Guest post by Michelle Mueller, AidData Summer Fellow in Mexico – originally posted here.
On July 25th, Mexico announced its intention to host the first ministerial-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. Both a recipient and provider of development assistance, Mexico has embraced South-South cooperation and supports regional development projects. Measuring both incoming and outgoing aid flows is essential to capturing an accurate picture of the role of emerging donors in development; yet, data on outgoing assistance from middle-income countries (MICs) is not readily available and only loosely monitored. Mexico should leverage its opportunity to host the first ministerial meeting and raise the bar on aid transparency for MICs consistent with the Global Partnership’s principles.
Mexico has already made progressive steps to ensure transparency. Along with the creation of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), Mexico joined the Open Government Partnership as a Steering Committee member in 2011, committing itself to greater budget transparency to strengthen citizen participation and reduce corruption. Recognizing the value of open data for achieving its development goals, Mexico has taken the initiative to host the next regional meeting of Open Data for Development in Latin American and Caribbean.
Despite these good first steps, there is substantial room for Mexico to bolster transparency of its aid flows and results. Mexico should make data on its cooperation projects easily accessible for researchers, development organizations, and civil society. Releasing more detailed documentation on specific development projects beyond aggregate aid flows would be a step in the right direction. Applying geographic coordinates to the precise locations of AMEXCID-funded development activities, would enable both local and international actors to visualize where Mexico’s assistance funds are going, for what purposes and with what results.
Emerging donors like Mexico are contributing a growing share of development assistance and more accessible data is needed to assess the value and outcomes of their efforts. This new wave of non-traditional aid agencies should be held to the same accountability standards as their more established counterparts in the post-Busan aid architecture. Analyzing development in MICs can uncover valuable insights such as whether regional cooperation fosters stability or whether countries experienced in receiving development aid have different results in providing assistance to other countries. In opening up more granular information on its regional development assistance, Mexico could set a compelling example for its MIC peers in Latin America and elsewhere. The lead-up to hosting the first ministerial meeting of the Global Partnership is a time sensitive opportunity to do just that.