International Environment:

Agency Travel Funds Adequate, Except State Department Role Decreased

RCED-92-76: Published: May 12, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether travel funding was adequate for international environmental meetings and negotiations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of State.

GAO found that: (1) EPA, DOE, and NOAA have had adequate travel funds to send representatives to international meetings on the environment; (2) both the numbers of meetings on international environmental issues and the amounts agencies have spent on foreign travel have increased in recent years; (3) between fiscal years 1986 and 1990, overall and foreign travel fund obligations for EPA, NOAA, and DOE have increased in 1982 constant dollars; (4) agencies' use of operations funds to pay for foreign travel it has not adversely affected agency programs; (5) at State, limitations on the availability of travel funds have restricted staff from participating in international environmental activities; and (6) State staff have limited their direct involvement to the most important or critical meetings and increasingly rely on other agencies to represent U.S. interests at meetings that they can not attend.