On 23 November Australia strengthened its commitment to aid transparency by launching a new Transparency Charter, which will be implemented by:

  • regularly updating information and data about AusAID country program activities — including expenditure, results and annual performance reports, within more comprehensive webpages;
  • fully participating in the International Aid Transparency Initiative that provides data for comparison and critical analysis of aid program results, and
  • publishing annual targets for improvement of transparency in the aid program.

Kevin Rudd, Australian Foreign Minister, launched the charter in a statement to Parliament on his work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s aid program, saying “Australians should have confidence their tax dollars are making a real difference in the lives of people in need around the world […] We are committed to ensuring that the beneficiaries of Australia’s aid know that the money is being spent effectively, achieving results and helping people to overcome poverty – the fundamental purpose of Australian aid.”

AusAID will begin publishing online detailed, up-to-date information on what the aid program is achieving through its country programs, beginning with Vanuatu and the Philippines. It includes access to more than 150 policy, design, review, evaluation and other reports on aid to these two countries. Information on all country programs will be in this format by the end of 2012.

Australia has already published some of its aid information to the IATI Registry, and we hope that this development signals that there is more to come shortly. Publishing aid information to the IATI standard is the best way for aid agencies to ensure their money can be spent to best effect, and we hope to see more donors committing to do so at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 5 days’ time.