The Third Financing for Development Conference has the ambitious mandate of finishing the job agreed in Monterrey and Doha, as well as supporting the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. Publish What You Fund welcomes the Revised Draft Outcome Document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development for recognising the importance of greater transparency and open data for more effective development and for the monitoring and follow-up of financing for development commitments.
We believe that the current text on paragraph 117 and 118 is a step in the right direction and we would like to encourage further efforts to make the Accord more ambitious so it can fully support follow-up and monitoring efforts at national, regional and international level.
In order to strengthen paragraph 117, we call on member states to agree a commitment on publishing timely, comprehensive, and forward looking information on development activities in a common, open electronic format based on existing initiatives such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
Without a specific commitment, governments and other international and national development stakeholders are not guaranteed to access timely, comprehensive and forward looking information on financing for development flows. A commitment will make sure that all development stakeholders have a comprehensive picture of resources going into supporting sustainable development efforts. Specifically:
- Developing countries will better and more efficiently track where financing for development resources are going, ensure they are aligned with sustainable development priorities and make national implementation more effective.
- Civil society will have better access to information so they can participate in national level implementation and demand accountability in an informed way.
- Follow-up and monitoring efforts will be strengthened because more and better information on financing for development will be available and can be more easily collected and compared at national, regional and international level
In addition, we welcome the new paragraph 118 and agree that data does not deliver transformational change on its own. Data has to be useful for and used by all stakeholders in the policy-making process including national and local governments and those who hold then to account, including civil society.
The paragraph can be strengthened by providing more clarity on a commitment to support capacity building for the use of data by all stakeholders and enhanced data accessibility (eg. user friendly tools such as visualizations).
This should also include supporting efforts to make different data standards interoperable. Transparency initiatives and standards in sectors such as aid, extractives and construction, as well as government budgets, are leading to a step change in the amount of data being published on different resource flows and how they are being spent. Being able to readily compare information across different flows is a pre-requisite for better predictability and planning. When country governments can see the totality of external development financing in a timely way, they can take more informed decisions in the context of country budgeting and allocation.
Read our suggested revisions in full here.