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Merida Initiative: The United States Has Provided Counternarcotics and Anticrime Support but Needs Better Performance Measures

GAO-10-837 Published: Jul 21, 2010. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2010.
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Crime and violence related to drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America have increased in recent years and pose a threat not only to those areas but to the United States as well, particularly along the Southwest border. The Merida Initiative, announced in 2007, provides about $1.6 billion in law enforcement support to Mexico and Central American countries. The Department of State (State) manages the Initiative while other U.S. agencies play key roles in implementation. This report examines (1) the status of Merida program implementation; (2) State's strategy for implementation; and (3) coordination mechanisms in place for Merida. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed agency documents; interviewed officials at State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Defense, and other relevant agencies; and conducted fieldwork in Mexico and Central America.



Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State The Secretary of State should incorporate into the strategy for the Merida Initiative outcome performance measures that indicate progress toward strategic goals and develop more comprehensive timelines for future program deliveries.
Closed – Implemented
GAO considers this recommendation to be closed. For additional information, contact Charles Johnson, Jr.

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CriminalsDocumentationDrug traffickingDrugsFederal aid for criminal justiceFederal aid programsFederal aid to foreign countriesForeign governmentsInternational cooperationInternational relationsLaw enforcementNarcoticsPerformance measuresPoliceRisk managementStrategic planningProgram coordinationProgram goals or objectivesProgram implementation