Peace Corps Suspends Global Operations, Evacuates All Volunteers #COVID19

 

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Snapshot: ShareAmerica’s “Debt-trap Diplomacy” Narrative Via Facebook/Twitter Campaigns

 

Via @StateDept’s FY 2018 Annual Performance Report | FY 2020 Annual Performance Plan (PDF/p149)

Key Indicator: Number of engagements generated by ShareAmerica content delivered to impact targeted narratives

Indicator Analysis. The Department is moving to align its content production more closely with trending social media narratives in target countries on Administration priority issues. Achieving this will require reallocation of internal resources and development of new editorial procedures. Because significant changes to IIP’s organization/mission are in the process of being implemented, IIP is unsure of the future of this particular indicator, and are not able to provide out-year targets at this time. While ShareAmerica will continue to operate, the direction and methods of evaluation for the program may be impacted.

A recent content team effort illustrates how this new editorial model can work. More specifically, the team:

• Employed analytics tools to monitor African conversations on the subject of Chinese aid. More specifically IIP sought to determine whether/how Africans drew distinctions between Chinese and American efforts;

• Identified key narratives and even phrases (“Debt-trap Diplomacy”) gaining traction in selected English, French, and Portuguese-speaking African nations and audience segments most likely to engage in those narratives;

• Developed content specifically tailored − down to the headline (“How U.S. aid avoids ‘debt-trap diplomacy’”) − to impact those narratives by contrasting development aid best practices with those that enmesh recipients in debt. IIP did not specifically address Chinese aid, but knew from our research that the target audiences could connect the dots; and

• Created Facebook and Twitter advertising campaigns (total expenditure: $1,000 total, or $8 per day/platform in each country) specifically targeting the audience segments identified during research phase.

Results:

• Digital analytics measure “post momentum” (engagement rate over previous 24 hours) at 76 times above average;

• 74 percent of respondents clicked-through to read the article;

• Fully 10 percent of respondents shared the article to their own social feeds, shares being the highest level of engagement and clearest indicator of success; and

• Facebook campaign (reach: two million) netted useful benchmarking data, allowing more precise, and inexpensive, future targeting for message reinforcement.

Indicator Methodology :

ShareAmerica content is meant to be distributed primarily on social media. IIP will assess whether social media audiences are finding the content engaging and interesting on those platforms. As a proxy for link clicks and for an engagement metric usable for a large set of articles, IIP will look at the total number of social media engagements (retweets, shares, likes, and comments) on Department ShareAmerica social media posts.

Clips:

Snapshot: USAID’s Program Cycle Framework

Via state.gov

USAID implements an integrated Program Cycle Policy (Automated Directive System [ADS] 201), USAID’s framework for planning, implementing, assessing, and adapting programs that support countries to advance their journey to self-reliance. The Program Cycle provides policy and procedures for making strategic programming decisions to ensure effective use of foreign assistance resources. The guidance integrates continuous learning throughout all Program Cycle components to inform adaptive management and improve achievement of results. Robust monitoring and evaluation practices provide feedback on progress in achieving short- and long-term objectives.

Related post:
Snapshot: StateDepartment’s Managing for Results (MfR) Framework 

Snapshot: OFDA’S Percent of Disaster Declarations Responded to Within 72 Hours

 

Via State Department FY 2018 Annual Performance Report | FY 2020 Annual Performance Plan
(PDF/p.171)

Performance Goal 3.4.6: Humanitarian Assistance Performance Goal Statement:

By 2022, the United States will increase the timeliness and effectiveness of responses to U.S. government-declared international disasters, responding to 95 percent of disaster declarations within 72 hours and reporting on results. (USAID) Performance Goal Overview/Progress Update The Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) explains that the Department and USAID will support needs based humanitarian assistance through multi-sectoral programs that provide relief from crises, conflicts, and natural disasters. Collaboration with donors and host countries will help identify solutions to displacement, protect populations at risk, reduce the risk of disasters, and foster resilience. USAID/OFDA is the U.S. Government’s lead federal coordinator for international disaster response. The Office’s mandate is to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the social and economic impacts of disasters worldwide. Responding efficiently to disasters is critical for USAID/OFDA to implement its mandate. As such, this PG aims to ensure that USAID/OFDA continues to respond to disasters rapidly and efficiently.

Key Indicator: Percent of disaster declarations responded to within 72 hours

Indicator Analysis The above figures provide a summary of USAID/OFDA’s immediate responses to new disaster declarations only, as measured by the release of a disaster response cable or submission of an email response with fund cite information within 72 hours of a disaster declaration cable’s circulation; the figures do not take into account disaster redeclarations or adjustments to end-of year disaster response totals.

