Combating Terrorism:

Planning and Documentation of U.S. Development Assistance in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas Need to Be Improved

GAO-10-289: Published: Apr 15, 2010. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2010.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Charles M. Johnson, Jr
(202) 512-7331
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been a recognized safe haven for al Qaeda leadership and a base for the Taliban to launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. The United States, in an effort to assist Pakistan in addressing this threat, pledged $750 million between 2007 and 2011 to support development activities in the FATA region. This report focuses on (1) the extent U.S. development objectives align with U.S. national security goals and Pakistan's objectives, (2) U.S. efforts to track the pledge, (3) U.S. efforts to measure program performance in the FATA, and (4) efforts to monitor assistance in the FATA. GAO reviewed U.S. and Pakistani documents and interviewed U.S. and Pakistani officials in Washington, D.C., and Pakistan. GAO has prepared this report under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative.

U.S. national security goals call for development assistance to aid the Pakistani government in addressing terrorist threats emanating from the FATA. GAO found that U.S. development objectives in the FATA are generally aligned with U.S. national security goals and Pakistan's FATA development plans. In September 2007, USAID and Pakistan signed an agreement regarding development activities in the FATA including the creation of joint strategic implementation plans for the seven FATA geographic areas. We found, however, that the U.S. and Pakistan have not yet completed such plans. The U.S. government has implemented two efforts to track its $750 million pledge in accordance with good management practices. State is tallying allocations of U.S. programs in Pakistan's western frontier region (which includes the FATA), and the USAID controller in Islamabad has undertaken an effort to track most, but not all, U.S. development-related obligations and expenditures in the FATA. As of the end of fiscal year 2009, the U.S. government has reportedly allocated over $728 million toward the pledge. USAID and State collect reports on the performance of their FATA-specific programs. However, key elements, such as identification of evaluation efforts and a timeline for reviewing implementing partner reports required by USAID's regulations are missing in its performance management plan for the FATA. Also, State did not collect all the required project performance documentation. Long-term development programs for which performance could be measured against annual targets generally did not achieve targets. Although hampered by security challenges that prevent direct monitoring called for in its guidance, USAID has taken steps to apply a set of indirect monitoring procedures. This includes collecting information from implementing partners and locally employed staff, and the use of a geographic information system. While USAID officials told GAO they use these methods, GAO found that USAID did not always document the use of these monitoring procedures. GAO also found that State has several monitoring procedures, but had not fully documented their use of these procedures.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To help ensure that U.S. development projects associated with the U.S. pledge and future spending plans for Pakistan continue to be aligned with our national security goal of assisting Pakistan in addressing terrorist threats, and have clearly articulated monitoring responsibilities, indicators, and performance tracking, USAID should work with the government of Pakistan to complete the development of joint strategic implementation plans as originally called for in the agreement between USAID and the government of Pakistan.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

    Status: Open

    Comments: In their June 2010 letter to Congress, USAID concurred with the recommendation, but wrote that the security situation deteriorated to the point that the plans, as originally envisioned, no longer made sense. GAO continues to communicate with USAID about its plans in this area.

    Recommendation: To provide a more complete picture and enhance the tracking of U.S. assistance for the FATA, USAID should take steps to incorporate the funding amounts for its nationwide attributed programs into the USAID controller in Islamabad's FATA pipeline report.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

    Status: Open

    Comments: In its June 2010 letter to Congress, USIAD agreed with the GAO recommendation and wrote that it was addressing the noted limitations in its Phoenix financial reporting system by setting up a supplementary database called OpsMaster. In subsequent follow-up by GAO in 2012 and 2013, USAID officials said that their attempts had so far been unsuccessful in achieving the functionality sought by the GAO recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve upon existing efforts to measure the progress of U.S. development assistance projects associated with the fulfillment of the U.S. pledge, consistent with ADS requirements, and to provide a basis for planning future development assistance for FATA, the USAID Administrator should include in its performance management plan for the FATA Development Program: (1) possible evaluation efforts, (2) a calendar of performance management tasks, (3) the baseline and targeted values for each performance indicator in the Performance Management Plan, and (4) a description of the known data limitations for each performance indicator.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

    Status: Open

    Comments: In its June 2010 letter to Congress, USAID agreed with the GAO recommendation and wrote that it had hired a consultant company to assist all their offices, including FATA, improve the performance management plans and evaluation efforts.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that the government of Pakistan is using U.S. funds as intended, the Secretary of State should take steps to improve INL's performance reporting documentation.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Open

    Comments: In their July 2010 letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, State mentioned proposals and cost estimates (PC-1s), as well as memoranda of understanding as documents they already produce that provide information on projects, but write that they are always seeking ways to improve upon performance measurement and reporting and will take the GAO recommendation into account moving forward.

    Recommendation: To improve upon U.S. efforts to monitor assistance programs in the FATA, the USAID Administrator should take steps to improve USAID's documentation of its alternative monitoring efforts related to the FATA.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USAID has subsequently taken actions to improve its monitoring efforts related to the FATA. In 2011, USAID began conducting and documenting assessments of their implementing partners' monitoring and evaluation processes. These assessments examined data collection, documentation, and monitoring procedures and identified key steps that needed to be taken to improve monitoring. Further, effective in 2012, USAID issued two task orders to improve the monitoring of its development efforts in the FATA. These task orders instruct implementing partners to improve their monitoring and reporting to USAID for two key programs, the Child Protection Program Affected by the Conflict in Khyber Pahktunkwa province and FATA and the Housing Uniform Subsidy Assistance Project. In addition, USAID provided examples of monitoring trip reports made in 2011 to multiple geographic regions to further demonstrate improvements it has taken to document its monitoring of development efforts.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should take steps to improve State's documentation of its monitoring efforts for programs that cover FATA and the western frontier region.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Open

    Comments: In their July 2010 letter to the Senate Foreign Relations committee, the Department acknowledged that reporting on the efforts in the FATA and Western Frontier could be improved, and cited the security environment as a reason for incomplete documentation. State also wrote that the GAO report prompted them to initiate new eforts to improve their monitoring documentation.

    Jul 24, 2014

    Jul 21, 2014

    Jul 9, 2014

    Jul 8, 2014

    Jun 26, 2014

    Jun 25, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here