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U.S. Assistance to Mexico: State Department Could Improve Its Monitoring of Merida Initiative Projects
The Mrida Initiative is a bilateral U.S.-Mexico partnership to address crime and violence and enhance the rule of law in Mexico. Through this initiative, managed by State/INL and USAID, the United States has provided a wide range of assistance, including training and equipment. Since fiscal year 2008, U.S. funding for the Mrida Initiative has totaled about $3 billion. GAO has identified key practices for monitoring foreign assistance programs that agencies should implement to address impediments, effectively manage foreign assistance, and meet assistance goals. These practices are generally consistent with policies of State, USAID, and the Office of Management and Budget. GAO was asked to review issues related to Mrida Initiative implementation and objectives. This report examines the extent to which State/INL and USAID follow key practices in monitoring Mrida Initiative projects and track project performance against established measures. GAO reviewed State and USAID documents and data for a nongeneralizable sample of 20 high-dollar value projects, and interviewed officials from State; USAID; and other U.S. agencies in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City. GAO is making two recommendations, including that State establishprocedures to verify monitoring staff follow key practices, and that USAID ensure that monitoring plans address risks. State and USAID concurred with GAOs recommendations.
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