Foreign Assistance:

Administration of Funds for the International Fund for Ireland

NSIAD-89-53: Published: Apr 3, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1989.

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GAO reviewed the Agency for International Development's (AID) role in monitoring the activities and administration of U.S. contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), established to promote economic and social reconstruction and development in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

GAO found that AID: (1) disbursed $120 million in congressional appropriations to the Fund for fiscal years (FY) 1986 through 1988 and planned to contribute between $10 million and $35 million for FY 1989; (2) stipulated that the Fund use the contribution to stimulate private-sector economic growth through activities that would produce visible and measurable results; (3) provided to Congress annual Fund activity status reports, based largely on Fund documents and not on independent evaluations; (4) encouraged the Fund's board of directors to collect relevant economic data in an appropriate format to improve AID ability to report on the Fund's achievements; (5) expressed uncertainty over its ability to measure the Fund's impact on social change, although it continued efforts to develop meaningful criteria for measuring social change; (6) did not assess whether the Fund immediately needed or used U.S. contributions; and (7) did not have the right to audit the Fund's activities, although an agreement between Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States stipulated that AID would receive audited financial reports on Fund operations and other information. GAO also found that the Fund's reports did address whether its activities complied with contributor intentions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID advised the Board that it is now reporting on economic indicators and will continue to improve capabilities as time goes on.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should request the International Fund for Ireland's (IFI) Board of Directors to further develop its capability to collect, sort, analyze, and report economic indicators of the Fund's achievements.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID continues to regard this recommendation as diplomatically and financially not feasible. However, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 1990, contains the provision that such amount shall be expended at the minimum rate necessary to make timely payments for projects and activities.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should exercise greater fiscal control over money disbursed to the Fund by evaluating the timing of U.S. contributions to the Fund so the money is transferred only when needed to minimize interest on the public debt.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Peat, Marwick and Mitchell will do annual performance reports.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should request the International Fund for Ireland's Board of Directors to report specifically on the basis of a performance audit on how the program is being managed to comply with its intended purpose and donor wishes.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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