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Highlights

In December 2004, an earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated several countries in the Indian Ocean region. In May 2005, Congress appropriated $908 million in aid, of which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing $482 million in recovery projects in many affected countries, including Indonesia and Sri Lanka. This report examines (1) the progress of USAID's program; (2) USAID's financial and technical oversight of its efforts, and risks it faces; and (3) actions taken by the Secretary of State in response to an April 2006 GAO recommendation. Specifically, GAO recommended that State, in its required reports to Congress, provide updated cost estimates and schedules and show the need for additional funding sources, if necessary. GAO examined USAID's signature projects in both countries; reviewed project documents and periodic reports, interviewed USAID officials, and visited project sites in August and October 2006.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State 1. To ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects both USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress and to clearly show USAID's progress in using the appropriated funds for tsunami reconstruction, the Secretary of State's required semiannual reports to Congress should include the amounts that USAID obligated to recipient countries for tsunami reconstruction and the amounts that it "subobligated" in transactions with implementing organizations, such as contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements, for specific reconstruction projects.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2007 (Foreign Assistance: USAID Signature Tsunami Reconstruction Efforts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka Exceed Initial Cost and Schedule Estimates and Face Further Risks), GAO recommended that, to ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress, the Department of State include in its semi-annual reports (known as the "4102 Report") to Congress: (1) amounts of funds "subobligated" and (2) factors that may impact implementation, as well as risk information and mitigation strategies. On June 27, 2007, State issued its June 2007 4102 Report. The report included (1) amounts of funds "subobligated" and (2) factors that may impact implementation, as well as risk information and mitigation strategies. On July 16, 2007, a State Department official confirmed that State had included the information in the 4102 Report in response to GAO's recommendations.
Department of State 2. To ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects both USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress and to indicate risk of potential changes to the costs, schedules, and scopes of work of USAID's signature projects in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the Secretary of State's required semiannual reports to Congress should identify factors that may impact the agency's implementation of the projects and provide strategies for mitigating any impact.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2007 (Foreign Assistance: USAID Signature Tsunami Reconstruction Efforts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka Exceed Initial Cost and Schedule Estimates and Face Further Risks), GAO recommended that, to ensure that Congress has access to information that clearly reflects USAID's progress in its tsunami reconstruction programs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and factors that may slow its progress, the Department of State include in its semi-annual reports (known as the "4102 Report") to Congress: (1) amounts of funds "subobligated" and (2) factors that may impact implementation, as well as risk information and mitigation strategies. On June 27, 2007, State issued its June 2007 4102 Report. The report included (1) amounts of funds "subobligated" and (2) factors that may impact implementation, as well as risk information and mitigation strategies. On July 16, 2007, a State Department official confirmed that State had included the information in the 4102 Report in response to GAO's recommendations.

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