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2012 Aid Transparency Index

United States US Agency for International Development

Summary

USAID should be congratulated for releasing obligation and spent data to the Dashboard in June 2012, adding to its previous release of planning data. Also in June 2012, USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) launched a crowd-sourced geo-coding initiative for its guarantee and loan data, making the underlying dataset publicly available. An upgrade of USAID’s internal system, Phoenix, is scheduled for FY 2012. USAID’s 2012 Open Government Plan includes improving internal coordination and standardisation, to gather data from across the Agency’s technical offices and country missions by 2014, and engaging stakeholders to put this information to use.

USAID ranked 27th overall, second amongst the U.S. institutions assessed. It scored slightly above average among all donors on the organisation and country levels. It scored poorly at the activity level; among others, results and impact appraisals were not systematically available. The USAID map is currently not comprehensive for all recipient countries, though it is planned to expand its coverage to full comprehensiveness. USAID declined to provide specific feedback on the survey.

USAID should improve its programmatic data collection process by 2014 by making its IT system IATI compatible in its scheduled IT upgrade. It should also work with the IATI Secretariat on country pilots and the budget identifier. USAID should release its project information and performance data to the Dashboard and publish all information to the IATI Registry. In line with its 2012 Open Government Plan, USAID should support the growth of communities of interest by bringing together developers and users of aid information.

Results

Click on an indicator to see the definition of that indicator and, if information is published for the indicator, the evidence as a URL.

1. FOIA Average legislation
Definition:
The definition used in the Rating for a Freedom of Information Act is that it has to be a law in the strict sense, it must include the right of access to information, this right has to be enforceable and there must be complaint, court and high court appeal possibilities. Decrees are included if they meet the same standards. In addition, the FOIA must be in use for at least the executive part of the government, therefore FOIAs which are only adopted, approved or still in draft form were not counted. For multilateral donors, IFIs and foundations, a disclosure or transparency policy was accepted as equivalent to a FOIA. Publish What You Fund completed an assessment of the quality of these disclosure policies based on the overarching approach taken in the Global Right to Information Rating. In the 2011 pilot, a binary yes/no answer was accepted for this indicator without any assessment of the quality of the legislation. The authors recognised this was unsatisfactory and a new data source has been found for 2012 so an assessment of the quality of the legislation is now possible.

Source:
www.rti-rating.org/countrydata.html

Comments:
To assess Freedom of Information Acts for bilateral donors, we are using the Right to Information Rating published by AccessInfo and the Center for Law and Democracy. The RTI Rating uses a 150-point scale, which we have broken down into a four-point scale: 1= No Freedom of Information Act 2= score of 1-60 on the RTI Rating 3= score of 61-90 on the RTI Rating 4= score of 91-150 on the RTI Rating
2. IATI Signatory
Definition:
Donors are engaged in IATI if they are signatories. Of the 33 signatories, some are already implementing, i.e. they have published to the IATI Registry within the last 12 months; others have published an implementation schedule but have not yet published to the Registry or they published data that is now more than 12 months old; and a third group have not published an implementation schedule or confirmed when they expect to publish to the Registry.

Source:
www.aidtransparency.net/implementation

Comments:
Assessed on 07/08/2012
3. Strategy Always published
Definition:
An overarching strategy document explains the general approach and policies of the donor towards international development. This is a new indicator for 2012. Feedback from the 2011 survey identified that publishing an overarching strategy document is considered best practice for setting out an organisation's overall approach and policies and that the majority of organisations produce these documents.

Source:
transition.usaid.gov/policy/USAID_PolicyFramework.PDF

liked
from
new
website:
www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/planning/policy
4. Annual report Always published
Definition:
Annual reports outline basic (normally aggregate) information about how aid was spent in the previous year, broken down by sector and / or country. This is a new indicator for 2012. Feedback from the 2011 Tracker survey highlighted the importance of annual reports for providing an overview of an organisation's budget, areas of focus and spending in an accessible and user-friendly format. They are also a first step for organisations in providing more information to their constituencies about their work.

