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Observations on the U.S. Agency for International Development's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

NSIAD-99-188R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan for the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) AID's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a general overview of intended performance across the agency and a general discussion of the strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals; (2) however, AID needs to develop a clearer linkage between broad development goals and specific AID country program goals and results; (3) for example, although the plan cites increased reliance on private markets as one of AID's long-term performance goals, the plan provides no information as to how AID strategies or programs support this goal; (4) AID also needs to continue its efforts to improve the quality of data used to measure performance; (5) AID's FY 2000 performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan in that it shows some progress in addressing the weaknesses that GAO identified in its assessment of the FY 1999 plan; (6) in reviewing the FY 1999 plan, GAO observed that: (a) most of the goals and measures were broadly defined to reflect the overall goals of the international donor community, making it difficult to assess the results of AID's specific activities; (b) the plan did not provide details on AID's specific strategies and programs, the external factors involved, or the specific resources to be provided; and (c) the plan did not discuss the reliability of performance information that it will use to demonstrate the linkage of its programs to results; and (7) among improvements in the FY 2000 plan, GAO noted that: (a) AID has provided greater detail in discussing agency goals and performance indicators by geographic regions, although not comprehensively by country; (b) AID has in some areas tried to provide data linking performance indicators to countries having AID programs, rather than just providing overall regional data; and (c) AID has provided a more thorough discussion of data limitations and external factors affecting the results of its programs.

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