Aid workers have always faced risk working in global hot spots, but in comments filed with the State Department on Feb. 17, 2012, American aid workers and nonprofits explain why the proposed Partner Vetting System (PVS) would increase these dangers and hurt humanitarian efforts around the world. If implemented, PVS would turn USAID grantees into investigators for U.S. intelligence agencies, violating NGOs' neutrality and endangering their workers. In September 2011, USAID and State presented parts of a proposed pilot program for NGOs in five countries.
Several nonprofit organizations submitted comments on Sep. 30, 2013 urging the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to re-think its proposed pilot program requiring nonprofits that apply for grants to collect data on their board members and key staff. USAID would use the program, known as the Partner Vetting System (PVS), to check the biographical information collected against intelligence databases. The commenters argue that this would have a significant impact on operations, including damaging the independence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), putting aid workers in danger and creating administrative burdens.
A long-awaited final Partner Vetting System (PVS) final rule was issued by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) June 26 (Partner Vetting in USAID Assistance, 80 Fed. Reg. 36693). The rule, which establishes a pilot project in five countries, requires many grant applicants to submit detailed personal information on key employees to USAID for comparison with intelligence databases. It is dismissive of concerns raised by nonprofit organizations (NGOs) and others in response to the proposed rule issued in 2013.
There is insufficient justification for a global rollout of the U.S. government's Partner Vetting System (PVS), according to a December 2016 Policy Paper from InterAction, Partner Vetting Independent Assessment: Insufficient Justification for a Global Rollout.
Partner vetting is an additional due diligence procedure used by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State to ensure that foreign assistance does not inadvertently benefit terrorists or their supporters. The paper is primarily concerned with the role of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the vetting system, and supports three general conclusions. First, implementation of the PVS pilot was not consistent enough to form the bases for a global program. Second, direct vetting wasn't sufficiently implemented. Third, the significant number of critiques could, if addressed, alleviate some of the negative consequences of PVS. Therefore, InterAction has recommended that the USAID and State extend the PVS pilot for another three years, and to implement direct vetting as well as the recommendations made in the policy paper.
The recommendations include create a formal system to exempt vetting in certain circumstances, including humanitarian emergencies; exempt small sub-awards; exempt beneficiaries; and exempt awards for the sensitive work of democracy, rights and governance.
In comments filed on Sept. 30, several nonprofit organizations urge the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to re-think its proposed pilot program requiring nonprofits that apply for grants to collect data on their board members and key staff. USAID would use the program, known as the Partner Vetting System (PVS), to check the personal information collected against intelligence databases. Commenters sharing CSN's concerns about the program, including InterAction, Oxfam America, and the ACLU, argue that PVS would damage the independence of NGOs, put aid workers in danger, and increase administrative red-tape.
On Oct. 5, 2009, a suicide bomber struck the headquarters of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing five people and injuring five others. One of the survivors, Adam Motiwala, an American aid worker helping coordinate humanitarian aid to millions of displaced Pakistanis in the northwest part of the country, suffered injuries to his head, leg and stomach.
Report language in the Omnibus budget bill is intended to rein in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Partner Vetting System (PVS). With the insertion of this paragraph, once the PVS pilot program is completed, USAID and the U.S. Department of State may not implement similar programs unless required to respond to existing security threats. In addition, Congress would have to be consulted before the agencies begin new vetting programs or implement changes to existing programs.
The Partner Vetting System (PVS) is a pilot program created to vet individuals in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit entities who apply for United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contracts and grants, to ensure that USAID-funded activities are not inadvertently providing support to entities associated with terrorism. Under the PVS pilot program, the U.S. government requires many grant applicants to submit detailed personal information on key employees and subcontractors to USAID for comparison with intelligence databases.