Foreign Assistance:

U.S. Participation in FAO's Technical Cooperation Program

NSIAD-94-32: Published: Jan 11, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. participation in the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), focusing on: (1) whether TCP projects fulfill the criteria that FAO has established for the program; (2) financial management of TCP; and (3) the role of FAO governing bodies and the United States in setting policy for TCP and following up on recommendations of the external auditor and other evaluators.

GAO found that: (1) many recipient governments believe that TCP projects are useful and have expressed their support for TCP programs; (2) some TCP project selection criteria lack specificity; (3) the FAO goal that TCP meet unforeseen needs is not consistently reflected in project selection criteria; (4) most TCP projects meet some criteria, but FAO lacks evidence of compliance with other criteria; (5) most TCP projects can be programmed in advance by FAO governing bodies; and (6) some TCP program and financial management practices are weak.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding the TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to pursue efforts to clarify and enforce TCP criteria that would be applicable to any unprogrammed project, in particularly, the requirements that projects meet urgent and unforeseen needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to pursue efforts to clarify and enforce TCP criteria that would be applicable to any unprogrammed project, in particularly, the requirements that projects meet urgent and unforeseen needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations. In its June 1997 statement on FAO's 1998-99 biennial budget, the United States indicated that an allocation of 20 percent should be set aside for emergencies.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to determine the portion of the TCP funding allocation that should remain unprogrammed for emergencies, and specifically define what constitutes urgent and unforeseen problems for which the unprogrammed funds could also be used.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations. In its June 1997 statement on FAO's 1998-99 biennial budget, the United States indicated that an allocation of 20 percent should be set aside for emergencies.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to determine the portion of the TCP funding allocation that should remain unprogrammed for emergencies, and specifically define what constitutes urgent and unforeseen problems for which the unprogrammed funds could also be used.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to program all remaining TCP activities in advance, allowing the Secretariat to approve project requests within the governing body allocations to program priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to program all remaining TCP activities in advance, allowing the Secretariat to approve project requests within the governing body allocations to program priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to consider programming technical cooperation funds on a geographic basis as well so that the amounts regions or countries receive are generally consistent with their need.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to State officials, the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO has had a continuing dialog with other member state delegations and FAO officials regarding TCP reform and the GAO recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with the Secretariat and other member states to consider programming technical cooperation funds on a geographic basis as well so that the amounts regions or countries receive are generally consistent with their need.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State officials indicate that the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO continues to work with delegations of other nations to strengthen governing body oversight of TCP.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with other member countries to strengthen governing body oversight of TCP. Particular attention should be given to the Secretariat's implementation of actions to correct management weaknesses, including the financial management shortcomings identified in this report. The recently instituted requirements that the Director General formally respond to the governing bodies about the implementation of auditor recommendations should be extended to evaluator recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State officials indicate that the U.S. Permanent Representative to FAO continues to work with delegations of other nations to strengthen governing body oversight of TCP.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with other member countries to strengthen governing body oversight of TCP. Particular attention should be given to the Secretariat's implementation of actions to correct management weaknesses, including the financial management shortcomings identified in this report. The recently instituted requirements that the Director General formally respond to the governing bodies about the implementation of auditor recommendations should be extended to evaluator recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department is raising this subject with FAO officials.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with other member countries and FAO to establish measurable long-term expected impacts of TCP and individual TCP projects, and develop a plan for conducting an impact evaluation of this program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department is raising this subject with FAO officials.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to work with other member countries and FAO to establish measurable long-term expected impacts of TCP and individual TCP projects, and develop a plan for conducting an impact evaluation of this program.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its meetings with FAO staff, the Department has discussed the need to make the criteria more transparent, particularly for nonemergency projects. The Department believes that FAO/TCP staff see the need for this change. It was to raise the issue again, and was cautiously optimistic that it would come about.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to pursue efforts to clarify and enforce criteria such as project duration and cost limits and requirements for follow-up and catalytic effect that would be applicable to all TCP projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its meetings with FAO staff, the Department has discussed the need to make the criteria more transparent, particularly for nonemergency projects. The Department believes that FAO/TCP staff see the need for this change. It was to raise the issue again, and was cautiously optimistic that it would come about.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Agriculture should instruct the U.S. Representative to FAO to pursue efforts to clarify and enforce criteria such as project duration and cost limits and requirements for follow-up and catalytic effect that would be applicable to all TCP projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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