Publish What You Fund welcomes the zero draft of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) published on 16 of March, 2015.
We believe that transparency and open data have the potential to address the objectives of the FfD3 process by ensuring that all development stakeholders gain a comprehensive picture of resources for sustainable development in a way that serves coordination, decision making, monitoring of results and accountability.
We have comments on the following sections that we will be following up with advocacy work alongside partners:
C. International Public Finance
Paragraph 72 addresses country ownership at the national level and positively acknowledges the role played of transparency and mutual accountability.
It should also recognise progress underway on aligning information on international public finance and national budget systems. This has been a long standing partner country ask that will allow governments to better track international public finance flows into their own national budget systems for coordination, planning and decision making.
There is ongoing work in DRC, Nepal, Senegal and Tanzania to align development finance flows published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) with country categories and classifications.
F. Systemic Issues
The zero draft recognises the importance of transparency for different financing for development flows. It is linked to private sector, illicit financial flows, extractive industries, international tax evasion, budgets and procurement, climate finance, south-south cooperation, among others.
In order to avoid working in silos, the FfD outcome document should also recognize transparency as a systemic issue. Transparency of financing for development is a pre-condition for better coordination, policy coherence and accountability. Transparency initiatives should be recognized and encouraged to work together to enable sustainable development commitments to be delivered in a holistic way. We suggest the zero draft includes a new paragraph in this section recognising and supporting existing initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership, GIFT, IATI, Open Contracting and EITI.
H. Data, Monitoring and Follow-up
Better data on all development finance flows – public and private, domestic and international – is essential for building a complete picture of the resources available for sustainable development, and to mobilise and monitor these resources effectively at national and international levels. We welcome a commitment to set up monitoring and follow-up mechanisms on financing for development as well as improving the availability of data and capacity building.
However, for these efforts to be fully effective, the FfD outcome should include a commitment for development actors to publish timely, comprehensive and forward looking information on all their activities in a common, open, electronic format based on strengthening existing global open data standards, such as IATI.
At the moment this section (para 116, 117) does not reflect any commitment in this regard and we strongly call for governments to enhance the level of ambition and build on progress already made on publishing to IATI.
It is also important to note that data does not deliver transformational change on its own. It has to be used by all stakeholders including local governments and civil society which should be supported in terms of participation and capacity building. This should also be clearly reflected in this section.