The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the independent federal agency that manages U.S. foreign economic and humanitarian assistance programs around the world.
Working with individuals, governments, and other organizations, USAID supports sustainable development: economic and social growth that does not exhaust local resources; that does not damage the economic, cultural, or natural environment; that permanently increases the cohesion and productive capacity of the society; and that builds local institutions that involve and empower the citizenry.
USAID focuses on five areas critical to sustainable development:
Environment: The fouling of groundwater, air pollution, oceanic dumping, global warming, and deforestation are transnational problems. USAID works with individuals and governments, private voluntary organizations (PVOs) and non governmental organizations (NGOs) to create enterprises that are productive, energy efficient, and clean. It also support programs that help protect global biodiversity.
Population and Health: The most important resources are human resources. USAID supports long-term approaches to population and health problems, including support for family planning systems and services, vaccination and immunization programs, AIDS prevention, and child and maternal nutrition programs.
Democracy: Emerging democracies around the world have just begun consolidating the institutions of a civic society. USAID works with local and national governments and indigenous PVOs and NGOs to support free and fair elections, to teach the skills of democratic governance, and to help citizens empower themselves and become full participants in their own development.
Broad-based Economic Growth: A strong free-market economy is the foundation of a stable democracy. By supporting economic growth, USAID creates markets for American goods and services. USAID's programs are appropriate to local needs, resources, and skills. They are designed to generate many incomes, to introduce new technologies, and to encourage humane working conditions.
Humanitarian Assistance and Support for Post-crisis Transitions: As the U.S. agency responsible for disaster relief, USAID supports crisis prevention programs and provides emergency humanitarian assistance and food aid. USAID also helps nations that are emerging from natural disasters or internal conflicts address their special needs and return to the path of sustainable development.
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