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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Agency for International Development's (AID) and the Department of State's efforts to fully integrate gender issues in their foreign assistance programs.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status
Congress should consider emphasizing in any new foreign aid legislation that women-in-development is a means for accomplishing sustainable development objectives, and to the extent possible should be applied to all assistance programs.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Agency for International Development 1. Within the ongoing efforts to redefine U.S. foreign aid strategies, the Administrator, AID, should seek to include women as full participants and beneficiaries in AID economic assistance programs.
Closed - Implemented
AID has taken action and implemented new procedures that seek to include women as full participants and beneficiaries in economic assistance programs.
United States Agency for International Development 2. The Administrator, AID, should require all AID bureaus to establish effective women-in-development strategies and action plans and establish reasonable deadlines for their timely completion.
Closed - Implemented
The regional bureaus, the Bureau for Global Programs and the Bureau for Humanitarian Response, submitted women-in-development action plans to the Administrator, and these include benchmarks and timelines.
United States Agency for International Development 3. The Administrator, AID, should require overseas missions to integrate gender concerns into country strategies and action plans and include reasonable deadlines for reaching stated benchmarks.
Closed - Implemented
All AID programs have been directed to take account of gender issues. In May 1994, the Administrator directed all bureaus to develop action plans for incorporating gender concerns and ensuring that overseas missions integrated gender into their country strategic plans. All regional and functional bureaus, as well as the Policy and Program Coordination Bureau, responded with a variety of strategies, action plans, and guidance to field missions. Missions are held accountable for gender integration when their country strategies and action plans are approved by the regional bureaus, as well as when their Results Review and Resource Requests are submitted annually.
United States Agency for International Development 4. The Administrator, AID, should develop systems and procedures for centrally monitoring the timely completion and effective execution of bureau strategies and action plans and mission efforts to integrate gender into its development strategies.
Closed - Implemented
AID's WID Office issued guidance in May 1994 directing regional bureaus, in accordance with the GAO recommendation, to ensure that gender considerations are integrated into all strategic planning, programming, and reporting at headquarters and field levels. The WID Office hired regional advisors to monitor the bureaus' progress, and both the Global Affairs Bureau (in which the WID Office is located) and the Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination are monitoring bureau compliance.
United States Agency for International Development 5. The Administrator, AID, should direct that, to the extent possible, women-in-development policy objectives be incorporated in nonproject assistance programming.
Closed - Implemented
Guidance for incorporating gender considerations into nonproject assistance programming was included in the May 1994 guidance.
United States Agency for International Development 6. The Administrator, AID, should ensure the timely completion and evaluation of the Program Performance Information for Strategic Management system so that AID has the information needed to more effectively design, implement, monitor, and evaluate women-in-development efforts and more effectively measure the institutional commitment to women-in-development.
Closed - Implemented
Data on gender-disaggregated indicators can now be collected through the Strategic Management Framework/New Management System (NMS), which incorporates the strategic objectives and indicators developed by the Program Performance Information for Strategic Management (PRISM). Because data on results are reviewed annually through the Results Review and Resource Requests process, available gender disaggregated information will be continually incorporated into NMS so that AID can monitor and evaluate the agencywide integration of WID concerns.
Department of State 7. The Secretary of State should, in implementing the provisions of section 305 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, issue policy guidance for: (1) monitoring the progress of international organizations in integrating women into national economies and professional and policymaking positions at international organizations; and (2) documenting the extent to which U.S. contributions to such organizations have considered the progress of international organizations in promoting policies and procedures for the integration of women in these areas.
Closed - Not Implemented
In its April 1994 response to the Office of Management and Budget and the committees regarding GAO's recommendations, State said that it would issue policy guidance to U.S. representatives to international organizations on integrating women into the ranks of international organizations and raising the status of women in countries represented. This guidance was to include direction on how to document progress made by these organizations in advancing women's status. As of August 28, 1997, State had not issued any policy guidance. According to an official of the International Affairs Bureau, State has been very involved in gender mainstreaming issues since the 1995 UN Conference in Beijing. However, State has not and very likely will not issue any policy papers on the subject.
Department of State 8. The Secretary of State should encourage the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to increase the number and distribution of focal points for women's issues at refugee camps and to require its implementing partners to apply UNHCR Policy on Refugee Women.
Closed - Implemented
The State Department's Bureau of Refugee Programs continues to work closely with UNHCR and the NGO community to advance the importance of refugee women's issues. In 1993, the United States earmarked $2.7 million to UNHCR for refugee women and children.
Department of State 9. The Secretary of State should support expanded and strengthened gender training for UNHCR staff and officials and relief workers of nongovernmental organizations and other agencies working with refugees.
Closed - Implemented
The Bureau of Refugee Programs continues to urge UNHCR to strengthen its training and evaluation to address the needs of refugee women. In addition to supporting UNHCR's gender-focused "People-Oriented Planning" courses, State also sponsored a 2-day consultation in Washington in March 1994 with UNHCR's refugee women's coordinator.
Department of State 10. The Secretary of State should encourage UNHCR to evaluate the efficacy of its gender training programs.
Closed - Implemented
The Bureau of Refugee Programs is working with UNHCR's Subcommittee on Administrative and Financial Matters to strengthen the administration and evaluation of UNCHR's gender efforts.

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