The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on the 1st March released their 2011 Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) which included an assessment of the transparency and accountability of multilateral aid agencies.
The review “asks whether organisations make comprehensive information about their policies and projects readily available to outsiders. It also asks whether they are accountable to their stakeholders, including donors, developing country governments, civil society organisations and direct beneficiaries […] looking for a culture of openness and compliance with the standards set by the International Aid Transparency Initiative [IATI]” P. 54 (DFID Multilateral Aid Review: Ensuring maximum value for money for UK aid through multilateral organisations, March 2011).
The transparency of each multilateral institution is assessed according to whether it has a comprehensive and open disclosure policy; Promotes transparency and accountability in partners; Routinely publishes project documentation and project data; Is a signatory of IATI and shows commitment to implementation; Has governing structures to include effective partner country representation; and whether partner country stakeholders have right of redress and complaint. P. 127 (ibid).
The report draws upon evidence sources including each multilateral organisation’s website and disclosure policy, the IATI website, the OECD-DAC’s Creditor Reporting System, and CGD paper ‘Quality of Official Development Assistance. (ibid).
With this methodology, the MAR finds:
- “Some examples of strong performance on transparency and accountability among the global funds. Most of the UN and humanitarian organisations are weak, but most other multilateral organisations are satisfactory on these criteria”; P. 55 (ibid)
- “The European Commission is signed up to IATI and has set itself an ambitious timetable for meeting IATI standards on transparency. However, it does not currently consistently pro-actively publish all relevant programme and project information”; P. 56 (ibid)
- “Most of the multilateral development banks are assessed as satisfactory […] with good disclosure of policy and project data on easily navigated websites. Again with one exception, they either already have an information policy with a presumption of full disclosure, or are moving in this direction, and are either signatories of IATI or have expressed a willingness to commit to this.” (ibid)
It is a commendable that DFID have adopted aid transparency as a core value in bilateral aid commitments (established by the UKaid Transparency Guarantee and leadership in IATI) and are demanding the same transparency in multilateral aid efforts.
Read the full Multilateral Aid Review.