Why transparency matters

Knowing what is being spent where, by whom, and with what results is the basic foundation for increasing aid effectiveness and accountability for better development outcomes and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We believe transparency is critical to aid and development donors, recipient governments and civil society, because without it:

  • Donor governments don’t know what other donors are spending or planning to spend. This is leading to the duplication of efforts in some areas and under-funding in others. Without aid transparency, donors cannot coordinate to achieve the maximum impact with their scarce resources.
  • Recipient governments struggle to know how much aid is invested in their country, let alone where and how it is spent. Recipients need more information to make the most effective use of their own money alongside that of donors. When donors don’t publish their spending plans, this impedes the recipient’s ability to plan long term projects, which in turn hinders development. When recipients can’t include aid and development flows in their budgets and planning, it is hard for parliament and civil society to hold them to account.
  • Civil society, including NGOs, legislators and citizens, have the right to know what resources are coming into the country and what it’s being spent on. More and better information about aid and development activities will increase the incentive to improve the effectiveness of aid and fulfill taxpayers’ need to know that money is being well spent.