What is Joe Biden's political agenda
New voice for human rights and good governance
If the choice of Power is based on bringing a rights and good governance approach to sectors such as global health and climate change, then that fits Biden's domestic policy setting in environmental and health policy. For example, Michael Regan, who will lead the US Environmental Protection Agency, is both a scientist and an advocate for a rights-based approach to climate change. In principle, the USA's claim in development cooperation also wants to be justified domestically, and this is reflected in various personal details, including Samantha Power.
Dealing with Conflicts
In some respects, human rights and democracy will be inevitable, such as in relation to Myanmar, where USAID is active both in promoting democracy and in ongoing peace and reconciliation work. These are key areas that Samantha Power is an expert in and has worked for over a decade. If the Biden government hopes to cope with the current humanitarian and health crises, it will also depend on establishing human rights and governance-based access to fields such as food security and global health. The example of Yemen makes it clear that USAID cannot guarantee a basic supply of food if it does not set up programs for peacekeeping and conflict resolution in parallel.
Another sector in which strengthening good governance and promoting democracy will be central is global health. USAID is leading the way in providing COVID support in developing countries. In Tanzania, for example, increasing authoritarianism has prepared the ground for the simple denial of the existence of Covid-19 and the refusal to import vaccines. Without addressing the underlying issues of human rights, peace and conflict resolution, and democratic accountability, USAID will find it difficult to advance in other areas of technical cooperation.
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