Foreign Assistance: Lessons Learned From Donors' Experiences in the Pacific Region Page: 6 of 60
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donors focus their assistance in key areas, such as education, policy
reform, and infrastructure, to achieve these objectives. (See app. II for
further details about the major donors, their objectives, and the recipients
of their assistance.)
The major aid donors believe that many Pacific Island nations will not be
able to achieve self-sustainability without continued assistance in the
foreseeable future or will need assistance indefinitely. In addition, the
donors acknowledge that there are important trade-offs involved in
providing assistance to these nations. One important trade-off can occur
when other objectives for providing assistance, such as foreign policy
interests, place a different emphasis on the accountability or effectiveness
of the development aid. There are also trade-offs between the
administrative costs, effectiveness, and accountability of the assistance. In
this context, the donors have explored and adopted the following different
strategies and approaches to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of
their assistance in the region:
* Five of the major donors have supported projects to improve governance
in the recipient countries, such as developing a rule of law, as a foundation
for effective development.
* One multilateral donor has adopted a subregional approach to
development that tailors aid to the individual characteristics of recipients
rather than applying the same strategy to all of the island nations.
* Two donors have built flexibility into their assistance strategies, which
enables them to provide incentives for positive achievements or to stop
assistance to recipients under undesirable conditions, such as political
* Six of the major donors have relied on trust funds in the Pacific as a means
of providing recipients with a self-sustaining source of future revenue.
* All of the major donors have emphasized donor coordination as a tool for
improving efficiency by limiting duplication of projects and reducing the
burden of multiple donor requirements on recipient countries.
* One major donor has adopted a sectorwide approach to assistance-a new
approach in the Pacific region but widely discussed in development
literature-as a pilot project in the health sector in an effort to encourage
the recipient country to take ownership of the development process on a
The United States could draw several lessons from the donors'
experiences in the Pacific, in terms of the context for providing assistance
to the region as well as the strategies and approaches the donors have
adopted. These lessons could be valuable insights for the United States as
GAO-01-808 Pacific Development Assistance Strategies
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United States. General Accounting Office. Foreign Assistance: Lessons Learned From Donors' Experiences in the Pacific Region, report, August 17, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293232/m1/6/: accessed February 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.