Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We need your help to audit the US Government’s assistance to the DRC!

Read the follow message and submit your reports and comments to Farhanaz Kermalli at KermalliF@gao.gov. Please reflect on your experiences in the DRC as the GAO will not be able to make it to the field the GAO while writing this report. Attached you will find a copy of the text of S.2125 (now Public Law 109-456) and the roundtable invitation sent to a few operational NGOs, human rights groups and think tanks.

S.2125—The Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006—was signed into law by President Bush on December 27, 2006. One of the legal requirements set forth by the Act was for a Report to be written on progress toward the 15 policy goals established by S. 2125 within a year of the legislation’s enactment. The 15 objectives in the bill cover everything from the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of former combatants; to helping the Government of the DRC meet the basic needs of its people; to halting the high prevalence rate of Gender Based Violence in the DRC. The Report will be written by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the independent and non-partisan agency that studies the programs and expenditures of the U.S. government.

Specifically, the report should include; progress made toward accomplishing the goals set forth by the legislation; a description of any major impediments that prevent their accomplishment; an evaluation of US policies and foreign assistance programs designed to accomplish the objectives and; recommendations for improving U.S. policies and programs and any additional bilateral or multilateral actions necessary to promote peace and prosperity in the DRC.

The GAO has called a small roundtable together of operational NGOs, human rights groups and think tanks to discuss these organizations’ perspectives on U.S. policy vis-Ă -vis the DRC and the major impediments to achieving the policy objectives outlined in S. 2125. In order to keep the discussion manageable, the participant list was limited. However, organizations that were not invited to the roundtable discussion have been provided an email address to send in reports or written comments to those working on the GAO report.

If you would like to contribute your perspective, please keep your remarks consistent with the questions at hand, with a focus on how the U.S. is doing in meeting the 15 goals and what the impediments are that may be preventing it from doing so. Framing your contribution in these terms will assure that it is relevant to the actual research that the GAO is conducting.

Reports and comments can be sent to Farhanaz Kermalli at KermalliF@gao.gov.

Warm Regards,

Kate Phillips-Barasso, CARE

Congo Global Action Member

Here are the S.2125 bill requirements:

SEC. 106. REPORT ON PROGRESS TOWARD ACCOMPLISHING POLICY OBJECTIVES.

(a) Report Required- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the progress made toward accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102.

(b) Contents- The report required under subsection (a) shall include--

(1) a description of any major impediments that prevent the accomplishment of the policy objectives described in section 102, including any destabilizing activities undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo by governments of neighboring countries;

(2) an evaluation of United States policies and foreign assistance programs designed to accomplish such policy objectives; and

(3) recommendations for--

(A) improving the policies and programs referred to in paragraph (2); and

(B) any additional bilateral or multilateral actions necessary to promote peace and prosperity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .

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