An independent review of Australian aid effectiveness has made recommendations for greater transparency of Australian aid. The Australian cabinet has agreed, in principle, to the vast majority of the recommendations, including the implementation of a Transparency Charter that will be issued at the end of this year.
The review notes that the Australian aid program has taken significant steps to improve transparency in recent years; reflected in Australia’s ranking as the most transparent bilateral donor according to Quality of Overseas Development Assistance (QuODA) Index. Australia is also a foundation signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and provides high quality reporting to the OECD DAC. The report states that despite this, there is scope for improvement.
In this light, a Transparency Charter will be developed, with the aim of committing the aid program to publishing documents and data in a way that is comprehensive, accessible and timely. The Charter will be released by the end of 2011 following consultation with the Australian community and international partners. It is stated that the charter will “promote a ‘warts and all’ approach to reporting” with a focus on encouraging debate and contestability which will, in turn, improve effectiveness:
“We have already started. The 2011-2012 Aid Budget Statement includes more results, greater country information and, for the first time, details of aid spending by Australian Government agencies aside from AusAID…
The whole point of this transparency initiative is to ensure maximum value for money and, based on this principle, to continue to build the confidence of the Australian community in the effectiveness of our overall program.” (P.24 Aid Review Response)