As part of its emphasis on maximizing the impact of limited resources, the 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), highlighted in Chapter 3, recognized the role of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships (STI+P) in planning. This chapter examines how STI+P currently contributes to planning at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) missions and in Washington, and potential benefits to expanding the role as a set of tools (such as data and research) and approaches (such as an emphasis on evidence-gathering and competition) throughout the program cycle.
The QDDR calls for the Department of State and USAID to unite their planning, budgeting, and performance management processes into a single, coherent process.1 The revised strategic planning process comprises four steps:2
- Senior leadership at the Department of State and USAID develop a Joint Strategic Plan, drawing on national-level strategies. This plan identifies the highest priorities to the president, secretary of state, and USAID administrator, describes strategies to achieve those priorities and criteria for measuring results, and guides the overall budget process for submitting the annual request to Congress.
- From the Joint Strategic Plan, USAID’s Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL) and the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning work with other bureaus in their respective or
1 QDDR 2010, pp. 189–191.
2 QDDR 2010, p. 191.
- ganizations to develop strategic priorities guidance. This guidance lays out multiyear priorities to drive planning processes and resource allocation in the annual budget process, with priorities laid out by country and by development sector/issue.
- At the country level, the chief of mission (ambassador) chairs the development of an Integrated Country Strategy (ICS), bringing together U.S. government agencies with programs in-country. The ICS is a multi-year strategy with two main components: the Country Diplomatic Strategy and the Country Foreign Assistance Strategy.
- In Washington, bureaus and other technical offices at the Department of State and USAID develop regional and functional strategies that contribute to fleshing out Integrated Country Strategies, particularly in interpreting and applying congressional requirements.
In more than 60 countries, the Country Foreign Assistance Strategy takes the form of a Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).3 A CDCS is a 3- to 5-year strategic plan through which USAID can “define development objectives and maximize the impact of development cooperation.”4 The CDCS incorporates the USAID Policy Framework, agency-wide policies and strategies, U.S. government policies and strategies, and presidential initiatives into a country-specific and results-oriented strategy.5 Development of the CDCS and its outlined objectives are coordinated with the host-country governments.
USAID began employing the CDCS planning process at 25 of its missions in 2010. To date, 60 of 62 missions have completed a CDCS.6 Drawing on evidence and analyses such as USAID-commissioned evalua-
3 QDDR 2010, p. 192. Note that a regional mission creates a Regional Development Cooperation Strategy, but CDCS is used in this report for consistency.
4 Operational Policy (ADS) ch. 201, p. 9.
5 USAID Country Strategies, https://www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/planning/country-strategies-cdcs; USAID Strategy and Planning, https://www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/planning; ADS ch. 201, p. 9.
6 USAID Country Strategies, https://www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/planning/country-strategies-cdcs.
tions or World Bank assessments, the CDCS identifies key development challenges and opportunities for the mission to address.7 As detailed in the Automated Directives System (ADS, the agency’s “how-to” operational policies), the mission proposes a CDCS Goal, which represents the cumulative result of Development Objectives, which in turn stem from the achievement of Intermediate Results and sub-Intermediate Results. Achievement of each level of results depends on achieving those in the level below.
The mission then develops a Results Framework, which depicts the CDCS Goal, Development Objectives, Intermediate Results, and sub-Intermediate Results, along with performance indicators (see Figure 4-1 for an example). As part of the Results Framework narrative, USAID guidance calls for a mission to articulate how it will use science, technology, and innovation (STI).8
7 ADS ch. 201, pp. 12–13.
8 ADS ch. 201, p. 20.
Opportunities to Incorporate STI+P in the CDCS Process
USAID Forward reforms recognize that STI can produce particularly powerful outcomes when complemented by other investments. There are many ways that STI can and is being incorporated into CDCS in order to advance progress toward overall development goals. For example, as part of their CDCS, missions invest to strengthen host-country STI capacity through cooperative research grants, higher education training and institutional development opportunities, and access to technical tools and expertise available through the Washington pillar bureaus, such as access to Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) or advice on agricultural research, extension, and education.
Evaluation and Learning in the CDCS
STI plays a role in planning through an emphasis on monitoring, evaluation, and learning—for example, using science and technology to gather data that can feed into more informed decision making throughout the plan. The 2010 QDDR asserted that, “High impact development must be informed by knowledge, analysis, and learning” and requires a strong foundation of research and evaluation.9 Therefore, USAID and the State Department committed themselves to integrating evidence into their strategic planning and program design, and both agencies established formal policies for evaluating programs (see Chapter 6).
