International Technical Assistance Program
In 1995, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) established the DOI International Technical Assistance Program (DOI-ITAP) to provide capacity building in other countries using the diverse expertise of DOI bureaus. DOI-ITAP capacity building includes, but is not limited to: on-site technical assistance, study tours, mentoring, train-the-trainers workshops, procurement, and training in operations and maintenance of equipment. Project expenses are covered by external funds, while DOI typically contributes the salaries and benefits for short-term technical experts. To date, DOI-ITAP has provided technical assistance to 52 countries, with $35 million in donor funds from sources such as USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the U.S. State Department. DOI expertise is tapped from a wide range of subject areas, including:
- Protected area management
- Cultural resources management
- Environmental education
- Endangered species conservation
- Visitor services
- Recreation management
- Fire management
- Invasive species control
- Minerals management
- Reclamation of abandoned mine lands
- Wildlife law enforcement
- Resource interpretation
- Park infrastructure
- Concessionaires management
- Community outreach
- Multiple-use management
- Water resources
Results from DOI-ITAP activities:
Democracy and Good Governance
- Strengthened government agencies through goal setting, planning and training
- More effective regulations and organizational structure
- Enhanced environmental and cultural resource law enforcement through training and provision of basic equipment
- Established public-private partnerships leveraging financial and technical resources
- Greater local community participation in protected area management; decentralization efforts supported
- Transparent and accountable mechanisms developed for contracting with and managing private businesses that provide visitor services.
- Government revenues increased and local jobs created from sustainable tourism in and near protected areas
- Small businesses launched for recreational services, lodging, and handicrafts
- Conducted economic valuation of environmental services
About the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)
DOI-ITAP has access to the resource of the entire Department of the Interior. Established in 1849, DOI is the U.S. Cabinet-level agency that manages natural and cultural resources. DOI:
- Administers 203 million hectares (504 million acres) of federal land (equal to 1/5th of all U.S. lands), including national parks, wild and scenic rivers, wildlife refuges, wilderness, seashores, recreation areas, trails, historic sites, multiple-use lands (e.g., grazing, mining, oil extraction).
- Provides visitor services and educational opportunities to over 507 million tourists per year.
- Collects revenue of $10 billion per year from land sales, concessionaire fees, recreation fees, and leases for grazing and resource extraction.
- Provides resources for 30% of the nation's energy, through hydropower, coal, geothermal, and over 7,300 active oil and gas leases.
- Has reclaimed over 76 thousand hectares of abandoned coal mine sites.
- Conducts world-class scientific research on earth processes, natural disasters, water, biological, resources, energy, and mineral resources.
DOI has 70,000 employees in 8 technical bureaus:
- National Park Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management (multiple-use lands)
- Bureau of Reclamation (water resources)
- Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
- Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
Unique Strengths of the DOI-ITAP Program
DOI-ITAP fosters direct, sustained government-to-government professional exchanges between U.S. natural resource managers and their government counterparts in other countries.
DOI specialists have a depth of applied technical expertise, domestic and international experience, and relevant language skills. DOI-ITAP is able to field interdisciplinary teams from multiple bureaus.
DOI-ITAP partners with local and international NGOs, as well as private contractors, lending unique government-to-government expertise to technical assistance projects while leveraging resources.
Working with DOI-ITAP saves donor dollars. DOI-ITAP typically covers the salaries and benefits of all short-term technical experts, as well as the salaries and benefits of selected managerial, administrative, and technical staff, while donor funds cover the costs of travel and per diem of DOI technical staff, equipment, and planning and coordination. For every one dollar of investment in donor funds, DOI contributes approximately two dollars in support of DOI-ITAP projects.