In a hearing before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), GAO staff provided testimony on the challenges facing the development of USAID’s strategic workforce plan for its Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) efforts. GAO stated that USAID “has shifted from conducting its own activities to managing acquisition and assistance (A&A) instruments – contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements – it awards to implementing organization” and that USAID staff are now “responsible for monitoring the activities of A&A recipients to provide reasonable assurance that the funds provided are used in accordance with applicable regulations and policies and sound business practices.” GAO found that “USAID lacks the capacity to develop and implement a strategic workforce plan because it is missing two elements: (1) sufficiently reliable and up-to-date data on its overseas A&A staff levels and (2) comprehensive information on the competencies of its overseas A&A staff.”
The bill directs “the President to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting global development, and for other purposes.” In developing the strategy, the bill directs the president to better define the roles of USG departments and agencies, improve coordination between these departments and agencies, and increase the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. development programs.
Among other things, the bill states that “child marriage undermines United States investments in foreign assistance . . . to reduce maternal and child mortality, reduce maternal illness, halt the transmission of HIV/AIDS [and] prevent gender-based violence.” The bill requires the President to establish a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage and authorizes the President to implement a variety of foreign assistance programs directed at the needs of girls including “access to water and suitable hygiene facilities . . . [and] access to health care services and proper nutrition for adolescent girls.” The bill authorizes “such sums as necessary.”
Responding to a Government Accountability Report (GAO) on Foreign Aid Reform, Congressman Berman stated that “the findings of a GAO report issued today prove the need for a comprehensive strategy for U.S. foreign assistance efforts”. The Congressman also stated he “would soon introduce legislation to ensure that the United States has a comprehensive strategy to reduce global poverty and promote broad-based economic growth in developing countries.”
GAO Report – Foreign Aid Reform: Comprehensive Strategy, Interagency Coordination, and Operational Improvements Would Bolster Current Efforts
At the request of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and Representative Howard Berman (D-CA, 28th), the General Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an analysis of an effort initiated in January 2006 by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “to better align foreign assistance programs with U.S. foreign policy.” Recommendations made by the GAO to improve this alignment process include developing a government wide foreign assistance strategy, improving interdepartmental communications, and establishing a long-term workforce management plan.
S.Con.Res 18 – A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of World Malaria Day, and reaffirming United States leadership and support for efforts to combat malaria
Among other things, the resolution expresses support for achieving the target of ending malaria deaths by 2015, reaffirms the U.S. commitment to combat malaria, and urges improved coordination among U.S. and other international health programs.
The bill would create an â€œOffice of Waterâ€ at USAID headed by a â€œDirector for Safe Water and Sanitationâ€ with the responsibility of implementing the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-121) and meeting the goal of providing 100 million people with safe water and sanitation by 2015. The bill also creates the position of â€œSpecial Coordinator for International Waterâ€ at the State Department with the responsibility of coordinating U.S. diplomatic policy in relation to other international issues. The bill authorizes appropriations in the amount that â€œmay be necessary to carry out this Act.â€
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act provides legislative authorization for the Volunteers for Prosperity program (VfP). VfP was created in 2003 by Executive Order to promote the voluntary service of Americans abroad. VfP provides volunteers with stipends to cover travel and living expenses. The bill creates an “Office of Volunteers for Prosperity” (VfP) within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), establishes a set of program objectives addressing a range of health care challenges in developing countries, and authorizes $10 million for 2010.
From the report summary: “This report provides an overview of the U.S. foreign aid program, by answering frequently asked questions on the subject.”
From the report summary: “This report analyzes the FY2009 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action for FY2009. This report will be updated to further reflect congressional action.”