Transparency in the International Development Committee report

The International Development Committee (IDC)’s report on their inquiry into the Department for International Development (DfID)’s performance for 2008-09 and the 2009 White Paper can be found here.
The Chair of the IDC, Malcolm Bruce MP, summarizes main issues here, which include the White Paper’s commitment to focus more resources on fragile states, and DfID funding being channeled increasingly through multilaterals including the EU, UN and World Bank.
Increasing aid transparency as a means of furthering aid effectiveness is addressed. All sections referring to aid transparency have been collated below, with relevant parts underlined. (Bolding appears in original document).
7. DFID’s Annual Report states that it is on target to meet the Paris Declaration targets on aid effectiveness (although many other donor countries and multilaterals are not). Results from the 2008 Paris Monitoring Survey show that seven of the 10 targets that apply to donors have been met by DFID, while the remaining three are “on track”… In response to our written questions on the Annual Report, DFID stated:
Our recently published action plan “Beyond Accra: What action should DFID take to meet our Paris and Accra commitments on aid effectiveness by 2010?” identified three priorities for action to ensure DFID meets all the targets. These are improving the predictability of DFID aid; improving transparency of aid, including getting more aid on budget; and increased use of mutual accountability mechanisms at country level.
However, the UK Aid Network questioned the timeliness of data for reporting DFID’s progress against DSO 6 and the Paris targets:
8. DFID’s Autumn Performance Report stated that, as the next Paris Declaration Survey will not report until the third quarter of 2011, DFID is planning to produce its own aid effectiveness reports for its programmes in “early 2010”.11 It is important that DFID’s aid effectiveness reports, due to be published shortly, include suitable quantitative data to ensure that the Department is able to monitor and report on its own progress against the effectiveness indicators associated with its departmental objectives in advance of the final Paris Declaration Survey in 2011.
11. The White Paper made new commitments on transparency, scrutiny and accountability, including an undertaking to provide a sum equivalent to 5% of budget support for building accountability of aid disbursals. […] The UK Aid Network welcomed the 5% commitment but emphasised that it “must be delivered strategically […] following in-depth analysis of the gaps in accountability in individual countries—especially through engagement with civil society—and by coordinating with other donors.
44. We welcome the publication in 2009 of CDC’s first annual development report as a
positive step in the right direction of greater accountability and transparency in its
activities. However, we are not convinced that the link between profitability of CDC’s
activities and their positive development impact has yet been sufficiently demonstrated.
More robust evidence is needed. We urge DFID to ensure that CDC is required to
produce more detailed analysis in its future reports on the correlation between its
investments and pro-poor development outcomes, including their social,
environmental and governance impacts.
137. The Secretary of State said that this framework [the G8 has agreed on a “full and comprehensive accountability mechanism to monitor progress and strengthen the effectiveness of [the G8’s] actions] would not have been delivered without “British pressure”, and that it “was a significant prize to secure a degree of transparency in terms of progress made in relation to ODA commitments.”253 DFID’s Director General, International, said that the Government had “been instrumental” in the accountability framework proposal “which would hold all members of the G8 to account, both individually but also collectively, for the various commitments that they have made”. He said that “there is work going on through the year to ensure that [the accountability framework] is kept up to date with more detail and more strength behind it.”
138. The June 2010 G8 summit will mark five years since the historic commitments were made at Gleneagles on overall development aid and aid to Africa. We believe it is time to deliver on those promises. However, a number of G8 countries are failing to live up to their commitments. Nor has the scale of this failure been sufficiently transparent. The UK has been instrumental in gaining agreement for a G8 accountability framework and progress report, which will provide much greater transparency in tracking each country’s aid expenditure. It is important that this new accountability mechanism is fully functioning as soon as possible. We recommend that, in response to this Report, DFID provide us with an update on progress towards establishing the accountability framework, and the steps it is taking to ensure its publication in time for the June 2010 G8 Summit.


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