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Megatrends in Food Security Linking Food Aid and Food Security
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Megatrends in Food Security Linking Food Aid and Food Security

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  1. Source: GAO (photos) Megatrends in Food SecurityLinking Food Aid and Food Security International Food Aid and Development ConferenceAugust 2-4, 2010

  2. GAO Reviews on International Food Assistance Our past work: Ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. food aid (2007). Persistent food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa (2008). Our most recent work: Local and regional procurement of food aid (2009). Monitoring and evaluation of Food for Peace Act nonemergency food aid (2009). Key international food assistance issues for congressional oversight (2009). U.S. efforts to address global food insecurity (2010). Our ongoing work: McGovern-Dole International Food for Education, nutrition and quality control of U.S. food aid, and monetization (forthcoming, 2011). 2

  3. BackgroundSelected Trends in U.S. Food Aid, Fiscal Years 2001 to 2009 3

  4. BackgroundDonors Are Increasingly Providing International FoodAssistance in Cash Food Aid as In-Kind Commodities and through Cash Donations for Food Purchases, 1988 through 2008 4

  5. Local and Regional ProcurementLRP Is Generally More Cost-Effective than In-Kind Food Aidfrom the United States Cost Comparison of WFP Local Procurement and U.S. In-Kind Food Aid, by Region 5

  6. Various Factors May Constrain Use of LRP In the United States: Legal requirement to purchase U.S.-grown food limits funding for foreign-grown food. Uncertainty regarding cargo preference, or the requirement to transport most (75%) of U.S. food aid on U.S.-flag vessels, could constrain agencies’ implementation of LRP. In the field: Lack of reliable suppliers Restrictions on donor funding Poor infrastructure and logistical capacity Weak legal systems Quality standards that are difficult for suppliers to meet Unreliable market intelligence 6

  7. Recommendations on LRP to USAID and USDA • Systematically collect evidence on LRP’s adherence to quality standards and product specifications to ensure food safety and nutritional content. • Work with implementing partners to improve the reliability and utility of market intelligence in areas where U.S.-funded LRP occurs, thereby ensuring that U.S.-funded LRP practices minimize adverse impacts and maximize potential benefits. • Work with the Secretary of Transportation to expedite updating the Memorandum of Understanding among agencies, consistent with our 2007 recommendation, to minimize the cost impact of cargo preference on food aid transportation expenditures and to resolve uncertainties associated with the application of cargo preference to regional procurement. 7

  8. Monitoring and EvaluationWeaknesses in Planning Could Hinder USAID’s Actions to Improve M&E of Nonemergency Food Aid As of 2009, USAID had allocated about $13 million of $22 million in new funding for M&E provided in the 2008 Farm Bill to: • upgrade FFP’s information technology system, • expand FFP’s computerized monitoring system for quality assurance, • increase staffing levels, and • improve the quality of evaluations. However, weaknesses in planning and legal restrictions on use of the new funding could hamper USAID’s implementation plans.

  9. USAID’s M&E of Nonemergency Food Aid Are Not Fully Integrated with Program Management • USAID’s M&E of its nonemergency food aid programs are consistent to varying degrees with some of the principles established by the American Evaluation Association’s Task Force on Evaluation Policy to integrate evaluation into program management. Specifically, FFP actions were • Generally consistent with principles for policies and procedures and for independence; • Partially consistent with the principles for scope and coverage, dissemination of results, professional competence, and resources; and • Not consistent with the principles for M&E plans.

  10. Recommendations on M&E to USAID • Develop a concept of operations document to help reduce the risks associated with upgrading the Food for Peace information system. • Develop an integrated monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure that it is linked to program goals, establishes a process for determining budget and staffing levels, examines funding options, and sets implementation time frames.

  11. Global Food SecurityU.S. Government Supports a Broad Array of Programs and Activities In response to our data collection instrument to 10 agencies, 7 agencies reported providing monetary assistance for global food security in fiscal year 2008. USAID and USDA reported providing the broadest array of programs and activities. USAID, MCC, Treasury, USDA, and State reported providing the highest levels of funding for food security, while USTDA and DOD provide some assistance. These 7 agencies reported directing at least $5 billion in fiscal year 2008 to global food security, but the actual total amount of funding is likely greater. 11

  12. The Host Country-Led Approach Could Be Central to the Strategy’s Success but Has Key Vulnerabilities The Administration has embraced the host country-led approach as central to the success of the new strategy, reflecting a consensus among policymakers and experts that development efforts will not succeed without host country ownership of donor interventions. However, as our current and prior work shows, the host country-led approach, although promising, is vulnerable to a number of risks. 12

  13. Recommendations on U.S. Efforts to Address Global Food Insecurity We recommended that the Secretary of State work with the existing NSC Interagency Policy Committee to develop an operational definition of food security that is accepted by all U.S. agencies; establish a methodology for consistently reporting comprehensive data across agencies; and periodically inventory the food security-related programs and associated funding for each of these agencies; and work in collaboration with relevant agency heads to delineate measures to mitigate the risks associated with the host country-led approach on the successful implementation of the forthcoming governmentwide global food security strategy. 13

  14. Related GAO Reports Foreign Assistance: Various Challenges Impede the Efficiency and Effectiveness of U.S. Food Aid, GAO-07-560, April 13, 2007 International Food Security: Insufficient Efforts by Host Governments and Donors Threaten Progress to Halve Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015, GAO-08-680, May 29, 2008 International Food Assistance: Local and Regional Procurement Provides Opportunities to Enhance U.S. Food Aid, but Challenges May Constrain Its Implementation, GAO-09-757T, June 4, 2009 International Food Assistance: USAID Is Taking Actions to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation of Nonemergency Food Aid, but Weaknesses in Planning Could Impede Efforts, GAO-09-980, September 28, 2009 International Food Assistance: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight, GAO-09-977SP, September 30, 2009 Global Food Security:U.S. Agencies Progressing on Governmentwide Strategy, but Approach Faces Several Vulnerabilities, GAO-10-352, March 11, 2010 For full copies of GAO reports, click on http://www.gao.gov/ 14