NGOs' lessons for contingenciesOn April 11, 2011, the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (Commission) held a hearing to examine the mission and role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the development of nations in a wartime environment. The hearing focused on a six-NGO white paper, “Being Smart about Development in Afghanistan,” that several commissioners received while in Afghanistan on an information-gathering trip.
Four witnesses testified, representing NGOs who participated in creating the white paper. The fifth witness spoke from her perspective of the congressionally charted U.S. Institute of Peace. The commissioners explored the four principles of “smart development” outlined in the white paper: Afghan-driven, accountable, impartial, and sustainable. Examining the difference between NGOs and government-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), the witnesses discussed the benefits and challenges of smart development by NGOs and how certain aspects of their work, particularly the NGO tenet of impartiality, differ from the work of PRTs.
Testifying at the hearing were: Matthew McGarry, Country Manager, Catholic Relief Services; Anne Richard, Vice President, International Rescue Committee; Michael Bowers, Regional Program Director for South Asia, Mercy Corps; Michael Klosson, Vice President, Save the Children; Beth Cole, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Institute of Peace.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Commission Co-Chair Christopher Shays presided.
Transcript: April 11, 2011 Hearing
Matthew McGarry, Country Manager, Catholic Relief Services
Anne C. Richard, Vice President, International Rescue Committee
Michael Bowers, Regional Program Director for South Asia, Mercy Corps
Michael Klosson, Vice President, Save the Children
Beth Cole, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Institute of Peace