To Progress: Unlock Aid turns 1 this week. 🎂 Here's what comes next.
We spent the past year laying the foundations for this coalition. Now we're ready to go fast and press for big reforms. It's time to reimagine the future of global development.
Dear Unlock Aid community,
One year ago, we launched Unlock Aid.
As we were reminded yet again this week, we are off-track towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate targets by 2030. The status quo approach to global development, built during a very different era, is broken. We need new approaches, partners, and strategies that center community voices and take advantage of the very best of innovation from around the world to deliver better outcomes. The health and well-being of our planet and billions of people around the world is at stake.
When we launched Unlock Aid, we wrote in an open letter that “Unlock Aid was created to unleash fully the power, creativity and speed of experienced innovators in development, helping to shape the market and drive faster, more sustainable and less expensive outcomes at scale.”
So we were inspired last Fall when USAID Administrator Samantha Power outlined a “New Vision for Global Development,” and then again in May, when she called on the agency she leads to prioritize “Progress, Not Programs.” As the world’s largest development agency, USAID can lead the way towards building a new, more equitable future for global development that centers local communities and delivers better, sustainable, and more long-lasting outcomes.
But time is running out to enact major reforms. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do big things. The time to act is now.
We’re changing the field.
In just a year, we have built a global coalition of more than 50 of the world’s leading, next-generation innovators solving the biggest challenges of our time, with a majority of those organizations headquartered in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Next week, we’re excited to announce more than a dozen organizations that just joined our coalition.
We’re shaping the market.
We’ve started to reframe expectations of what’s possible in global development – and who public funders and other large institutions need to work with to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and climate targets by 2030.
In June, we presented to hundreds of USAID contracting officers a series of rapid-fire presentations showcasing some of the very best of the coalition. We showed that, more often than not, there are already highly innovative, effective organizations operating in USAID’s partner countries who are accountable to the communities they serve, delivering superior results, and at lower costs than traditional models. But they need partners like USAID, the World Bank, and other public funders to more rapidly bring proven solutions to scale.
We’re rewriting the rules.
It’s clear from our engagement with the U.S. Congress this past year that lawmakers want changes at global development agencies, too. Members of Congress from both parties are driving efforts to diversify who agencies like USAID works with to deliver better and more sustainable results, accelerate innovation, and increase accountability.
So what’s next?
In June, we recommended three concrete actions that USAID can take right now to prioritize innovation and accelerate impact. The first deadline for the agency to show progress on these actions is fast-approaching at the end of the month on September 30, and we’ll be keeping track of how the agency answers this call.
Other public institutions, philanthropies, development banks, UN agencies, multinationals, and other players all also have a role to play to reimagine a better, more equitable future. We look forward to working with them, too.
We spent our first year building the foundations of this coalition. Now we’re ready to go faster to drive an ambitious agenda focused on results, innovation, accountability, and equity. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the future of global development and we invite you to join us in this movement.
The Unlock Aid Coalition