Aid reform bill calls for full US participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative

A new aid reform bill, The Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009, introduced by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, calls for full US government participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

 

Press Release

Publish What You Fund

The Global Campaign for Aid Transparency

www.publishwhatyoufund.org

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE                                            7 August 2009

Contact: Marcus Roberts
External Affairs
Publish What You Fund
+44 07710-762-487
marcus.roberts@publishwhatyoufund.org

Aid reform bill calls for full US participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative

(Washington, DC) – A new aid reform bill, The Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009, introduced by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, calls for full US government participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

The bipartisan bill addressed the need for greater transparency in US foreign assistance and also complemented the efforts of Chairman Berman and his initial aid reform bill: The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act, requiring the Obama administration to make all information on US foreign assistance publically available on a “detailed program-by-program and country-by-country basis”.

The bill requires that:

  • Donors and recipients should have full access to information on US foreign assistance;
  • Information should be comprehensive, timely, comparable and accessible;
  • US foreign assistance should have a general ‘sense of multilateral efforts’ by specifically participating in the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Publish What You Fund’s Director, Karin Christiansen, praised the move towards US aid transparency and urged senators to pass this initial aid reform bill:

“The introduction of new foreign assistance legislation highlighting the importance of aid transparency is to be welcomed. US participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative would have a dramatic effect on US aid effectiveness. The focus should now lie in passing this bill through the full Senate.”

Publish What You Fund is the not-for-profit campaign for global aid transparency, found at www.publishwhatyoufund.org.

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Notes for Editors:

Below is the relevant section of the bill.

For full text of legislation see: http://www.publishwhatyoufund.org/sites/default/files/S.1524.pdf or click here 

SEC. 10. TRANSPARENCY OF UNITED STATES FOREIGN ASSISTANCE.
(a) Sense of Congress on Transparency of Assistance- It is the sense of Congress that–

(1) United States citizens and recipients of United States foreign assistance should, to the maximum extent practicable, have full access to information on United States foreign assistance; and
(2) to the extent possible, United States Government agencies, departments, and institutions should undertake preparatory consultations with relevant outside stakeholders in a transparent and full manner in the course of formulating policies and strategies related to foreign assistance and development.

(b) Public Availability of Information-

(1) IN GENERAL- The President shall direct all Federal departments and agencies to make publicly available on their Web sites comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance. The information shall be presented on a detailed program-by-program basis and country-by-country basis.
(2) CONTENT- To ensure transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of United States foreign assistance, the information on United States foreign assistance published and made available under paragraph (1) shall include annual budget presentations and justifications of any programs or projects that provide foreign assistance by any Federal department or agency. In the event that detailed information is classified, an unclassified summary shall be posted and the classified details shall be submitted separately to the appropriate congressional committees.
(3) TIMELY AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION- The President shall direct the head of each Federal department and agency providing United States foreign assistance to ensure that the information required under this subsection is made available on no less than an annual basis at the time the President’s annual budget is released. Data that is of a provisional nature shall be updated when actual figures are available.

(c) Sense of Multilateral Efforts- It is the sense of Congress that, in order to best assess the use and impact of United States foreign assistance in relation to funding provided by other donor nations and recipient countries, the President should fully engage with and participate in the International Aid Transparency Initiative, established on September 4, 2008, at the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
 

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