Missions are required to explicitly address evaluation in their CDCS, identifying high-priority evaluation questions and at least one opportunity for impact in each Development Objective.10 The CDCS must reference the assumptions and evidence used to reach significant conclusions.11 This seems to be reasonably well accepted and acted upon: An independent study commissioned by USAID found that 59 per-
9 QDDR 2010, pp. 197-198.
10 ADS ch. 201, pp. 21-22.
11 USAID Learning from Experience, http://usaidprojectstarter.org/content/learning-experience; 51 at the time of the evaluation—45 CDCSs and 6 Regional Development Cooperation Strategies.
cent of approved CDCSs cited USAID evaluations.12 Missions draw on evidence from other sources as well: 41 percent referenced published research and 16 percent cited non-USAID evaluations.13 While evidence from evaluations often validates a mission’s existing strategy, interviews did reveal examples where evaluation led to a shift in strategy.
A learning approach (i.e., an approach to use experience to improve programs as they unroll) is not required in a CDCS, although it is encouraged in implementation. Because the CDCS is a multiyear planning tool, the country and regional context may change over the course of its implementation, and integrating a learning framework throughout the CDCS process and guidance is recognized as helpful.14
A CDCS is developed through a collaborative process that includes interagency and host-country partners,15 stemming from the realization that “we cannot achieve the caliber of development results we seek alone.”16 The primary focus, traditionally, has been government-to-government discussions. For STI, the planning process needs to include all those essential to meeting the defined goals; for some purposes, that means less of a government top-down approach and more of a multisector, open process. Particularly where a mission chooses to focus on innovation cultures and the need to work with risk-taking sectors such as small business, the process will have to be much more open. One of the key principles laid out in the QDDR is the need for a whole-of-government approach that appropriately leverages the skills and exper-
14 USAID CDCS Development and Implementation, https://usaidlearninglab.org/learning-guide/cdcs-development-implementation.
15 USAID CDCS Development and Implementation, http://usaidlearninglab.org/learning-guide/cdcs-development-implementation; QDDR 2010, p. 195.
16 QDDR 2010, p. 77.
Most host-country governments have policies aimed at developing STI capabilities as critical underpinnings of national development. Beyond indicating national priorities, however, many of these countries are not yet able to provide effective ecosystem support (e.g., training and education, funds for research and publishing, technology transfer and commercialization, intellectual property rights) at consistent levels. Additional challenges arise when government structures have overlapping or unclear STI responsibilities. Under these circumstances, USAID can play a key role as a convener or co-convener of relevant parties in the host country from across industry, academia, government, and nonprofit sectors to discuss STI priorities and options for program design and implementation. The co-convener role can be particularly valuable for innovation projects where the roadmap requires non-USAID organizations to play a key role. The CDCS process and follow-up activities also provide an opportunity for USAID to provide assistance to country governments and stakeholders to convene and coordinate the activities of multiple donor agencies and international organizations interested in supporting STI activities.
USAID missions harness STI for achieving country and regional impacts in a variety of ways based on the host-country context and opportunities. The following examples describe CDCSs that focus on various elements of STI and its role in development, from an overall system approach, to dealing with critical issues, to how tools can contribute to development goals (see Box 4-1).
17 QDDR 2010, pp. xv, 3.
18 QDDR 2010, pp. 98, 190.
Finding 4.1: Incorporation of STI into a USAID mission CDCS reflects a host country’s economic status and priorities. This incorporation can be targeted at capacity-building of the STI ecosystem in countries with high-level objectives, such as India and Indonesia, or drawn upon for more specific outcomes, as in Colombia and Kenya.
Pillar and Regional Bureaus
In addition to contributing to CDCS development, pillar bureaus plan their own STI programs. Particularly in regard to science, the bureaus can invest in longer-term, pipeline programs that may not have immediate buy-in from the missions. The science teams in the pillar bu-
reaus, along with the Global Development Lab, are also logical “portals” to engage with counterparts in other U.S. government agencies.
