Compact of Free Association: Implementation Activities Have Progressed, but the Marshall Islands Faces Challenges to Achieving Long-Term Compact Goals

GAO-07-1115T Published: Jul 24, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2007.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights

From 1987 through 2003, the United States provided more than $2 billion in economic assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the RMI under a Compact of Free Association; approximately $579 million of this economic assistance went to the RMI. In 2003, the U.S. government approved an amended compact with the RMI that provides an additional 20 years of assistance, totaling about $1.5 billion from 2004 through 2023. The Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is responsible for administering and monitoring this U.S. assistance. The amended compact with the RMI identifies the additional 20 years of grant assistance as intended to assist the RMI government in its efforts to promote the economic advancement and budgetary self-reliance of its people. The assistance is provided in the form of annually decreasing grants that prioritize health and education, paired with annually increasing contributions to trust funds intended as a source of revenue for the country after the grants end in 2023. The amended compact also contains several new funding and accountability provisions that strengthen reporting and bilateral interaction. These provisions include requiring the establishment of a joint economic management committee and a trust fund committee to, respectively, among other things, review the RMI's progress toward compact objectives and to assess the trust fund's effectiveness in contributing to the country's long-term economic advancement and budgetary self-reliance. In 2003, we testified that these provisions could improve accountability over assistance but that successful implementation will require appropriate resources and sustained commitment from both the United States and the RMI. Drawing on several reports that we have published since 2005, I will discuss the RMI's economic prospects, implementation of its amended compact to meet long-term goals, and potential trust fund earnings.

Full Report

GAO Contacts