Population Growth Problem in Developing Countries:

Coordinated Assistance Essential

ID-78-54: Published: Dec 29, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 29, 1978.

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Rapid population growth in developing countries impedes efforts to improve the quality of life. Many governmental, international, and private and voluntary organizations provide population assistance to an ever increasing number of countries.

The magnitude of the population problem, the increasing number of developing countries establishing population programs and seeking external assistance, and the many organizations involved in providing and carrying out such assistance combine to make effective coordination essential. Such coordination is needed to ensure that funds are applied to the highest priorities, that country programs are as efficient as possible, and that opportunities to reduce costs are identified and taken. GAO believes that for each recipient developing country, that country's government and the major donors should agree on a long range plan or strategy, effective coordinating leadership, and an appropriate division of program responsibilities. Such a division of responsibilities among the major donors, and specialization on the part of others providing assistance, will result in improved programs and also provide a mechanism for substantial cost savings by consolidating requirements for procurment of supplies and services.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: GAO advises that the Agency of International Development (AID) implement or seek implementation of appropriate, systematic coordination practices that incorporate (1) sound features of long range planning, (2) participation in the identification and continuing recognition of effective in-country coordinating leadership, (3) close collaboration by AID, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, and the World Bank in undertaking their country-specific assessments of population situations and reaching agreement on needs, (4) adherence to an appropriate division of program responsibility in each country where population assistance is being provided by more than one major donor, and (5) encouragement of specialization among the nongovernment organizations active in population activities. To help develop guidelines and identity opportunities to improve coordination, the Administrator should require that the U.S. missions in countries receiving U.S. population assistance funds describe the local coordination situation and make suggestions for improvements. Finally, the agency's regional bureaus should instruct in-country missions to work with recipient government to effectively establish such practices wherever U.S. population assistance is being provided bilaterally.

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