Note that two of the three delayed response cables in FY 2018 were for Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) responses related to a politically sensitive complex emergency of high interest to the interagency. The sensitive political nature of these U.S. Government responses necessitated exceptional levels of intra-agency and interagency coordination, which created a lag in USAID/OFDA’s normal response timeframe. Had these delays not occurred, USAID/OFDA’s rate of response within 72 hours would have been 96 percent for FY 2018.

Indicator Methodology USAID/OFDA will source data from 1) an internal program-management database that keeps a record of official cables; 2) Senior Management Team notification of the deployment of a Disaster-Assistance Response Team or the activation of another assistance team; and 3) Information Support Unit records of a disaster declaration. Document review will provide the needed information.

The Philippines Sends USG Notice of Military-Pact Termination #VFA #180days

 

Via Rappler (Philippines):

On Monday night, February 10, Duterte launched a fresh round of verbal tirades against the US saying while top officials, including President Donald Trump, were trying to salvage the VFA, he was bent on having it terminated. (EXPLAINER: Visiting Forces Agreement)

Duterte first broached his plan to terminate the VFA on January 23, after the US canceled the visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa. Dela Rosa is Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief known as the architect behind the government’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

The President later said he was serious about his decision, adding his choice to do so was anchored on US lawmakers’ moves to impose travel and financial restrictions on Philippine officials linked to the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima and alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte administration. (READ: Why the Global Magnitsky Act matters to the Philippines)

 

United Arab Emirates to Pay For Estimated $60Million USA Pavilion in Expo2020 Dubai #foreignassistance

 

The world exposition Expo2020 is set to open in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on October 20, 2020.  In December 2019, InPark Magazine reported that nearly 200 countries have signed up to participate, each participant with a national pavilion. The per-pavilion investment was reported to be in the millions with China’s pavilion cited at a cost of $100 million. (see The U.S. could be a no-show at Expo 2020 Dubai). In fall last year, UAE’s The National also reported that the United States has yet to secure funding and begin construction on its $60 million pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. The US Consul General in Dubai Philip Frayne was reportedly confident that funding would be available despite  failure of a private consortium to raise the needed funds (see Financial troubles stall construction of US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai).
On January 16, UAE’s The National reported that the US will participate at Expo 2020 Dubai with UAE funding:

American participation had been in doubt due to a law, passed in the 1990s, which prevents public funds being used for Expos. In the past, businesses have met the bill, but despite a lobbying effort led by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, the US failed to attract enough private funding for Dubai. Legislative efforts to get around the rules proved unsuccessful.

It is not yet known how much money the UAE will provide to the US. However, it is understood that the original design of the US pavilion, which was estimated to cost $60 million (Dh220m) will be changed, not least because of time pressures with the opening of the event just nine months away.

The National also got a quote from Danny Sebright, president of the US-UAE Business Council: The US State Department would be “100 per cent” in charge of the pavilion, Mr Sebright said, with the UAE government to offer support and assistance “as appropriate”.
Below is the State Department’s announcement citing the generosity of the Emirati Government in making America … er great anew by providing funds for the building of the USA Pavilion and making U.S. participation in Expo2020 Dubai possible.

GAO Report Cites @StateDept’s Obstruction in Ukraine Security Funds Review

 

Via GAO:

We also question actions regarding funds appropriated to State for security assistance to Ukraine. In a series of apportionments in August of 2019, OMB withheld from obligation some foreign military financing (FMF) funds for a period of six days. These actions may have delayed the obligation of $26.5 million in FMF funds. See OMB Response, at 3. An additional $141.5 million in FMF funds may have been withheld while a congressional notification was considered by OMB
[…]
Letter from General Counsel, GAO, to Secretary of State and Acting Legal Adviser, State (Nov. 25, 2019). State provided us with limited information.
[…]
As a result, we will renew our request for specific information from State and OMB regarding the potential impoundment of FMF funds in order to determine whether the Administration’s actions amount to a withholding subject to the ICA, and if so, whether that withholding was proper. We will continue to pursue this matter.

Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war #hardreading

 

 

New motto: “Keep moving, people, nothing to see here …”

 

Via NYT:

American diplomats who had pushed for the Trump administration to restore security funding to Ukraine were advised by the White House to play down the release of the money when it was finally approved, documents show.

“Keep moving, people, nothing to see here …” Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary overseeing issues in Europe and Eurasia, wrote in a Sept. 12 email obtained by The New York Times.

He said the National Security Council would not publicly announce that $141 million in State Department assistance was being restored after being held up in what the White House described as a normal review.

Also @StateDept Bureau Junks Professional Ethos Big Time (Who Wanna Tell Mike?)

 

Trump in His “Great and Unmatched Wisdom” Green-lights Turkish Incursion, Abandons US-Backed Kurds