Source:
transition.usaid.gov/performance/afr/afr11.pdf

Comments:
FY2011 is latest available.
5. Allocation policy Always published
Definition:
Aid allocation policies and procedures are the detailed policy and procedure documents by which the organisation chooses where to spend its resources, i.e. on which countries or themes rather than others. Relatively general documents or webpages outlining which countries, themes and institutions the agency will fund are accepted, as long as this is forward-looking and not wholly retrospective.

Source:
transition.usaid.gov/policy/USAID_PolicyFramework.PDF

linked
from
new
website:
www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/planning/policy
6. Total budget Not collected
Definition:
The total organisation budget is the total amount that the organisation will be allocated by the government or its funders for at least the next three years. This is money going to the organisation, and can be indicative. Both rolling budgets and non-rolling budgets were accepted if they ran up to 2015.

Source:
www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/budget-spending
7. Disaggregated budget Not collected
Definition:
The organisation's annual forward planning budget for assistance is the disaggregated budget that the organisation or agency will spend on different countries, programmes and institutions for at least the next three years. This is money being spent by the donor organisation, and could be indicative. Ideally we would have distinguished between rolling and long term budgets (e.g. a five year budget) but for the purpose of the survey both rolling budgets and long term budgets were accepted. All the EC agencies included in the Index (DG DEVCO, DG Enlargement, ECHO and FPI) were at the end of their fixed budget cycles and therefore did not have a budget for the next three years. In this case they did not receive points for this indicator.

Source:
transition.usaid.gov/policy/budget/money/WheredoesUSAIDsMoneyGo_FY2012...

linked
from
new
website:
www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/budget-spending/where-does-money-go
8. Procurement policy Always published
Definition:
An organisation's procurement procedures explain the process used to tender and contract (invite bids for) goods and services. This must fully explain the criteria on which decisions are made, and could be in a single procurement policy document or attached to each tender. For development finance institutions which are often demand-driven, this was understood as their investment policy.

Source:
www.usaid.gov/work-usaid/get-grant-or-contract/grant-and-contract-proc...
9. Tenders Always published
Definition:
Tenders are the individual contracts or proposals that have been put out to invite bids from companies or organisations who want to provide goods and services for an activity. They may be on a separate website, possibly on a central government procurement website. This was an activity level question in the 2011 Tracker survey, but as organisations often publish tenders separately and on a central website the question was in practice answered at the organisation level. It has therefore been moved to this level for 2012.

Source:
https://www.fbo.gov
10. Audit Always published
Definition:
The organisation's annual audit of its activities is an official inspection of the accounts and activities of this organisation, typically by an independent body.

Source:
transition.usaid.gov/oig/public/reports/iraq_reports_fy12.html



Comments:
Can't find on new website.
11. Database Sometimes published
Definition:
An online database of all the activities in all countries is a website which contains all of the activities of this donor across the world, disaggregated to the level of a project. This should include comprehensive information about the organisation's projects, including title, cost, start/end dates, implementing organisation and a description of the activity. This is a new question for the 2012 Tracker survey. Findings from the 2011 survey identified that centralised, online databases that are publicly accessible make it much easier to search for and find information about the organisation's activities and compare them with other organisations.

Source:
map.usaid.gov/

Comments:
Quote from the USAID Map site: A subset of USAID’s field offices participated in the initial rollout of the map. Over time the intent is to display a comprehensive portfolio of USAID projects from all international locations. -- Changed to a 3- JA
12. Strategy Always published
Definition:
A country strategy paper sets out the organisation's planned approach and activities in the recipient country. For it to be accepted it needed to be a detailed document, rather than just a paragraph on the organisation's website.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/about/country_strategy

foreignassistance.gov/OU.aspx?OUID=166&FY=2011


afghanistan.usaid.gov/documents/document/Document/2268/US_FOREIGN_ASSI...

