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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO conducted a follow-up to its 1990 review of U.S. participation in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), focusing on the: (1) actions taken in response to recommendations in GAO's 1990 report to improve coordination, project evaluation, and the allocation of resources; (2) amounts and sources of UNDP budget support; (3) cost of administering UNDP's headquarters and overseas operations and the extent to which UNDP has reduced these costs, including a comparison of UNDP and Agency for International Development (AID) compensation expenditures; (4) system of audits and internal controls UNDP employs to oversee its operations; (5) criteria UNDP employs to graduate recipient countries from assistance; and (6) extent to which UNDP projects coincide with U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status
If Congress wishes to ensure that no U.S. contributions to UNDP will be used for overhead expenses in countries covered by section 307 of the Foreign Affairs Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2227), it may wish to explicitly require that the State Department include field office administrative costs when calculating the amount of the U.S. withholdings.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State 1. To further improve UNDP's ability to assess development impact, the Secretary of State should seek the support of other major donor countries to require that UNDP: (1) adopt a system to identify all projects that require a mandatory evaluation and track whether the evaluations are conducted; (2) establish a system to track whether evaluation recommendations are addressed; and (3) conduct periodic assessments of the recently implemented evaluation system improvements to determine their effectiveness in helping UNDP measure the impact of its development assistance projects.
Closed - Implemented
The U.S. delegation at the May 1997 session of the UNDP Executive Board brought GAO's recommendations to the attention of the Administrator. The head of UNDP's evaluation unit confirmed that corrective steps are under way and that UNDP would respond to GAO. The U.S. delegation also shared the conclusions and recommendations in the GAO report with other interested delegations and asked for their support in addressing its findings. In September 1998, the Administrator's office stated that systems were in place for: (1) identifying all projects that are subject to mandatory evaluation; (2) tracking the implementation of evaluations; and (3) monitoring the implementation of evaluation recommendations. The Administrator's office stated that it is too early to evaluate the improvements made in UNDP's evaluation process. However, additional steps are being taken to strengthen UNDP's project evaluation system.

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