Aid transparency in new MFAN policy agenda

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a reform coalition comprised of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations has released an updated policy agenda.

2 elements of their renewed priorities highlight the need for aid transparency to be part of the Administration’s focus going forward:

“Maximize efficiencies by eliminating waste: U.S. policy should maximize efficiencies by eliminating wasteful regulations, coordinating and leveraging efforts with partners, and demanding clear results demonstrated by consistent evaluation.”

MFAN will “Establish a coordinating mechanism to enable agencies involved in develop­ment to coordinate strategies across projects and initiatives and attract private capital and resources to USG development priorities.”

Publish What You Fund have been urging the US to implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). 19 other donors have already made a commitment to publish their aid information to the IATI Registry, and it is vital the US, as the world’s largest aid donor, ensures its efforts are equally transparent and coordinated with others’.

A second recommendation by MFAN is to:

“Increase accountability for U.S. taxpayers and people in developing countries:  U.S. policy should prioritize accountability to U.S. taxpayers as well as people in developing countries, with clear objectives, better coordination with other donors and stakeholders, greater transparency, and more effective and meaningful monitoring and evaluation.”

Which asks that the Administration “Expand [The Foreign Assistance] Dashboard, the newly-launched online resource for U.S. foreign assistance data, to include more detailed and historical data and foreign aid funding information from all U.S. agencies implementing aid.”

Publish What You Fund agrees that this data does need to be made available, but should also be published by other agencies, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Treasury, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, and the Global Health Initiative.

The data needs to be comparable with other donors, but particularly to recipient country systems so taxpayers in both donor and recipient countries can see the impact of their efforts in relation to others. It is only when the US publishes its data in the same way as others that the value of aid transparency can be realized. All major donors need to be speaking the same ‘language’ so that greater coordination and efficiency results can be brought about.

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