Specialized offices in the regional bureaus provide technical support to multiple country and regional missions. The Offices of Technical Services in the Asia and Middle East Bureaus, for example, provide technical expertise to support field missions in designing, monitoring, and evaluating programs; analyze technical issues such as water; provide advocacy and information dissemination; work with USAID pillar bureaus in developing strategies and sector policy guidance; and engage throughout the agency.19 The Middle East Bureau was instrumental in establishing the Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence.20
Overall, regional bureaus play a limited role in integrating STI+P into the CDCS process, depending on the choice of the leadership in each bureau to allocate staff and resources, and each pillar bureau also has its own style for engagement. Thus Global Health has a long tradition of intensive engagement between Washington and the missions. The issues of engagement with the pillar and regional bureaus become more salient in Chapter 8, with regard to coordination of implementation of STI+P activities.
Global Development Lab
As noted in Box 4-1, USAID/Indonesia tapped into Lab resources when it developed its CDCS. The Lab wants to expand as a source of intra-agency expertise to other missions. For example, as CDCS documents are developed and updated, the Lab conducts regular reviews to determine where relevant STI input can be provided and strengthened by sharing feedback on incorporating STI elements, links mission staff with STI resources and contacts in the host country, and sends Lab staff into the field for short- and medium-term STI advising at the mission. The Lab is developing a matrix of CDCS priorities by country and relevant STI program elements that appear in each mission strategy.
19 USAID Bureau for the Middle East, https://www.usaid.gov/who-weare/organization/bureaus/bureau-middle-east.
Because of limited resources, the Lab has begun to prioritize its level of engagements and support for missions and bureaus. Prioritization criteria for engagement is based partially on the assumption that regional missions are better positioned to share STI learning and best practices across bilateral missions and host-country governments or regional bodies. The Lab is testing this assumption through the establishment of “Next Generation” offices to provide focused STI+P assistance for a finite period of time and then conduct an evaluation. The initial Next Generation offices were in Uganda (see Box 4-2), West Africa Regional, Southern Africa Regional, and the Water Office in the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment. Each year, the Lab plans to select a new round of Next Generation offices and examine the current cohort to see if they still need assistance or are ready to move forward without the Lab’s assistance. In addition, “knowledge partners” who are at a more advanced stage in STI+P integration have been identified with whom the Lab will collaborate and develop best practices to share within USAID. These initial knowledge partners are Indonesia, India, Regional Development Mission for Asia, Global Health/Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact, the Bureau for Food Security, Power Africa, and the Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. Given that this unrolling of priorities is in its initial stages, evaluation will have to await several years of experience by the Lab.
Perhaps the most important, and yet most challenging, in this regard centers on scaling innovations. Among the new Lab approaches, innovation has the potential to demonstrate effectiveness. At the same time, most venture-type work is done by the Lab with little involvement by the missions. A critical question is how to more tightly integrate the various parts of USAID so that the field/missions are bought into the process of problem development, exploration, and testing, and are in a position to scale solutions across countries. This chapter identifies the use of the CDCS process to engage with missions, but how this happens around innovation remains a major question.
The preceding sections describe the various ways USAID is integrating and using STI+P in the strategic planning process that leads to the CDCS. When both host-country partners and mission leadership prioritize science, technology, innovation, and partnerships in their various forms, the CDCS reflects this, as the examples in Box 4-1 showed. Other issues can enhance or reduce the likelihood of a CDCS that incorporates STI+P approaches. While the committee did not conduct a systematic review of adherence to these practices at the present time, it did meet with enough mission and Washington representatives both to identify current good practices (described in the boxes in this chapter, including Box 4-3 below) and recognize the work that remains to integrate the planning processes across the agency.
Finding 4.2: USAID missions have a suite of tools and resources offered by the Global Development Lab and pillar bureaus that they could use to inform their policy and program development efforts, but they do not always access them to their full potential.
Recommendation 4.1: USAID should bring together STI experts from pillar bureaus, the lab, missions, and the host countries via face-to-face workshops and webinars, regionally and/or topic-based, to share information on available STI resources and state-of-the-art advances.
Recommendation 4.2: As missions and bureaus develop more innovation opportunities in their portfolios, USAID should increase incentives for including informed risk-taking and learning throughout the planning process. Incentives should focus on stronger integration of evolution processes in the project development stage that provide for real-time feedback of lessons learned and inclusion of experts in designing scaling outcomes.
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