What does government accountability for international aid look like?
Following the recent Public Accounts Committee hearing on how UK aid spending is being managed, we have been considering the need for more and better transparent data to ground UK aid spending practices in evidence. In a new blog, Elma Jenkins reflects on the push for government departments to be more open and accountable, and the relevance of our ongoing UK Aid Transparency Review.
How effective is the Aid Transparency Index?
The finalised version of a paper examining the effectiveness of our Aid Transparency Index has been published in the International Organisation journal. A Race to the Top?:The Aid Transparency Index and the Social Power of Global Performance Indicators by Dan Honig & Catherine Weaver used a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact of the
Index. The paper uncovers the conditions under which the Index influences powerful aid donors and how this happens. It finds that the Index shapes donor behaviour primarily via direct effects on elites: the diffusion of professional norms, organisational learning, and peer pressure.
It makes for an interesting read ahead of the 2020 Aid Transparency Index. Data collection begins in December…
Other good reads…
And here’s what else we’ve been reading…
Oxfam Australia has been trialling the use of blockchain to increase transparency and accountability in service delivery, to reduce costs and improve the impact of aid. According to this news story, blockchain technology was used to transfer money to vulnerable communities in Vanuatu, and reportedly improved efficiency and transparency of providing cash assistance. As well as quicker set up times, the technology enabled staff to see what people were spending and when, reducing the need for monitoring visits.
Transparency International has called on the United Nations to annually review Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. SDG 16 is one of six goals being reviewed in depth at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the UN in New York. SDG 16 includes commitments to fight corruption, increase transparency, tackle illicit financial flows and improve access to information. As such, according to Transparency International the goal is critical to the entire 2030 Agenda, because corruption undermines progress on all other SDGs.
The President of Cameroon’s National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril has urged officials of the emergency humanitarian assistance plan meant for victims of the Anglophone crisis to be transparent in the management of the aid. According to this news story, he encouraged those responsible for the effective coordination of the aid to ensure the transparency, accountability and traceability of all the operations done by their collaborators in the field.
Ground Truth Solutions (GTS) has combined the data from all of its major perceptual surveys since 2017 to create the Humanitarian Voice Index. The database currently includes responses from nearly 19,000 respondents in 12 countries affected by humanitarian crisis. GTS uses this data to analyse the state and trajectory of the humanitarian system from the perspective of affected people. Its goal is to make the perceptions of people affected by crisis the touchstone and driver of humanitarian effectiveness.
The Overseas Development Institute’s independent review of The Grand Bargain’s third year finds that some progress has been made in key workstreams but it continues to be over-structured and under-governed. The review finds general consensus that the potential of the Grand Bargain has yet to be realised, and that the investments made thus far need to be sustained for at least a further two to three years before returns will be fully apparent. Even so, there is evidence that these investments are starting to bring dividends, including contributing to the normative and operational shift to use of cash programming, driving a normative shift towards localisation, bringing about significant increases in the volume of multi-year funding available and successfully testing the idea of a harmonised reporting format.
A new study from the Harvard Kennedy School examines whether transparency and accountability programmes improve health. The authors assessed the impact of a transparency and accountability programme designed to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in Indonesia and Tanzania. They found that on average, this programme did not have a statistically significant impact on the use or content of maternal and newborn health services.