UNFPA Taking a Leading Role in Transparency and Innovation

Guest post by Martin Akerman, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)


In line with our commitment under the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) plans to release quarterly updates to its implementation schedule and is on track to be compliant with the standards set by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), by December 2015. UNFPA proudly joins UNDP, the World Bank, UNICEF, and Inter-American Development Bank as a signatory to IATI, making information about aid spending easier to access, use, and understand, for a variety of consumers, at both the governmental and civil levels.

Many countries face huge challenges in accessing updated information about aid. This information is often crucial for their ability to plan and manage those resources effectively. Similarly, citizens lack the information they need to hold their governments accountable in their use of aid resources.

Following the example set in the Publish What You Fund index; UNFPA’s Division for Management Services (DMS) is creating an internal data quality index. This index is intended to measure the quality of data collected from country and regional offices, and is meant to promote healthy competition between offices, bolstering the overall quality of IATI data disseminated by UNFPA headquarters to the public.

An exciting and innovative team in DMS is driving transition towards becoming a more transparent organization. We are working with some renowned Universities to attract passionate students with skills ranging from statistical analysis, geospatial information systems and international development policy. Our internship program allows us to train the workforce of the future while fostering innovation in Aid Transparency.

For our first internship round, two interns have joined from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, possessing unique skills in subnational geocoding and globalization policy. Our third intern collaborates remotely from Kings College in London, focusing on the coordination of membership and participation of UN agencies in the UN Working Group on Transparency – an effort to leverage the collective work of the UN in IATI and reduce the barrier to entry for UN agencies not yet engaged in IATI.

As the global transparency agenda gains momentum, UNFPA looks forward to demonstrating the integral link between aid transparency and development effectiveness, through its collaboration with the international community.


MAMartin Akerman joins UNFPA from the Millennium Challenge Corporation where he helped lead the US Government to the top ranking in the 2013 Aid Transparency Index. His innovative approaches to building a culture of transparency in an organization include the use of advanced project management methodologies, information system enhancements and leading change in business processes. Martin is passionate about the role data plays in making the world a better place and about mentoring the future leaders in the Aid Transparency arena.

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