Comments:
Unclear when the country strategy website was last updated. - The narrative section of the Foreign Assistance Dashboard is sufficiently detailed to qualify as a strategy paper. Also, while it not clear when it was published, it is current in the sense that it discusses strategic and operational priorities for FY2012 and FY2013. Also, the Performance Management Plan 2011-2015 could be considered a strategic plan,- JA from Publish
13. Budget Not collected
Definition:
The organisation's annual forward planning budget for assistance is the budget that the organisation will spend on this country for at least the next three years. This is money being spent by the organisation and can be indicative. As above, both rolling budgets and non-rolling budgets were accepted if they ran up to 2015. Indicative three-year figures disaggregated to the level of theme or region were accepted for private foundations and trusts.
14. MoU Always published
Definition:
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a document which details the agreement usually between the organisation and recipient government for the provision of aid in the country. Some DFIs do not sign MoUs, so equivalent documents have been allowed. Further explanation of what has been accepted is provided in Annex 1. This was an activity level question in the 2011 Tracker survey, but as MoUs relate to bilateral agreements between a donor organisation and a government the question was in practice answered at the country level. It has therefore been moved to this level for 2012.

Source:
www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/usaid-and-intel-sign-mem...

photos.state.gov/libraries/afghanistan/231771/PDFs/2012-05-01-scan-of-...

Comments:
- In this case, the core document is not called an MOU, but the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement. While this is not strictly pertaining to USAID, it certainly includes USAID's operations within its legal mandate, therefore a '4' should be scored h
15. Evaluations Sometimes published
Definition:
Evaluation documents consider what activity achieved, whether the intended objectives were met, what the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives were and an assessment of the impact, effect and value of the activity. This information may be on a specific evaluation section of the organisation's website.

Source:
https://dec.usaid.gov/dec/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=ZG9jdW1lbnRzLkJp...

Comments:
The new evaluation policy (http://transition.usaid.gov/evaluation/USAIDEvaluationPolicy.pdf) only requires evaluations considered 'large', projects that are at or above average size for that partner country.
16. Results Sometimes published
Definition:
The results show whether activities achieved their intended outputs in accordance with the stated goals or plans. This information often refers to logframes and results chains and may be within a specific results or evaluation section of the organisation's website.

Source:
pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT271.pdf


https://dec.usaid.gov/dec/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=ZG9jdW1lbnRzLkJp...
17. All current activities Collected
Definition:
Activities need to be current, ongoing activities broken down by sector or region and including details of budget and timeframe, not just details of completed activities. If the information was introduced with any qualifiers (such as 'major projects', 'lighthouse projects', 'key projects', 'case studies') then this was not considered as comprehensive publication of all activities. Donors were asked to verify if these responses were correct. This is a new indicator for 2012. Findings from the 2011 Tracker survey highlighted the need to be able to identify all activities currently being delivered by an organisation in that country, and as a way of signposting the likelihood of systematic publication at the activity level.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/projects

Comments:
- http://map.usaid.gov/ also appears to be a comprehensive list of USAID projects- JA from Publish What You Fund
18. Database Always published
Definition:
An online database of all the activities in the recipient country is a website which contains all of the activities of this donor in the country, disaggregated to the level of a project. This should include comprehensive information about the donor's projects, including title, cost, start/end dates, implementing organisation and a description of the activity. If an organisation scores on indicator 11 then they will score again on this indicator, but not necessarily vice versa. For example, Canada is gradually publishing comprehensive activity data for each country it operates in, including for Haiti (Canada's biggest recipient country reviewed in the survey), but it does not yet have public, comprehensive database for all its activities in all the countries it operates in. This is a new indicator for 2012. Feedback from the 2011 Tracker survey identified that centralised, online country databases that are publicly accessible make it much easier to search for and find information about the organisation's activities and compare them with other organisations operating in that country.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/projects

map.usaid.gov/

Comments:
All projects appear to be published in Afghanistan, but not all countries took part in map.usaid.gov
19. Implementer Always published
Definition:
The implementer of the activity is the organisation which is principally responsible for delivering this activity.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Partner/92/World_Health_Organization

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Partner/6/DAI

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/133/WHO_Health_and_Emergency_R...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/190/Special_Initiatives_in_Edu...

Comments:
Programs that are implemented with support from partners, list that partner on the program page. Also systematically published in the project descriptions. JA from Publish What You Fund
20. Collaboration type Sometimes published
Definition:
The collaboration type shows how the activity is funded ? whether directly from one government to another (bilaterally), through institutions such as the World Bank or UN (multilaterally), or otherwise. This needed to be explicitly stated. To be accepted, responses had to be stated per activity, or once in a country strategy paper or a clear place on the website, if there is only one collaboration type for the whole organisation (e.g. 'all aid is funded bilaterally').*

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/133/WHO_Health_and_Emergency_R...

