Completed Program Evaluations for FY 2003 - Strategic Goal 10: Humanitarian Response

FY 2003 Performance and Accountability Report
Bureau of Resource Management
December 2003

Title or Topic Humanitarian Assistance: Protecting Refugee Women and Girls Remains a Significant Challenge (GAO-03-663)
Evaluator U.S. General Accounting Office
Department Contact Margaret Pollack, Office Director, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
Major Findings
  • UNHCR and international organizations have developed guidelines, best practices, and other measures to improve protection of refugee women and girls.
  • Despite these efforts, women continue to face significant protection problems, including sexual exploitation by relief workers.
  • Weaknesses in UNHCR's staffing process and training limit the effectiveness of these measures.
  • The number of protection staff in some high-risk countries is insufficient and impeded protection efforts.
  • The U.S. government, through the Department of State, supports the protection of refugees and other vulnerable populations primarily through its funding to international organizations. It is also a strong advocate at the United Nations, within international organizations, and at the country level to increase protection efforts.
Major Recommendations

The Secretary of State should work with member states to reform UNHCR's staffing system by,

  • Creating a strategic workforce plan, and
  • Developing a staff assignment and rotation system.

The Secretary of State should work with other UN member states to,

  • Expand training opportunities so that international and nongovermental staff in positions of contact with refugee populations are fully versed in protection policies and practical protection techniques.
  • Encourage development of protection partnering arrangements between and among UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Ensure continued focus on efforts to prevent sexual exploitation of refugee women and girls by making the issue an annual agenda item at refugee policy forums.
Major Actions Taken or That Will be Taken
  • The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration instituted requirement that all organizations receiving PRM funds adopt codes of conduct regarding prevention and response to exploitation of refugees and other victims of conflict.
  • Ongoing consultations with UNHCR on reform of its staffing system.
  • Funding provided to UNHCR to increase protection staffing, and to the International Rescue Committee in support of the Surge Protection Capacity Project.
  • Funding provided to the Reach Out Initiative to support protection training for international and nongovermental humanitarian relief workers.
  • Statements on protection delivered at UNHCR's Executive Committee meetings.
  • Ongoing participation in NGO working group on protection.
Expected Result
  • Improved protection for refugee women and children.
  • Increased awareness and sensitization of humanitarian partners regarding sexual abuse and exploitation of refugee women and children through codes of conduct and preventative action in the field.
Title or Topic Integrated Mine Action Services (IMAS) Contract (AUD/PPA-03)
Evaluator Office of Inspector General, Department of State
Department Contact Dennis Hadrick, Program Manager, Bureau of Political and Military Affairs
Major Findings
  • No systemic contract weaknesses.
  • Areas of concern related to administrative costs factors and hazardous duty pay indicated.
  • Embassy designated demining officers were not carrying out full administrative responsibilities as described in the Humanitarian Demining Program (HDP) policy and procedures manual.
Major Recommendations
  • Review the issues of the rates and fees of the cost-reimbursable portions of the IMAS contract.
  • Review the cost and benefits of retaining or removing the requirement that the IMAS contractor must submit new items.
  • Review language related to the terms "post differential" and the "hazardous duty pay" in the IMAS contract.
  • Take steps to ensure that participating embassies are conforming to the HDP policy and procedures manual.
Major Actions Taken or That Will be Taken
  • Contract was modified to clearly state that administrative costs are fixed for the life of the contract, to eliminate auxiliary schedule of items, to authorize contract reimbursement for equipment, etc at purchase price and to clarify eligibility for hazardous duty pay.
  • Increased frequency of Program Manager visits to post.
Expected Result
  • Elimination of any ambiguity concerning allowed administrative and hazardous duty pay through the IMAS contract.
  • Improved understanding of post responsibilities at post and increased activity of demining officers in regards to their administrative duties as outlined in the HDP policy and procedures manual.