U.S. Insular Areas:

Development Strategy and Better Coordination Among U.S. Agencies Are Needed

NSIAD-94-62: Published: Feb 7, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 7, 1994.

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GAO reviewed U.S. economic assistance to its insular areas, focusing on the extent that the United States has: (1) ensured coordination between the various agencies that provide assistance; and (2) developed goals and strategies for its assistance programs.

GAO found that: (1) although the overall U.S. policy is to support the economic development of insular areas, the United States does not have specific objectives for its economic development programs, a clear strategy to achieve its goals, or a formal mechanism for coordinating federal agency activities in the islands; (2) no federal agency has the sole responsibility for coordinating development activities for the insular areas; (3) interagency coordination takes place on an as-needed basis, since agencies pursue different development activities according to their own priorities; (4) in 1992, the Department of Commerce reported that U.S. expenditures or obligations in the insular areas totalled about $1.5 billion; (5) the United States does not maintain consolidated data on federal spending in the insular areas; and (6) the Department of the Interior should establish an interagency committee to define U.S. goals and objectives in the insular areas, develop an overall insular area strategy to guide federal activity and promote economic development, and establish mechanisms to coordinate federal activity.

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