Comments:
http://afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/about/about_usaid_afghanistan Mentions that 15B dollars of bilateral assistance is spent since 2002, but it is unclear if that number pertains to the totality of USAID's projects in the country. JA
21. Flow type Collected
Definition:
The flow type shows whether the organisation states this activity counts as ODA, OOF, climate finance or any other type of flow. This had to be explicitly stated per activity, or once in a country strategy paper or a single place on the organisation's website if there is only one flow type for all activities (e.g. 'all aid is ODA').*
22. Aid type Collected
Definition:
The type of aid shows whether the activity is classed as budget support, a project, technical assistance, debt relief, administrative costs, and so on. This needed to be explicitly stated per activity, or once in a country strategy paper or on a clear place on the organisation's website if there is only one aid type for the whole organisation (e.g. 'all aid is project-type interventions').* For DFIs, the organisation needs to clearly state if there are any eligibility requirements for contracts based on country of origin.

Comments:
For these three programs, this information is not published.
23. Finance type Sometimes published
Definition:
The type of finance shows whether the activity is a grant, loan, export credit or debt relief. This had to be explicitly stated per activity, or once in a country strategy paper or on a clear place on the organisation's website if there is only one finance type for the whole organisation (e.g. 'all aid is grants').*

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...
24. Unique ID Collected
Definition:
The activity identifier is a unique reference ID for the activity (e.g. a project number). It allows an activity to be referred to and searched for by a code, which can be used to retrieve the project from a database or filing system. The project ID must be stated clearly on the page. It is not sufficient if it is only stated in the URL.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

Comments:
Activity number is included in the URLS. Unclear if this is the official activity identifier.
25. Title Always published
Definition:
The title of the activity is the name of the activity. This was preferably the formal name of the activity, but did not have to be.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/133/WHO_Health_and_Emergency_R...
26. Description Always published
Definition:
The description of the activity is a descriptive text, longer than the title, explaining what the activity is. Sometimes it was just a short sentence but could also be more detailed. Either was accepted.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/133/WHO_Health_and_Emergency_R...

Comments:
Descriptions can also be found through the USAID Maps site: http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsHAAQ http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011ntRAAQ http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsVAAQ JA from Publish
27. Sectors Always published
Definition:
The sectors of the activity explain whether this is, for example, a health or education project. It did not count if it is just mentioned incidentally within the title / description / etc. It needed to be stated separately and explicitly.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/133/WHO_Health_and_Emergency_R...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/programs/health
28. Sub-national location Always published
Definition:
The sub-national geographic location is information about where the activity is located within a country. This may be a province or city, or it could be geo-coded (whereby the precise longitude and latitude is published). It needed to be stated separately and explicitly. This is a new indicator for 2012. Feedback from the 2011 Tracker survey highlighted the need to be able to identify the location of an activity within a country in order to obtain information about all the activities being delivered within the same province or city. This indicator is not applicable for projects that are a) allocated to a collection of countries (e.g. a supranational region); or b) funded via general budget support, where just the country name was accepted.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

map.usaid.gov/
29. Planned dates Always published
Definition:
The planned dates are the dates that the activity is scheduled to start and end on. If there are one set of dates but they are not explicitly planned or actual dates, given that these are for activities which are current (i.e. being implemented at the time of data collection) it was assumed that they were planned dates.* Just the year (rather than month and year) has been accepted for this indicator. This is generous as in some cases donors are publishing the month and the year. In some cases, they publish day, month and year (for instance, the date a contract was signed is taken as the start date). In future indices, this indicator might be interpreted more strictly in recognition of recipient countries needing to be able to map planned activities to their own financial year rather than the calendar year.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

