On October 30, 2013, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol was in Washington, D.C. to meet with officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior to discuss international DOI - IAT cooperation.
Of special interest is Morocco, where the DOI - through its International Technical Assistance Program - is helping to establish Toubkal National Park and the IAT is in the process of forming a new trail chapter. The IAT Morocco route is expected to enter Toubkal on its way to Taroudant and the Anti-Atlas Mountains, the "Appalachians" of Morocco.
The mission of the U.S. Department of the Interior is to protect America's natural resources and heritage, honor its culture and tribal communities, and supply the energy to power the country. It was created in 1849 with a wide range of responsibilities, including the exploration of western wilderness, regulation of territorial governments, welfare of native Americans, and management of federal lands. The DOI also manages the U.S. National Park Service, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
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
Endangered species conservation
Invasive species control
Reclamation of abandoned mine lands
Wildlife law enforcement