Publish What You Fund Principles

Information on aid should be published proactively

Public bodies engaged in funding and delivering aid, and those who deliver aid on their behalf, should proactively disseminate information on their aid and aid-related activities. They should develop the necessary systems to collect, generate and ensure the automatic and timely disclosure of, at a minimum, information on:

  • Aid policies and procedures including clear criteria for the allocation of aid;
  • Aid strategies at the regional, country and local; and programmatic, sectoral and project levels;
  • Aid flows (including financial flows, in-kind aid and administrative costs), including data on aid planned, pledged, committed and disbursed, disaggregated according to internationally agreed schema by region, country, geographic area, sector, [disbursement/delivery] modality and spending agency;
  • Terms of aid, including aid agreements, contracts and related documents, for example, information on all conditions, prior and agreed actions, benchmarks, triggers, and interim evaluation criteria; and details of any decisions to suspend, withdraw or reallocate aid resources;
  • Procurement procedures, criteria, tenders and decisions, contracts, and reporting on contracts, including information about and from contractors and sub-contracting agents;
  • Assessments of aid and aid effectiveness including monitoring, evaluation, financial, audit and annual reporting;
  • Integrity procedures, including corruption risk assessments, declarations of gifts and assets, complaint policies and mechanisms and protection of whistleblowers;
  • Public participation: opportunities for public engagement in decision-making and evaluation, consultative/draft documentation, copies of submissions to the consultation processes, and reports on how inputs were taken into account;
  • Access to information: organisational structure, contact information and disclosure mechanisms and policies

The only restrictions on the proactive publication of this information should be based on limited exceptions consistent with international law and subject to consideration of the public interest in the disclosure of information.

All public bodies engaged in aid, in donor and recipient countries, should publish an index to the types of information that they hold, and wherever possible these should be organized so that all the documents linked to a particular country, programme, or project can be identified.

Information on aid should be timely, accessible and comparable

Information on aid should be of sufficient quality to be meaningful for recipient governments, civil society organizations, other stakeholders, and the public in donor and recipient countries. To this end, information should be managed and published so that it is:

Relevant and Accessible: Information should be presented in plain and readily comprehensible language and formats appropriate for different stakeholders, whilst retaining the detail and disaggregation necessary for analysis, evaluation and participation. Information should be made available in ways appropriate to different audiences. To this end, proactive dissemination of information should not be limited to internet publication and should include use of radio and television, printed material disseminated directly to stakeholders, and, where appropriate, information delivered in person in meetings. Information should be made available in the languages spoken by the affected communities.

Timely and Accurate: Information should be made available in sufficient time to permit analysis and evaluation of aid and engagement in aid processes. This means that information needs to be provided while planning as well as during and after the implementation of aid projects and programmes. Information should be managed so that it is up-to-date, accurate, and complete. It is particularly important that relevant information is provided in line with annual and medium-term planning and budget cycles in recipient countries.

Comparable: Public bodies engaged in funding and delivering aid should collect, manage, compile and publish detailed information in formats that permit comparison within and between countries. In particular, donor-held information that relates to a particular recipient country should be made available in a format which can be easily reconciled with the recipient country’s detailed budget classifications and planning and budget cycles. Reporting of budget and financial information should be consistent with international accounting standards. Ensuring consistency with the recipient country information needs, public bodies engaged in funding and delivering aid should agree and implement a common standard for the classification and publication of statistical and budget information related to aid. This should include aid data published at the transaction level, and consistently classified, including by country, location, sector, recipient, purpose and modality.

Everyone has the right to request and receive information about aid

Public bodies engaged in funding and delivering aid should guarantee the right of access to information, both through proactive publication of information and by establishing mechanisms by which everyone can request and receive information.

Public bodies engaged in aid should respect everyone’s right to request information without the need to justify the request and without any citizenship or residency requirements. The procedures for requesting information should be simple and free; only actual copying and postage may be charged. Information held by public bodies should be provided to the public within pre-defined timeframes, subject only to limited exceptions that are consistent with international law. Everyone should be guaranteed a right to appeal refusals to provide information, as well as to appeal any failures to respond or other obstacles to receiving information to an independent body empowered to issue binding decisions.

In international law, the right of access to information only applies to public bodies and to private bodies performing public functions as designated by national law. Given the importance of transparency for accountability and effectiveness in the aid system, all actors engaged in funding and delivering aid should develop appropriate systems to allow the public access to information. Public bodies engaged in funding and delivering aid should ensure that third parties who spend aid on their behalf provide information to the public, either directly or through the donors’ access to information regimes.

All donor governments and their agencies should meet the standards of their own access to information regimes in all the countries where they operate, regardless of whether the recipient country has similar laws. They should grant access to information by citizens of recipient countries in the same way that they would their own citizens.

The right of access to information about aid should be promoted

Donors and recipient governments as well as other actors disbursing aid should assist citizens to exercise their right of access to information on aid. They should inform parliamentarians, journalists, civil society representatives, and the general public, especially communities directly affected by aid, about the right of access to information on aid. Staff of organisations bound by these principles should be trained on their obligation to provide information to the public, both proactively and in response to specific requests.

Where appropriate and proportionate with the nature and scale of the aid programme or project, donors and recipient governments should include a skills-building component in order to build the capacity of stakeholders to locate – and where necessary to file requests for – aid-related information.

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