Multilateral Assistance:

Accountability for U.S. Contributions to the World Food Program

T-NSIAD-94-174: Published: May 5, 1994. Publicly Released: May 5, 1994.

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GAO discussed its review of the Agency for International Development's (AID) management of U.S. food donations to the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP). GAO noted that: (1) AID has not met the few oversight requirements it has established for WFP donations; (2) although AID, Department of State, and Department of Agriculture officials participated on the WFP governing board, approved WFP projects, and were considered the most knowledgeable U.S. officials on WFP management issues, they were not familiar with WFP accountability procedures or audit reports; (3) WFP accountability requirements are vague and do not sufficiently ensure the proper safeguarding of donations; (4) even though WFP is an international organization and exempt from AID regulations, AID is not relieved of its fundamental responsibility to protect U.S. government resources; (5) although it has a shortage of operating funds, WFP has taken some corrective actions to improve its financial management capabilities, increase resources for accountability functions, decentralize the budget system, and strengthen its capacity for monitoring programs; (6) WFP characterizes the United States as a generous donor with a slow emergency response rate, but the United States has responded quickly to some WFP requests; and (7) AID has agreed to establish procedures to expedite approval of emergency requests and pledge some commodities to WFP reserves.

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