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U.S. Government Accountability Office

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GAO Report – Millennium Challenge Corporation: MCC Has Addressed a Number of Implementation Challenges, but Needs to Improve Financial Controls and Infrastructure Planning

“This report, directed by the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, assesses MCC and MCA (1) financial controls; (2) procurement practices; and (3) development, implementation, and oversight of contracts and projects.”

GAO Testimony – International Food Assistance: A U.S. Government-wide Strategy Could Accelerate Progress toward Global Food Security

In testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, GAO representatives discussed “(1) host government and donor efforts to halve hunger, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, by 2015, and (2) the status of U.S. agencies’ implementation of GAO’s 2008 recommendations” to address food security issues, which included “(1) develop an integrated government-wide U.S. strategy that defines actions with specific time frames and resource commitments, enhances collaboration, and improves measures to monitor progress and (2) report annually to Congress on the implementation of the first recommendation.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight

In an effort to inform the discussion on the Administration’s plans to develop a “new global approach to hunger,” GAO summarized and evaluated previous food assistance reports with the objectives of “(1) updat[ing] U.S. agencies’ responses to GAO’s previous international food assistance recommendations and (2) identif[ing] potential oversight questions for Congressional consideration.” As a result of this evalution, the GAO “identified five issues for Congressional consideration to ensure more efficient and effective international food assistance: (1) coordination and integration, (2) needs assessments and market information, (3) transportation and logistics, (4) nutrition and food quality control, and (5) monitoring and evaluation.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: USAID Is Taking Actions to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation of Nonemergency Food Aid, but Weaknesses in Planning Could Impede Efforts

In this report, which was mandated by Congress in passage of the Food for Peace Act in 2008, GAO “reviews (1) USAID’s plans and actions to improve its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid programs and (2) the extent to which USAID has integrated its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid with program management.”

GAO Testimony – Influenza Pandemic: Gaps in Pandemic Planning and Preparedness Need to Be Addressed

At a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security, GAO staff testified on U.S. planning and preparedness efforts to address a potential influenza pandemic. Among other findings, GAO staff testified that “efforts are underway to improve the surveillance and detection of pandemic-related threats, but targeting assistance to countries at the greatest risk has been based on incomplete information, particularly from developing countries.”

GAO Report – President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief: Partner Selection and Oversight Follow Accepted Practices but Would Benefit from Enhanced Planning and Accountability

In this report, “GAO examined practices used in (1) selecting organizations to implement PEPFAR activities and (2) overseeing these organizations’ PEPFAR activities.” Additionally, “GAO recommends that the Secretary of State direct OGAC to take several steps to improve specific processes for selecting PEPFAR implementing partners and strengthen oversight of PEPFAR partners.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: Local and Regional Procurement Can Enhance the Efficiency of U.S. Food Aid, but Challenges May Constrain Its Implementation

In an analysis of the U.S. approach to delivering food aid, the General Accountability Office (GAO) compared local and regional procurement (LRP) of food aid to in-kind donations. The GAO found that LRP “offers donors a tool to reduce food aid costs and delivery time, but multiple challenges to ensuring cost-savings and timely delivery exist.” Some of the challenges faced by using LRP are: uncertain food quality, insufficient local and regional delivery capabilities, existing U.S. legislation requiring U.S. production and transportation of food assistance, and uncertain impacts on local markets (i.e. potential increased prices due to increased demand).

GAO Testimony on USAID Acquisition and Assistance

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.”

Representative Berman states U.S. needs comprehensive foreign assistance strategy

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.