Aid transparency necessary part of ‘intelligent results focus’

Richard Manning, chair of IDS, former chair of the OECD DAC, and peer reviewer of our Aid Transparency Assessment, urges donors to “step up action on the transparency of their own aid delivery” in a contribution to the German Marshall Fund blog in December 2010.

Manning advocates increased transparency, accountability and response to local performance over “Obsessive Measurement Disorder” in efforts to ensure aid money is used well. This comes as timely advice as increasing pressure to justify aid budgets sees many governments using a formulaic and potentially counterproductive “over-prescription of targets.”

The article suggests that “donors should be doing much more to help implementing governments and agencies build their own audit and accountability systems”, and “step up action on the transparency of their own aid delivery (strongly urged by President Obama, but also European governments such as Sweden and the UK), ideally in a way that follows consistent standards, such as those set by the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Donors have in fact made important commitments in this area at the Accra High Level Forum in 2008: they need to deliver.”

Manning proposes that measures such as these will work to “actually promote results” by putting emphasis on how aid is given and accounted for, as opposed to target-setting.

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