It is up to development organizations to steer the sector and its funders toward an integrated approach, and the effort must be backed by evidence, panelists agreed during a first-of-its-kind international development discussion organized by a new coalition known as Locus: The Point of International Development.

The June 23 event, held in Washington, D.C., included speakers from Pact, FHI 360 and Aga Khan Foundation. All three are members of Locus, which seeks to change the way the sector funds and implements its work.

The discussion, entitled “Integrated Solutions for Meaningful Change,” focused on integrated development, a model that moves away from siloed programs and instead combines interventions in areas such as health, education, livelihoods, the environment and governance. Proponents believe that when efforts complement each other – when programs improve people’s lives on multiple fronts at the same time in a given community – the result equals more than the sum of the parts.

The development community has made significant progress since the adoption of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, said moderator Adeeb Mahmud, of FSG, a consulting firm that works with international development organizations. Millions of deaths have been averted, and millions of people are no longer living in extreme poverty.

But persistent development challenges remain, Mahmud said, noting that most programs are siloed, foreign aid is largely unsustainable and little has been done to develop shared approaches to measuring impact.

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