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    Subject Term: "Humanitarian assistance"

    3 publications with a total of 6 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) should identify and implement a mechanism to conduct in-person monitoring visits in countries where security conditions limit such visits by PRM officials. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with GAO's recommendation and noted that it will work to identify mechanisms for conducting additional in-person monitoring visits in Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq where security conditions prevent U.S. personnel from regularly accessing PRM-funded programming. State also noted that it is currently seeking to add Syrian refugee programming in northern Iraq to the scope of an existing contract for third-party monitoring of PRM programs assisting internally displaced persons.
    Recommendation: USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) should identify and implement a mechanism to conduct in-person monitoring visits in countries where security conditions limit such visits by FFP officers. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with GAO's recommendation and noted that it is developing a request to the U.S. Embassy in Jordan to hire a foreign service national-a locally employed staff member-to be based in Jordan with responsibility for monitoring humanitarian assistance programming in Lebanon. Further, USAID stated that it is also examining the feasibility of other options if approval for this position is not granted.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the SEC's conflict minerals disclosure rule, the Secretary of Commerce should submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan outlining steps that Commerce will take, with associated time frames, to (1) assess the accuracy of the independent private sector audits (IPSA) and other due diligence processes described under section 13(p) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (2) develop recommendations for the process used to carry out such audits, including ways to improve the accuracy of the audits and establish standards of best practices for such audits; and (3) acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out these responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In response to this recommendation, Commerce indicated in an October 25, 2016 letter to GAO that it has developed a three-step approach which parallels the three distinct elements of the recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, Commerce needs to submit the said three-step plan, including associated timeframes for their completion, to the appropriate congressional committees. Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act defines "appropriate committees" to mean the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives; and the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate. In a January 2018 email, a Commerce official indicated to GAO that the agency had reviewed the 19 IPSA audits filed by companies in 2016, and the agency plans to complete a review of the 16 IPSA audits filed in 2017 by the end of FY 2018. However, the official noted that the "Department will not undertake the development of recommendations and best practices while the SEC is revising its rule." Commerce cited SEC staff's recent updated guidance and ongoing reviews of the conflict minerals rule, among other things, as their primary reason. However, the SEC staff's updated guidance also clarified that the guidance "does not express any legal conclusion on the rule" and is "subject to any further action that may be taken by the Commission." Therefore, the rule is still in effect, according to SEC staff. To fully implement this recommendation, Commerce needs to include a plan, with associated timeframes; to develop recommendations for the process used to carry out such audits, including ways to improve the accuracy of the audits and establish standards of best practices for such audits; and to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out these responsibilities and submit this plan to the appropriate congressional committees. As of February 2018, GAO is continuing to monitor agency progress toward closing this recommendation.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should use risk assessments submitted by implementing partners to inform USAID oversight activities, for example, using information from assessments to ensure that control activities for programs are designed to mitigate identified risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, stating that they plan to tailor their oversight activities to mitigate risks identified in the fraud risk mitigation plans that organizations will submit as part of their funding proposal packages in the future. In addition, USAID noted that it planned to hire a compliance officer by October 2016 to manage fraud mitigation and other compliance issues for OFDA and FFP's Syria and Iraq portfolios. However, as of January 2018, USAID has yet to fill this position. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should ensure that field monitors in Syria are trained on assessing and identifying potential fraud risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, but has yet to implement this recommendation, as of January 2018. USAID has previously stated that it would work to provide the third-party monitoring organization with information specific to the Syria context that identifies methods to detect fraud. USAID also stated that it would work with the third-party monitoring organization to ensure that data collectors are trained on fraud risks and methods for identifying fraud. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should instruct the third party monitoring organization monitoring Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance programs in Syria to modify the site visit forms to include specific guidance for documenting incidents of potential fraud.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation, stating that it would seek to have site visit forms revised to include indications of fraud, waste, and abuse. However, as of January 2018, USAID has yet to implement the recommendation. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.