CSO analysis of HLF-4 summit: Aid transparency a ‘big winner’

Civil society groups, coordinated by BetterAid, have released their analysis of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. Transparency featured in the analysis as a ‘winner’ from the forum, but with challenges remaining.

Read full text here, and the transparency section below.

[From Section:] Key Ask 1: Fully evaluate and deepen Paris and Accra commitments

1.3 Implement full transparency as the basis for strengthened accountability and good governance

1.3.1 Clear inclusive accountability frameworks at country and global levels

24. The Post-Busan Interim Group, and ultimately the Global Partnership, must develop a robust – but manageable – monitoring framework with a relevant set of core indicators. These indicators, in addition to voluntary ones, must generate the necessary political incentives for all development actors to implement their promises made in Paris and Accra, and the commitments set out in Busan.7 The framework should not monitor anything less that the original commitments agreed in Paris. Such a framework for Busan is critical to achieving progress in country-level monitoring and accountability. It will provide partner countries with a strong basis from which to identify local-level donor monitoring priorities and to leverage agreement on an ambitious agenda for taking them forward. Without such a change, Civil Society is concerned that the monitoring system will not draw on lessons learned from past monitoring activities nor provide for deeper democratic accountability.

1.3.2 Highest standards of openness and transparency applicable to all aid actors

25. Transparency was one of the big winners coming out of Busan. Transparency and accountability are included as guiding principles for the overall agreement and included in the preamble. The BPd [Busan Partnership for Development] laid out language and timelines for adopting a common transparency standard (23c), which are some of the only date-specific text in the document. The BPd pledges by December 2015 to “implement a common, open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information on resources provided through development cooperation”. In practice, an increased number of governments are also signed on to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) ahead of and at Busan.

26. There is an explicit link made between transparency and accountability and other areas in the text. This includes language on corruption, stating there is a zero-tolerance policy (§ 33a) and government will intensify efforts to implement the international agreements to fight corruption and illicit flows (§ 33).

27. However, this text was hard fought and only achieved through constant advocacy and pressure on governments to recognize their past commitments in these areas. There are also some shortfalls that entered into the negotiation process. The “country heavy” emphasis in the BPd has implicitly shifted the burden of engagement on transparency from the donors and their development practices (as recognized in the PD and AAA) towards countries. Moreover, limited advances were made on making data not just open but more meaningful through its disaggregation. For example, the same commitment from the AAA on providing for gender disaggregated data was restated in the BPd.

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