The bullhorn has sounded: implementing an effective foreign policy that reduces global poverty and food insecurities is part of creating the perfect future. Nonprofit organizations aren’t the only ones making this crucial argument; in fact, the World Bank made the same case in its 2017 Governance and the Law Report. These foreign policies should reflect the values of those in and out of power.
“Mechanisms that help give less powerful, diffuse interest groups, for example, a bigger say in the policy arena could help balance the influence of more powerful, narrow interest groups,” the World Bank noted in the report.
Part of the effort to strengthen the economies within developing nations through targeted foreign policy action can come from private interests. According to the World Bank, “Contemporary case studies suggest that business associations have helped government officials improve various dimensions of the business environment—such as secure property rights, fair enforcement of rules and the provision of public infrastructure—through lobbying efforts or better monitoring of public officials.”
In 2016, successful advocacy for a U.S. foreign policy that works towards reducing global poverty and food insecurities resulted in the passing of the Global Food Security Act, the Foreign Aid and Transparency Act and The Electrify Africa Act.
One important aspect of policy development and implementation is that citizens in part drive the process, not just lawmakers. Through elections, political organizations, participation and advocacy, citizens can influence the development of U.S. foreign policies that benefit marginalized communities globally.
“However, all citizens have access to multiple mechanisms of engagement that can help them overcome collective action problems—to coordinate and cooperate—by changing contestability, incentives, and preferences and beliefs,” the World Bank noted in the Governance and the Law Report.
This power underscores the importance of direct communication and advocacy between citizens and their representatives, both state and federal. The World Bank’s report outlined the ways that citizens and political organizations (such as ones built around the common goal of alleviating global poverty) are “associated with a higher likelihood of adopting and successfully implementing public sector reforms.”
There are currently at least eight foreign policy legislation in the congressional pipeline. These include the International Affairs Budget, the READ Act, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, the Economic Growth and Development Act, the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, the Digital Gap Act and the Global Health Innovation Act.
Citizens can visit The Borgen Project Action Center and join the foreign policymaking process.
– Hannah Pickering