News Roundup – Private Finance and the SDGs, Stable Funding and UK Aid Transparency
Aligning private finance with the SDGs
This week several members of the Publish What You Fund team have been in Paris for the OECD Private Finance for Sustainable Development conference. They have been discussing our new initiative focused on the transparency of development finance institutions (DFIs). Before they set off, they released this new blog, asking whether ten years from now, when progress against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is tallied, we’ll be able to measure the contribution made by DFIs and the private finance they’ve mobilised. The blog considers if impact transparency is currently the missing piece when aligning finance with the SDGs.
Meanwhile the OECD has produced a blog which also examines the need for better tracking and measurement of the impact of private finance on the SDGs.
Making the case for stable funding
Our US representative Sally Paxton recently spoke at a Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network event on Capitol Hill, discussing the effects of budget uncertainty and budget cuts on US foreign aid effectiveness. Sally spoke on the importance of stable funding, and presented the findings from our research into the impacts of proposed US foreign aid cuts in four country case studies.
The state of UK aid transparency
You may have seen that we recently released our review of the transparency of UK government departments which spend official development assistance (ODA). Our research found that 3 out of 10 government departments are meeting 2020 targets for aid transparency. We also found:
- More aid data is being published by government departments, but there is still a critical lack of information on the impact and performance of aid projects
- If transparency is valued and institutionalised, significant improvements can be made by all aid-spending departments
- The government should re-commit to aid transparency targets, to encourage continued improvement
In other news…
And here’s a quick round up of what else we’ve been reading over the last month…
This article traces the experience of three journalists and their efforts to track European funding on migration. They struggle with a lack of transparency and oversight, and learning on how effective the funding is. Using the example of Dutch and Italian funding for Nigeria they develop a ‘spaghetti bowl’ of funding streams.
A blog from the World Bank’s Steven Davenport describes a Kenyan example of how data literacy and sub-national data desks can help foster a bottom up approach to development.
AidData has compiled a huge database of Chinese-backed projects from 2000 to 2017. It visualises China’s $270 billion “diplomacy spending” and the role of Chinese financing in the world’s megaprojects.
The UN OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data has released a new report to increase awareness of the data that is available and missing across humanitarian operations. The State of Open Humanitarian Data is based on the data shared by dozens of partners through the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform.
A Devpolicy blog from the Development Policy Centre looks into aid provided by China and Taiwan to the Pacific, in light of Solomon Islands’ recent decision to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish formal relations with China.
The Center for Global Development has launched the “DFI Dashboard”—an interactive tool for comparing the lending practices and policy frameworks of the new US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and eight other development finance institutions. The Dashboard shows that finance and insurance are the most significant sectors for DFI investment, with infrastructure second. Upper-middle income countries dominate the portfolios of most DFIs. In 2017, Proparco and CDC stood out as notable exceptions, with the highest relative amount of their loan portfolio in low-income countries.
Academics have welcomed the New Zealand government’s new aid policy for its focus on values and supporting the people of the Pacific, rather than simply economic development, but have called for a greater focus on transparency.
This opinion piece from Teamscope discusses the importance of NGOs’ sharing rather than wasting data and building open data principles into project design, pointing out that 85% of research data is never re-used.
Transparency International has launched its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 180 countries on perceived levels of public sector corruption. This year’s analysis shows stagnation and poorer scores for two-thirds of the countries analysed, especially where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.