Publish What You Fund welcomes new US Bill Calling for More Transparency in Foreign Aid

Yesterday U.S. Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (HR 2139), a bipartisan bill designed to increase accountability and improve the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid. The Bill lays the ground work for a major increase in the transparency of U.S. aid.

Publish What You Fund congratulates Chairman Berman and the other co-sponsors of this important piece of legislation.

Press release
Text of the proposed Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act 2009 §4

Press Release

Publish What You Fund

The Global Campaign for Aid Transparency

www.publishwhatyoufund.org

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE                                            29 APRIL 2009

Contact: Marcus Roberts
External Affairs
Publish What You Fund
646-708-2423
marcus.roberts@publishwhatyoufund.org

NEW BILL CALLS FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY IN FOREIGN AID

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, today introduced the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (HR 2139), a bipartisan bill designed to increase accountability and improve the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid.

The bill, drafted in consultation with NGOs including Publish What You Fund, "directs the President to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting global development." In particular, it focuses on laying the ground-work for aid transparency. The bill:

• Instructs federal agencies to make aid information on a detailed country-by-country and program-by-program basis in a comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible fashion – namely through the use of departmental websites.

• Ensures the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of US foreign assistance by detailing the planning, allocations and disbursement, terms, contracting, monitoring, and evaluation elements of US foreign assistance efforts.

• Encourages the US government to best assess the use and impact of its foreign assistance efforts in relation to other donor nations and recipient countries by fully engaging in the International Aid Transparency Initiative – the global forum for aid transparency co-ordination.

“We congratulate Chairman Berman and the other co-sponsors of this important piece of legislation,” said Publish What You Fund’s Director Karin Christiansen. “Foreign aid is scarce and precious resource, and an key part of replacing people’s poverty across the developing world with hope and opportunity. Aid transparency is fundamental to that effort, and Chairman Berman and the bill’s other cosponsors have brought us closer to that goal today.”

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

The whole bill is available at:
http://www.hcfa.house.gov/111/ForeignAssistanceStrategy.pdf

SEC. 4. TRANSPARENCY OF UNITED STATES FOREIGN ASSISTANCE.

(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the American taxpayers and recipients of United States foreign assistance should, to the maximum extent practicable, have full access to information on United States foreign assistance.
(b) INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The President shall publish in the Federal Register and make publicly available on the websites of appropriate Federal departments and agencies comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance a detailed program-by-program basis and country-by-country basis.
(2) SCOPE.—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 planning, allocations and disbursement, terms, contracting, monitoring, and evaluation elements with respect to activities carried out under such United States foreign assistance.
(3) AVAILABILITY TO BE IN TIMELY MANNER.— 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 shall be made available in a timely manner.
(c) MULTILATERAL EFFORTS.—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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