AID and Universities Have Yet To Forge an Effective Partnership To Combat World Food Problems

ID-82-3: Published: Oct 16, 1981. Publicly Released: Oct 16, 1981.

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The goal of title XII, the Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger amendment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is to improve and strengthen the involvement of U.S. land-grant and other eligible universities in solving developing countries' food problems. To assist and advise the Agency for International Development (AID) in achieving this goal, a presidentially appointed board, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), was established. GAO conducted a review to evaluate AID efforts to implement the provisions of title XII and to identify ways to improve AID/university ability to provide agricultural assistance to developing countries.

In the nearly 6 years since the passage of title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act progress in expanding and improving U.S. university involvement in AID agricultural development activities has been slow. AID and the title XII community have yet to forge a partnership to fight world food problems. AID, BIFAD, and the U.S. university community efforts to improve university involvement in AID technical-assistance projects through such programs as strengthening grants, collaborative research, baseline studies, and other mechanisms, have yet to manifest better project performance abroad. University projects continue to experience costly and time-consuming delays which limit project results and detract from the quality of assistance provided.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, in consultation with the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, should improve AID/university implementation of title XII objectives by issuing a policy directive clarifying the AID position on, and commitment to, implementing the title XII concept to combat world food problems. The policy directive should: (1) communicate the importance of, and establish the priority of, title XII in relation to the overall AID agricultural development strategy; (2) specify the extent to which title XII mechanisms are to be emphasized in AID research and technical assistance; (3) delineate the Board role to assist AID operating units in carrying out these activities; and (4) be widely disseminated within the title VII community.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, in consultation with the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development, should improve AID/university implementation of title XII objectives by reviewing all current AID guidelines and instructions pertaining to U.S. universities and other title XII institutions, and developing consolidated guidelines in the AID operational and procedural handbooks and instructions which: (1) define title XII activities; (2) establish university procurement and contracting procedures; (3) lay out the operational roles and responsibilities of university contractors and missions on overseas projects; and (4) provide other necessary guidance to facilitate an AID/university working relationship.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, in consultation with the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development, should improve AID/university implementation of title XII objectives by developing better means of preparing, orienting, and assisting university contract staff for overseas assignments. University contractors should: (1) receive a complete orientation on the unique, cultural, social, political, and economic characteristics of each foreign location; (2) be able to anticipate the expected or potential problems in working with foreign-country counterparts; (3) be aware of the AID method of operation in each location; and (4) be given adequate assistance to overcome administrative and logistical problems, such as clearing customs and obtaining adequate housing.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the AID sizable investment in strengthening grants meets a clear need and will be fully used, the Administrator, AID, should include, as part of the planned 1982 evaluation of the grant program, a provision to assess the likely and appropriate level of AID utilization of universities in its program activities. The Administrator should consider incorporating the strengthening grant program as part of the proposed individual AID/university memorandum of agreements.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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