News Roundup – Humanitarian Transparency, Gender Data, Reform, Corruption and Accountability
Humanitarian transparency: emerging themes webinar
Monday 9th September 10-11am BST & 4-5pm BST
What are the information needs of humanitarian actors on the ground and how can they be met? Earlier this year, Publish What You Fund and Ground Truth Solutions embarked on a research programme to understand what challenges humanitarian actors face, and whether and how improved transparency and greater information sharing can help.
Join our interactive webinar to find out more about our work to understand information needs on the ground, what we’ve learned so far, what we’re doing next and how you can help. Having just returned from field work in Iraq and mid-way through this timely research programme, we have some fascinating insights and reflections that we want to share.
Examining the gender data gap in humanitarian crises
Disasters such as droughts, floods and storms kill more women than men, and women form a crucial, but often overlooked contingent of first responders in humanitarian crises. This year’s World Humanitarian Day focuses on the work being done by women in today’s crises. We thought it timely to share a new blog on the need for gender disaggregated data and greater understanding of the information needs of local actors in humanitarian crises. Charlotte Smith examines why having proper information at both a global macro level and local micro level is crucial to tailoring our responses to those most in need, and fulfilling our promise to Leave No One Behind.
And here’s a quick round up of what else we’ve been reading this summer…
A recent Devex article explores US government aid transparency efforts three years after the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act became law, requiring greater reporting and improved monitoring and evaluation. The verdict seems to be that some progress has been made but there is still space to grow – particularly in relation to merging the US government’s competing aid data dashboards, making data more user-friendly, and incorporating evaluations and information gathered into future planning. At Publish What You Fund we have been following this topic closely, supporting progress and analysing the best ways forward. You can see our recent research here.
The OECD and UN Capital Development Fund have released a new publication exploring the trends in blended finance for least developed countries. It presents the latest data available on private finance mobilised in developing countries by official development finance.
A blog from the International Budget Partnership South Africa looks at why transparency and corruption are not always what they appear to be. It discusses how a lack of specified or targeted transparency can cause disenchantment, and how a singular focus on corruption as the primary cause of service delivery or government performance problems can obscure some of the other causes and lead to scandal fatigue.
Seek Development has published a Donor Tracker Insights paper, examining official development assistance (ODA) funding for gender equality. The report analyses trends in OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members’ ODA and policy for gender equality in 2017 and compares them with spending in previous years, taking a closer look at six of the biggest funders. Key findings include:
- Donors urgently need to scale up ODA for gender equality to meet SDG 5 (‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’).
- In 2017, funding for gender equality from 30 members of the OECD DAC reached an all-time peak of US$39.0 billion, 6% higher than in 2016. However, this increase is driven only by spending on projects that include gender equality as one ‘significant’ goal, rather than as the stand-alone ‘principal’ objective.
- Funding for projects with gender equality as a principal goal actually dropped by 5% (from US$4.9 billion to US$4.7 billion) in 2017, largely driven by funding cuts to this type of project by the US.
According to an Associated Press article, over a dozen United Nations aid workers in Yemen have been accused of corruption and are under investigation by the UN. The article reports that several aid workers have been accused of enriching themselves and diverting aid, food, fuel and medicine donated to the humanitarian crisis. Several months ago a group of Yemeni activists launched the “Where is the money?” campaign, calling for aid transparency.
Meanwhile, a recent Foreign Policy article reports allegations of corruption at a United Nations Development Programme project for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Russia. It reports allegations of mismanagement and misappropriation of millions of dollars in international funds from the Global Environment Facility which, it says, have been ignored for many years.
A new AidData policy brief presents its updated methodology for tracking financing related to the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets. It has applied the approach to track US$44 billion in donor financing related to the SDGs in four countries—Colombia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Côte d’Ivoire—from 2010 to 2016.
Following recent roundtables with donors and aid agencies in Geneva, the Center for Global Development has published a blog arguing that the world’s humanitarian aid architecture is growing outdated. Jeremy Konyndyk writes that relief programs are most effective when they are integrated, locally owned, and demand driven, and that fundamental change is needed to the humanitarian business model if it is to be effective and responsive.
In the first of a two-part blog for the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, Florencia Guerzovich reflects on learning from the Transparency for Development programme, and considers how to take forward the debate on how transparency and accountability contribute to service delivery and outcomes.
Catherine Weaver has contributed a chapter for the new publication “Good Governance and Modern International Financial Institutions”. She examines the evolution of access to information and open data policies in international development institutions. Using the World Bank as an example, the chapter looks at the complex internal processes and factors that shape the adoption and implementation of access to information policy reforms.