Washington, D.C.—WOLA is announcing the launch of its Central America Aid Monitor to track and evaluate how U.S. aid is being used to address the problems of corruption, violence, and impunity that have plagued the region in recent years. The Central America Aid Monitor will provide in-depth data and analysis for policymakers, the media, and practitioners working in the field through blogs, policy memos, podcasts, reports from the region, and other timely content.
“The significant increase in aid to Central America approved last year, and overall shift away from a predominantly security-centric strategy, are welcome steps. But tackling the rampant levels of violence, corruption, and poverty is not just a question of funding—it is also one of smart investments,” said Adriana Beltrán, WOLA Senior Associate for Citizen Security. “Achieving results will also depend on the governments’ commitment to addressing these issues and strengthening the rule of law.”
In December 2015, the U.S. Congress approved a US$750 million aid package to Central America to help the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala address the violence, poor governance, and lack of economic opportunity driving migration from the region. The U.S. aid package more than doubles the level of assistance to Central America and expands the U.S. agenda from a security-oriented approach to one that seeks to strengthen institutions and invest in economic development. The package also includes a series of strong conditions on combating corruption, increasing transparency and accountability, strengthening public institutions, and protecting human rights.
In a signal of the United States’ long-term interest in investing in Central America, the administration has also included $885 million in foreign assistance to the region in its budget request for fiscal year 2017.
WOLA is launching the Central America Aid Monitor to ensure that U.S. aid is being invested wisely and that the governments of Central America are holding up their end of the bargain. The monitor will track and evaluate U.S. assistance programs to reduce violence, strengthen law enforcement and judicial institutions, and tackle corruption. Working with partners on the ground, the monitor will also evaluate Central American governments’ progress in meeting the requirements on transparency, corruption, justice, and public security.
To read WOLA Citizen Security expert Adriana Beltrán’s analysis of the administration’s 2017 budget request for Central America, click here.
For additional resources on Central America:
- Citizen Security in Central America: Root Causes and New Approaches, WOLA podcast
- U.S. Increases Central America Aid, but It’s No Blank Check, Analysis of the fiscal year 2016 aid package
- “A New Era of Accountability in Guatemala,” Originally published in Current History