International Joint Commission:

U.S. Activities and Oversight

NSIAD-98-252R: Published: Sep 30, 1998. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the International Joint Commission (IJC), focusing on: (1) providing information on the Commission's operations and activities, including proposed changes in the scope of its responsibilities; (2) identifying the U.S. Section's source and uses of funds; and (3) examining financial and managerial oversight of the U.S. Section's activities.

GAO noted that: (1) IJC is actively involved in the management of boundary and transboundary waters of the United States and Canada; (2) as new water and environmental issues have arisen, the range of the Commission has expanded; (3) this trend is expected to continue, as the Commission has proposed at the request of the two governments several broad initiatives for assisting the governments in meeting the binational environmental challenges of the 21st century; (4) the U.S. Section of the Commission received funding of about $3.2 million in fiscal year 1997, which was used mainly to fund operating expenses for its Washington, D.C. office, its share of the costs of the Commission's Windsor, Ontario, regional office, and work done for the Commission by the U.S. Geological Survey; (5) U.S. Section and Department of State officials acknowledged that oversight of the Commission's activities is limited; (6) the State Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) performed a program audit of the U.S. Section's activities in 1982; GAO performed the last audit of commission programs in 1989; (7) there have been no financial or program audits of the U.S. Section since 1989, nor is there a requirement to do so; and (8) after GAO completed its review, the U.S. Section informed GAO that it was working with the OIG to develop a schedule of regular financial audits by independent accounting firms and, possibly, program audits by OIG.

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