Comments:
Also found here: http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsHAAQ http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011ntRAAQ http://map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsVAAQ JA from Publish
30. Actual dates Sometimes published
Definition:
These are the dates that the activity actually started (and ended on, if the activity has finished). If there was only one set of dates but they are not explicitly stated as planned or actual dates, then it was assumed they were planned dates. Actual dates were accepted where specific events occurred, for example the date the project/programme agreement was signed, a board presentation or an appraisal date.* As with indicator 29, just the year (rather than month and year) has been accepted for this indicator. In future indices, this indicator might be interpreted differently in recognition of recipient countries needing to be able to map activities to their own financial year rather than the calendar year.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/117/Afghanistan_Biodiversity_a...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/165/Afghanistan_Civil_Service_...
31. Tied aid status Collected
Definition:
The tied aid status shows whether the organisation states that this activity counts as 'tied' (e.g. procurement is restricted to the donor organisation country) or 'untied' (open procurement). This had to be explicitly stated per activity, or once in a country strategy paper or on a clear place on the website if there was only one tied aid status (e.g. 'all aid is untied').* Publish What You Fund Aid Transparency Index 29
32. Overall cost Sometimes published
Definition:
The overall financial cost or amount is a summary total financial sum for the activity.

Source:
pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT011.pdf
33. Planned expenditures Sometimes published
Definition:
Individual planned expenditures must be related to individual activities but are generally high level commitments rather than a detailed breakdown of the activity budget. This information is unlikely to be made available if the organisation does not publish to IATI. In the 2011 Pilot Index, this indicator was combined with 34 below. It has been split into two indicators in 2012 as feedback on the 2011 survey identified the need to distinguish between planned and actual expenditure. The indicator used in 2011 ('Publishes planned disbursements and expenditure') masked important differences between different organisations and the level of expenditure detail they provide.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/180/Agricultural_Development_F...

pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT011.pdf

www.foreignassistance.gov/DataView.aspx#DataSetAnchor
(fields
selected:
Afghanistan,
2011/2012/2013,
Planning
and
Obligated
Data)
-
JA
from
Publish.
34. Actual expenditures Collected
Definition:
Individual actual financial disbursements must be related to individual activities and must be on a per-transaction basis. Each activity is likely to have several transactions. This information is unlikely to be made available if the organisation does not publish to IATI. In the 2011 Pilot Index, this indicator was combined with indicator 33. See explanation above.
35. Current status Always published
Definition:
This shows whether the activity is currently under design, being implemented, has finished or has been cancelled.*

Source:
-
map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsHAAQ
map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011ntRAAQ
map.usaid.gov/ProjectDetail?id=a0cd00000011nsVAAQ


Comments:
Can be inferred as 'implementing' or completed based on graphic- JA from Publish
36. Contact details Always published
Definition:
This shows who can be contacted in relation to this activity. This does not have to be the contact information for an individual or project manager and could refer to a central contact or information desk. Contacts for either the funding organisation or the implementing organisation were accepted. This had to be stated alongside the activity or on an obvious 'contact us' link alongside the activity.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/documents/document/Document/1826/WHO_Polio_Fact_...

afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/contact
37. Impact appraisals Sometimes published
Definition:
Pre- and post-project impact appraisals explain the totality of positive and negative, primary and secondary effects expected to be produced by a development intervention.

Source:
pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT011.pdf
38. Objectives Sometimes published
Definition:
The objectives or purposes of the activity are those that the activity intends to achieve.

Source:
afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Activity/190/Special_Initiatives_in_Edu...
39. Conditions Collected
Definition:
The terms and conditions of the activity may also be referred to as benchmarks, priors, or involve words such as 'subject to...'. They are specific to an individual activity and explain what the recipient must do in order to be eligible for the funds to be released. The conditions should include loan repayment terms if the activity is financed by a loan.
40. Budget docs Sometimes published
Definition:
This is a specific budget detailing what the intended spending is for the different lines of the individual activity. It is often a document published on the organisation's website.

Source:
pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT011.pdf
41. Contracts Collected
Definition:
The individual contract(s) which is signed with a company, organisation or individual that provides goods and services for the activity. Again this could be on a procurement section of the organisation's website, on a separate website or possibly on a central government procurement website.
42. Design docs Sometimes published
Definition:
Design documents are detailed documents which show how the activity should be undertaken. This needed to be a similar level of detail to the activity budget.

Source:
pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACT011.pdf
43. Budget ID Not collected
Definition:
The budget classification is a way of linking the activity to the recipient country government's own budget codes. This information can either be provided as the budget codes themselves, or as a common code that can map from a donor organisation's detailed purpose codes to the recipient country's functional or administrative budget classifications.