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Kerry-Lugar Bill: An Update December 17, 2009

Posted by Trice Kabundi in Analysis.
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The Cable reported yesterday on the first mandated report that the administration sent to Congress as part of the terms of the Kerry-Lugar bill (The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009).  The Kerry-Lugar bill, passed in October, tripped non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year for the next five years (FY2009-FY 2013) for a total of $7.5 billion.  The bill provides Pakistan with resources to increase economic development, strengthen basic infrastructure, and further social and democratic development. This aligns with President Obama’s Afghan strategy, which states that the stability and security of Pakistan plays a crucial role in achieving success in Afghanistan and in stabilizing the region.

The report provided a breakdown of how and where funds will be spent.  The following outline highlights several important aspects of this report:

Main Objectives of US Assistance

The report offered three key objectives “to achieve an enhanced partnership”:

–    Improve the Government of Pakistan’s capacity to address the country’s most critical infrastructure needs

–    Help the Government of Pakistan address basic needs and provide improved economic opportunities in areas must vulnerable to extremism

–    Strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to pursue economic and political reforms that reinforce stability

Key Programs, Projects and Activities

The report provided three assistance categories designed to achieve the aforementioned objectives:

–    High Impact, High Visibility Infrastructure Programs ($3.5 billion)

These report defined these programs as those that identify and address the most fundamental needs of the Pakistani people and government, and focus heavily on the energy and agriculture sectors. These programs are the more tangible, visible initiatives and are to bolster economic opportunities.

–    Focused Humanitarian and Social Services ($2 billion)

This category focuses on meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of the Pakistani people including the establishment of basic services.   This category is divided into two sections: $500 million for immediate post-crisis and humanitarian assistance, and $1.5 billion in increased access to education and health services.  Assistance would also serve to extend the Pakistani government’s reach into areas of the country that are more susceptible to extremism.

–    Government Capacity Development ($ 2 billion)

These programs assist the Government of Pakistan to strengthen its institutional capacity to help reinforce its ability to provide security and economic opportunities for the Pakistani people.   Programs are divided into the two sub-categories: 1) improve national and local governance and 2) improve security and legal institutions

Monitoring and Evaluation Despite the Challenges

The report lists many challenges that could negatively affect implementation efforts.  Potential setbacks include:

-Pakistan’s poor security situation and the presence of extremist elements in many parts of the country

-Pakistan’s limited capacity to absorb and effectively use external resources

-Public sector corruption; suspicion of U.S. intentions and long-term commitment

-Possibility that the Government of Pakistan may be slow to implement key policy reforms that will help sustain U.S. and other donor assistance.

To ensure that these programs implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible, the report cites increased U.S. government staffing and increased audits and investigation capacity.

Ensuring Aid Does Not Go to Terrorist Organizations

While the US government will finance the key programs, projects and activities, others are likely to do most of the actual implementation.  To ensure that no US assistance flows to individuals or entities that are affiliated with terrorist organizations, the report cites vetting procedures and standing guidelines and procedures throughout the process, including conducting terrorist financing risk assessments on all contractors and grantees.

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