West Bank and Gaza: USAID Did Not Document Its Deliberative Process for Identifying and Assessing Risks in Programming

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Why We Did This Audit

  • USAID’s mission for West Bank and Gaza (USAID/WBG) faces several constraints in implementing foreign assistance programs, such as movement restrictions and security concerns due to violence.
  • USAID/WBG also faces funding swings due to changing administration priorities. Funding decreased from $286 million in fiscal year (FY) 2017 to approximately $18 million in FY 2020. While the U.S. administration at the time ended all programmatic assistance in FY 2019, previously appropriated amounts were obligated in FY 2019-2020. In FY 2021, the subsequent administration announced it would resume funding, which increased to $122 million in FY 2021 and to $152 million in FY 2022.
  • Given the challenges in providing foreign assistance to the region, coupled with the large increase in funding in recent years, OIG initiated an audit to determine the extent to which USAID/WBG identified and assessed risks after the resumption of funding and related programming.

What We Found

  • USAID/WBG followed Agency guidance on identifying and assessing risks after the resumption of funding and programming but did not document its deliberative process for determining what to include in the risk profile.
  • Specifically, the mission identified and reported programmatic, human capital, and reputational risks in FY 2021 and FY 2022. However, it did not document the assumptions made and methodologies it used to identify risks, particularly those related to security, legal, fiduciary, and information technology requirements. It also did not document why the mission decided to not include risks reported in the prior period.

Why It Matters

  • USAID/WBG programs support efforts in the West Bank and Gaza to partner with the Palestinian people to promote prosperity, peace, and opportunities for the next generation.
  • Because the mission did not document the deliberative process it used to establish its risk profiles, it did not reap the benefits of a more transparent and documented process that involved all key stakeholders in the analysis of all available data.
  • The mission may miss opportunities to mitigate recurring risks and revise programs in response to identified risks. As a result, USAID/WBG programs may not be able to meet program objectives, including meeting the overarching goal of partnering with the Palestinian people to promote opportunities for the next generation.
  • USAID/WBG concurred with our recommendation to update the mission order to include documentation of the deliberative process supporting the mission’s risk assessment and developed a new mission order.

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USAID/West Bank Gaza to update its mission order covering procedures and responsibilities for internal control issues to include a requirement to document a deliberative process that provides information about the assumptions made and methodologies used in identifying and assessing what risks will be included in annual risk profile submissions.

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