Honoring Senator Lugar’s commitment to development

This article was originally posted by the Center for Global Development.

I’m excited to share that the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Foreign Policy magazine will honor US Senator Richard Lugar with the 2012 Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award.  The award, bestowed annually since 2003, recognizes an individual or organization for changing the attitudes, policies, and practices of the rich world toward the developing world.   While the Senator’s contributions to US foreign policy over his four decades of service are too many to list here, I’ll highlight three attributes that I think illustrate these credentials:

Senator Lugar’s career is marked by a long-view and consideration of challenges that loom beyond most policy horizons.  He was instrumental in the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, often called the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill for the three co-authors, which authorized up to $1.5 billion a year for five years for non-military development assistance to Pakistan.  The bill promoted investments in jobs, growth, and democracy building in one of the most critical fronts in the US effort to combat violent extremism.  While dealings between the US and Pakistan has been punctuated by controversy, the bill helped to introduce greater balance to a strategic relationship that has long been dominated by short-to-medium term security concerns.

Senator Lugar was also a leading voice on Capitol Hill for elevating development as a critical tool of US foreign policy alongside defense and diplomacy.  As the Republican leader of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has been instrumental in pushing for a more effective US development strategy and for US foreign assistance programs that promote capacity, accountability, and transparency.   He has also championed US efforts against global hunger, sponsoring legislation that would re-orient US foreign assistance programs to focus on promoting food security and rural development in countries with large, chronically hungry populations.

Finally, Senator Lugar has brought enthusiasm for innovative new solutions to the legislation he proposed and supported. For instance, the Vaccines for the Futures Act – introduced by Senator Lugar in 2007 – looked beyond usual mechanisms to speed the development of vaccines for global killers like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and endorsed new market-based approaches like Advanced Market Commitments (AMCs), which encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines for diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia that primarily affect poor countries. This approach has helped to make new pneumococcal vaccines available in 19 countries and is predicted to cover 40 countries by 2015—averting as many as 650,000 deaths within the next four years.

In the words of Moises Naim, Senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and CDA selection committee co-chair: “Senator Lugar sets the bar for American policymakers dedicated to improving US foreign assistance and global development.”

Watch the award ceremony here or in the player below

About the Author: Jenny Ottenhoff is the Policy Outreach Associate at the Center for Global Development