U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) today officially requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine global climate change projects by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Bank, and other federally funded agencies.
In a letter to the GAO, Lugar underscored that the watchdog agency should study "the goals strategies, and activities" of agencies implementing the Obama Administration's overseas climate change projects. Lugar asked, "How do these goals, including those encompassed in USAID's recently-released Global Climate Change Strategy, align with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals for the countries receiving these climate change dollars?"
At a March 6 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on USAID's budget, Lugar called for rigorous review of overseas climate change projects, especially those dealing with adaptation. "My concern is that USAID is being asked to devote resources to a politically determined objective, rather than to maximizing development impact," Lugar said. "In other words, if there were not a Climate Change Initiative basket to fill, would all of these projects be worthy purely on their development merits?"
Lugar, who has spearheaded reform and transparency efforts dealing with U.S. foreign assistance and with the World Bank and other international financial institutions, wrote in the letter to GAO, "It is imperative to prioritize funding and ensure that projects yield measurable advancements to U.S. national security and development objectives, especially at a time of constrained resources at home and ongoing threats overseas."