Reviewing the methodology of the Aid Transparency Index
As announced at the 2016 Index launch, Publish What You Fund is reviewing the methodology of the Aid Transparency Index. This post outlines what Publish What You Fund is doing and why.
The Aid Transparency Index is the only independent measure of transparency among the world’s leading aid organizations. It assesses organisations’ overall commitment to transparency as well as the information they publish at the organisation level and for individual activities. It encourages the publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking data in an open format.
The objectives of the Index remain unchanged. They are:
- To assess the state of aid transparency among the world’s major donor organisations
- To track and encourage progress and facilitate peer learning while holding donors to account
- Raise awareness of transparency and open data standards to ensure that all development finance is transparent, building on existing open data standards like the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
The first Aid Transparency Index was published in 2011. That year leading donors committed in Busan to make their aid transparent by the end of 2015. Since then, there has been a steady improvement in aid transparency, accompanied by the publication of more comprehensive, forward looking and timely IATI data. However, our 2016 Index showed that most donors failed to meet the highest transparency standards.
Timely, comprehensive, forward-looking open data on development activities is needed more than ever. In order for development actors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and for all stakeholders to monitor and keep track of progress or highlight where adjustment is needed, high quality data should be made available. Additionally, the role of some actors in development is increasing, for example, the UAE – included for the first time in the 2016 Index – or the private sector and banks, as mentioned during the FFD conference. These changes reinforce the need for consistently high transparency standards, regardless of the nature of development actors.
The Index methodology has remained substantially unchanged since 2013. This review is an opportunity for Publish What You Fund to ensure that the Index remains relevant for all development stakeholders. The Index methodology should reflect and collect the data needed for decision making, accountability and monitoring purposes.
In order to do this, we are opening up a consultation period, where we invite the wider community to comment on our proposed changes. This will include the opportunity to provide feedback on the methodology itself, the relevance of the indicators used, the weighting system and new areas we’d like to work on.
The consultation process is starting in October 2016 and will be running until the end of the year. It is a three stage process:
- In the first phase, we want to consult with our peer reviewers and a selected number of experts and independent partners to design a proposal to take to the wider community.
- Second, we want to open the process to all donors, civil society organisations and other partners interested in providing comments through an online survey in mid-November 2016. Publish What You Fund’s team will also be available for calls and in person discussion at international events such as the GPEDC meeting in Nairobi and the Open Government Partnership Summit in France.
- Third, Publish What You Fund will review the feedback received and make the final decision on the new methodology for the 2017 Aid transparency Index.
We expect to announce the new methodology in early 2017, alongside the timetable for the 2017 Index.