Enhanced Guidance and Practices Would Improve USAID’s Transition Planning and Third-Party Monitoring in Iraq

Audit Report
Report Number
9-266-21-003-P
Between 2014 and 2019, USAID provided $2.2 billion in aid to the people of Iraq in response to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the resulting population displacement. From a peak of 3.4 million, the population of displaced persons in Iraq declined to less than 1.6 million by August 2019, and the need to develop plans to shift focus—from humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs to longer term solutions to stabilize communities—became more pressing. While the situation in Iraq has improved, USAID still has limited access to project sites due to security challenges. To supplement its oversight and monitoring of programs, USAID enlisted a third-party monitoring contractor to review program sites and report back on conditions found. Changing conditions in Iraq, coupled with large amounts of USAID funding there, prompted OIG to review USAID’s plans for humanitarian assistance and the oversight of its activities in Iraq. This audit was also conducted as part of USAID OIG’s oversight responsibility of the Overseas Contingency Operation within the Lead Inspector General Framework for Operation Inherent Resolve. We found that USAID’s guidance and practices do not encourage transitioning from humanitarian assistance in Iraq, and that the Agency’s management of third-party monitoring has left some observations without timely followup or resolution. Of the five recommendations we made, we acknowledge management decisions for three and consider them resolved and open pending completion of planned actions. We consider the other two recommendations unresolved and open pending receipt of a revised management decision and additional documentation.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

Develop and implement guidance for its Disaster Assistance Response Team and Response Management Team to prepare annual implementation plans, including specific guidance for exit or transition from humanitarian assistance.

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Recommendation 2

Develop and implement a process to improve coordination between humanitarian assistance and stabilization programs.

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Recommendation 3

Develop a process for reviewing implementer transition plans for adherence to requirements prior to approving proposals.

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Recommendation 4

Develop and implement a process with defined roles and responsibilities to track and respond to findings raised by third-party monitors, including actions undertaken by the implementer.

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Recommendation 5

Develop and implement a process to track and respond to findings raised by third-party monitors, including actions undertaken by the implementer.

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