Observations on the U.S. Agency for International Development's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001 Performance Plans

NSIAD-00-195R: Published: Jun 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2000.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Agency for International Development's (AID) fiscal year (FY) 1999 performance report and fiscal years 2000 and 2001 performance plans, required by the Government Performance and Results Act.

GAO noted that: (1) AID has made progress in establishing outcome-oriented goals and developing indicators and targets that help measure overall results; (2) however, because the agency's goals in the three outcome areas are so broad and progress is affected by many factors other than AID programs, the indicators cannot realistically serve as measures of the agency's specific efforts; (3) AID recognizes this limitation and has improved its FY 2001 performance plan to discuss agency efforts within this broader context; (4) AID is also seeking to better understand the relationships between its specific programs and their contributions to the desired overall outcomes; (5) with respect to the outcome of increased economic growth in developing countries, the agency's program strategies, as described in its performance report and performance plan, generally support its five goals; (6) of course, international economic forces and host country policies can significantly affect economic growth, as AID fully recognizes; (7) the agency's goal to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission and the impact of HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is outcome-oriented; (8) in 2000, AID established a specific numeric goal for reducing HIV transmission by 10 percent; (9) AID has not established a performance goal and indicators to measure its progress in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS, noting that it recently designed programs in this area; (10) the agency recognizes the need to improve the quality and timeliness of its performance data in order to understand the relationships between its programs and results, and it describes these efforts in several places in its FY 2001 plan; (11) in general, where data are reported on various indicators for the FY 1999 performance report, the most recent data are from the end of the 1998 calendar year; (12) AID's major management challenges remain: (a) implementing a comprehensive financial management system; (b) improving the reliability of its financial management information; (c) improving its information security; (d) monitoring the year 2000 technology update problem; (e) improving results reporting; (f) improving human resource capabilities; and (g) addressing the breadth of AID's program management mandate; (13) AID recognizes the challenges in almost all of these areas and cites overall progress in developing strategies to address them; and (14) however, its FY 2001 performance plan provides only general timeframes and does not set progress milestones or indicate resource allocations for addressing any of its management challenges.

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