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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. bilateral food assistance project in North Korea, focusing on the: (1) objectives, accomplishments, key factors affecting performance, and monitoring effectiveness of the potato component of the bilateral aid project; (2) objectives, accomplishments, key factors affecting performance, and monitoring effectiveness of the food-for-work component; and (3) administration's views on the project and plans for additional bilateral assistance to North Korea. The United States, North Korea, and a consortium of U.S. private voluntary organizations (known as the Consortium) signed an agreement for the project in April 1999.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture State told GAO that no plans are being made for bilateral development assistance for the coming year. However, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and commit to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, they should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Department of State State told GAO that no plans are being made for bilateral development assistance for the coming year. However, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and commit to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, they should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
United States Agency for International Development State told GAO that no plans are being made for bilateral development assistance for the coming year. However, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and commit to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, if State, AID, and the Department of Agriculture decide to support another bilateral aid project designed to provide seed potatoes to North Korea, they should take steps to ensure that the project is started in a timely manner, the potatoes are planted in suitable locations, and that a potato specialist is available throughout the duration of the project to ensure effective monitoring and interaction with North Korea Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Department of State If State and AID decide to approve another bilateral food-for-work program where the Consortium is responsible for implementing the program, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should undertake efforts to secure improved cooperation from the North Korean government.
Closed - Implemented
The Departments and State and Agriculture, and the Agency for International Development all agreed to implement the recommendation to undertake efforts to secure improved cooperation from the government of North Korea, if another bilateral food-for-work program is approved where the Consortium is responsible for implementing the program.
United States Agency for International Development If State and AID decide to approve another bilateral food-for-work program where the Consortium is responsible for implementing the program, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should undertake efforts to secure improved cooperation from the North Korean government.
Closed - Implemented
The Departments and State and Agriculture, and the Agency for International Development all agreed to implement the recommendation to undertake efforts to secure improved cooperation from the government of North Korea, if another bilateral food-for-work program is approved where the Consortium is responsible for implementing the program.
Department of State In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the Consortium's field manager and monitors will be provided visas for the duration of the program.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, State Department, and Department of Agriculture in their statements of action dated September 6, 2000, accepted all of the recommendations, find them to be constructive, and commit to implementing them in the event their is another bilateral program with North Korea.
United States Agency for International Development In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the Consortium's field manager and monitors will be provided visas for the duration of the program.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, State Department, and Department of Agriculture in their statements of action dated September 6, 2000, accepted all of the recommendations, find them to be constructive, and commit to implementing them in the event their is another bilateral program with North Korea.
Department of State In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the food aid shipments will not be landed in North Korea until the Consortium food aid monitors have arrived in-country and had time to conduct assessments and approve projects that will receive the food aid.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and commit to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator of AID should seek agreement that the food aid shipments will not be landed in North Korea until the Consortium food aid monitors have arrived in-country and had time to conduct assessments and approve projects that will receive the food aid.
United States Agency for International Development In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the food aid shipments will not be landed in North Korea until the Consortium food aid monitors have arrived in-country and had time to conduct assessments and approve projects that will receive the food aid.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and commit to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator of AID should seek agreement that the food aid shipments will not be landed in North Korea until the Consortium food aid monitors have arrived in-country and had time to conduct assessments and approve projects that will receive the food aid.
Department of State In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the Consortium personnel have greater access to local government officials for the purpose of cooperatively identifying and developing project proposals based on local needs and conditions.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID should seek agreement that the Consortium personnel have greater access to local government officials for the purpose of cooperatively identifying and developing project proposals based on local needs and conditions.
United States Agency for International Development In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the Consortium personnel have greater access to local government officials for the purpose of cooperatively identifying and developing project proposals based on local needs and conditions.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID should seek agreement that the Consortium personnel have greater access to local government officials for the purpose of cooperatively identifying and developing project proposals based on local needs and conditions.
Department of State In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project sites and associated food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food aid.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral agreement with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project cites associated with food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food aid.
United States Agency for International Development In negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project sites and associated food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food aid.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral agreement with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator, AID, should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project cites associated with food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food aid.
Department of Agriculture In addition, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should assess the Consortium proposed management to determine whether it is adequate to the demands of implementing projects in North Korea. For example, a clear line of authority should be established between the project management in the United States and the team in the field and clear guidance provided to monitors on how to perform their role.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator of AID should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project sites associated with food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food.
Department of State In addition, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should assess the Consortium proposed management to determine whether it is adequate to the demands of implementing projects in North Korea. For example, a clear line of authority should be established between the project management in the United States and the team in the field and clear guidance provided to monitors on how to perform their role.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator of AID should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project sites associated with food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food.
United States Agency for International Development In addition, the Secretary of State, the Administrator, AID, and the Secretary of Agriculture should assess the Consortium proposed management to determine whether it is adequate to the demands of implementing projects in North Korea. For example, a clear line of authority should be established between the project management in the United States and the team in the field and clear guidance provided to monitors on how to perform their role.
Closed - Implemented
The Agency for International Development, and the Departments of State and Agriculture agree with the recommendation, and are committed to implementing it in the event of a new bilateral program with North Korea. Therefore, in negotiating future agreements with North Korea, the Secretary of State, and the Administrator of AID should seek agreement that the team is guaranteed access to project sites associated with food distribution centers on short-notice and provided schedules for distributing the food-for-work food aid.

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