in the international community.
The budget plans produced by the House and Senate for FY 14 differ greatly from one another and from the President's request. The House Republican budget resolution would fund international affairs at $38.7 billion for FY 14, 20% less than the President's request, and a staggering 29% less than the FY 12 actual numbers. Cuts of that magnitude would have a devastating effect on the ability of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their diplomatic work and assistance programs. While it is important at present for every federal agency to eliminate redundancies, streamline operations, and reevaluate priorities, such sweeping cuts to an already miniscule budget would do great and needless harm. The Senate budget resolution proposes $45.6 billion in base international affairs funding.
Funding for Democracy and Human Rights represents 9% of the total request for foreign assistance for FY 14, less than 1/10th of 1% of the total U.S. budget. The administration's proposal will support important initiatives that protect and promote democracy, rule of law, and human rights, including:
Flexible funding to support democratic change in the Middle East through a Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund.
Increased funding for priority regions, including Asia and Africa.
Robust funding for priority countries and territories including Afghanistan, Mexico, South Sudan, the West Bank and Gaza, and Burma.
Increases in some areas are balanced by decreases in others, including:
The elimination of the Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia Account (AEECA) and decreases in the Europe and Eurasia region overall.
Large decreases in democracy funding for Iraq and Pakistan.
Regional and country-level decreases in the Western Hemisphere and in South and Central Asia.
While the administration understandably has had to make difficult tradeoffs to reach budget goals, there are some areas where decreased funding would be harmful to achieving U.S. strategic policy goals and Congress can provide additional support:
Congress should fund the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and USAID's Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at the FY 12 levels. These two bureaus provide leadership within their agencies on democracy and human rights policy and require adequate resources to continue doing so.
Congress should allow the administration to meet the United States' assessed obligations to the United Nations for FY14. Moreover, Congress should reinstate funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which supports many cultural, social, and educational programs in line with the U.S.'s own values.
The administration must work with Congress to identify innovative ways to support civil society in countries with difficult operating environments, including Russia, Bolivia, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
Robust funding for international affairs in FY 14 will give America's diplomats the tools they need to advance U.S. interests abroad and maintain the United States' role as a global leader. Such funding alone is not enough, however. The administration must match a strong budget with clear policy decisions and a consistently forceful message, communicated both publicly and privately, that democracy and human rights are of the utmost importance to the United States.
This report summarizes the most notable requests, changes, and new developments within the administration's democracy and human rights budget for FY14. It also offers policy recommendations and suggestions for budget adjustments to better align funding allocations with U.S. interests.
Orpheus Civil Society Network;
This self-evaluation tool was written to help an organisation assess its effectiveness either on its own or with the help of a consultant. It describes ways in which to reflect on various aspects of best practice including vision, resource management, service provision, human resources, financial management, and external relations.
Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe;
The Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe wrote and approved this code of conduct in order to state their values clearly and to use those values as a guide in working with others to build civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. It includes provisions on accountability, transparency, use of resources, responsible grantmaking and good leadership and management practice.
Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe;
This conflict of interest policy is intended to protect the integrity and reputation of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe. To achieve this, the publication describes exact standards for transparency that allow all persons affiliated with the Trust to promote the Trust's interests and affairs. A contract which must be signed annually by each trustee is included.
European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA);
This is the second edition of a working paper that was first published in 2008. Its goal is to assist start-up or early-stage Venture Philanthropy organisations (VPOs) in Europe by providing an insight into "what works" in a European context. It provides a definition of VP, an account for its evolution and latest developments, and a practical guide to how to set up and run a VP organisation. The new edition takes into account the enhanced experience of existing VPOs, the emergence of new VPOs or new financing instruments and the changes in the financial and economic climates in Europe and around the globe in the past years.
King Baudouin Foundation;
This book presents the results and impact of the programme to help street children / children in the streets, which has been run for two years by the King Baudouin Foundation together with the Soros Foundations in ten Central and East European countries, working in partnership with the World Bank.
King Baudouin Foundation;
Street Children in Central and Eastern Europe: who are they, what are the causes of their predicament and what can be done about it? To answer these and other questions the foundation has set up the 'Street children / Children in the streets' programme together with the local Soros Foundations and the World Bank. After an introduction to the children's situation and a brief summary of the programme, 80 selected projects in 10 different countries are presented.
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation;
This is a primer for people interested in learning about community philanthropy organizations and the role they can play in strengthening communities in Central/Eastern Europe. It explains what community philanthropy organizations do and how they work; it describes the challenges for communities in building such organisations in Central/Eastern Europe, and it describes ways in which support organizations are offering assistance, with examples drawn from the region.
The Oak Foundation child-abuse programme has funded and supported a range of civil society actors over the course of the last ten years, with the aim of reducing the incidence of the sexual exploitation of children, focusing primarily on work in East Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, Brazil and India. The Foundation is committed to expanding this work, focusing 50 percent of resources over the next five years, within two priority areas:
* The elimination of the sexual exploitation of children;
* The positive engagement of men and boys in the fight against the sexual abuse of children.
Under the first of these priorities Oak Foundation requested Knowing Children to produce two documents to guide a strategic-planning meeting of the child-abuse team in mid-October 2011:
* Reducing societal tolerance of sexual exploitation of children;
* Preventing children's entry into all forms of sexual exploitation.
Open Society Institute;
Examines the services and support for advocacy movements provided by drop-in centers for sex workers. Calls for funding to engage sex workers in service design, implementation, and leadership; to offer safe environments; and to report abuses.
Civil society is increasingly coming under assault around the world, as authoritarian governments grow more bold and sophisticated in stifling independent groups that monitor elections, expose corruption, or otherwise give citizens a voice in how they are governed. In response, senior U.S. officials have reaffirmed their support for universal rights, including freedom of association, while mid-level officials have criticized specific abuses against civil society. However, only modest U.S. government efforts have dealt systematically with the global nature of the crackdown on civil society. This weak U.S. response to the crackdown hurts U.S. interests and undermines U.S. credibility abroad. The U.S. government needs to respond to the threats against civil society more forcefully.
To curb the global crackdown, the United States needs to systematically oppose efforts by authoritarian governments to control civic space, take vigorous political and diplomatic measures to support civil society organizations that come under threat, and get around government restrictions designed to isolate local organizations from the international community. Effective U.S. policy to defend civil society needs to respond comprehensively to the global nature of the crackdown and, at the same time, turn the tide in key countries where repression of civil society has significant regional repercussions. While bipartisan collaboration is critical to make such policy effective, a strong U.S. response to the global crackdown on civil society must begin in the White House.
Open Society Institute;
Looks at Roma participation in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe across a broad range of key education indicators, including enrollment and completion in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.