WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bread for the World is encouraged by the USAID Forward progress report released today by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report outlines advances the agency has made toward streamlining development programs and organizational structure—part of a series of reforms initiated by President Obama during his first term. "At a time when budgets are being cut left and right, it is uplifting to see lifesaving assistance to vulnerable people made more efficient and effective," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "In particular, we applaud USAID's emphasis on including the voices of local people, promoting public-private partnerships, and strengthening systems of transparency and accountability." Although it makes up less than 1 percent of the federal budget, poverty-focused development assistance has helped reduce child deaths, increase school enrollment, and curtail the incidence of AIDS for millions of people around the world. In recent years, the United States has taken several steps to reform overarching foreign assistance policy—for example, implementing the September 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) and undertaking the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which integrated planning for diplomacy and development missions. The new report highlights key tenets set forth in the PPD, including selectivity, country ownership, economic growth and innovation, partnership, and evaluation. "Bread for the World and others in the international development community have worked for years to improve the efficacy of systems that support hungry and poor people in developing countries," Beckmann said. "These are reforms Bread for the World advocated for in our 2009 Offering of Letters campaign when thousands across the country wrote to members of Congress urging them to elevate development as a national priority alongside defense and diplomacy. We thank God for this development as we move closer to a world without hunger."