The promise – and pitfalls – of the Aid Transparency Index
In our final 2020 Aid Transparency Index launch blog, Dr Kate Weaver of the University of Texas reflects on the influence of the Index and the limitations of the methodology. She calls for greater support to enable the Index to take the next steps in delivering the real promise of aid transparency – better, more accountable aid for all
Data diary: Megan O’Donnell on the importance of tracking gender-related spending
As part of our gender financing project, we have launched a series of data diaries. In the first of the series, we ask Megan O’Donnell, Assistant Director of the Center for Global Development’s gender program why gender-related data matters to her work, how she engages with the data, and what improvements she would like to see to make this data more transparent.
Aid transparency during COVID-19
Sarah Rose of the Center for Global Development (CGD) talked to our CEO Gary Forster and Henry Asor Nkang, the development assistance database manager for Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning for the latest CGD podcast. They discussed the current state of aid data transparency, the impacts of the pandemic, and how countries and donors can use data to improve development efforts.
Why transparency matters
Gary also spoke to Mark Leon Goldberg for a recent UN Dispatch podcast about why transparency in aid and development is so important. They discussed the trends identified in the latest Aid Transparency Index and the performance of specific donors.
Here’s a selection of news stories we’ve been reading over the last month.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee has agreed on rules for how it will count debt relief as official development assistance (ODA). Under the new terms, donors are allowed to count the rescheduled or forgiven amounts as ODA, with the amount reported capped to the nominal value of the original loan. The new rules have been criticised by the ONE campaign, which says they will allow donors to double-count aid spending.
This blog from the International Budget Partnership looks at the challenge of debt transparency, and says that for debt relief to be effective, governments must be held to account for how they use these funds – by their citizens as well as their creditors. It calls for faster progress towards greater debt transparency in government budgets and for international and national actors to unite around a common agenda to ensure full transparency on public debt.
This PACT blog describes the challenges for transparency efforts and social accountability structures amidst the scale and urgency of the pandemic response. The blog highlights how CSOs’ role of holding officials accountable has been minimised, but points to possible solutions and lessons to learn, including how to better support local actors.
In the first of a series of articles on how to follow the money during the pandemic response, the Open Budgets blog considers the actions that can be taken by CSOs.
A blog from Development Monitor argues that transparency can help to get the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track. It stresses the importance of international collaboration and the need for countries to disclose reliable, disaggregated data on actions that impact the goals. It argues that data gaps, such as transparency of loans to governments and environmental performance, could complement but go beyond measuring progress on the goals within a country. It says donor countries could get much better value for their tax payers if they looked at their performance on international development in the round, by measuring the impact of their non-aid actions towards developing countries.
A recent report from the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recommends that the UK sets ambitious new commitments to aid transparency, to be reviewed on an annual basis. In its first year, “the FCDO should strive to achieve a score of ‘Very Good’ on transparency of aid spending, as assessed by the Aid Transparency Index”. It also recommends that the Government’s Development Tracker tool should be maintained, and that relevant FCO staff should be trained on the IATI Standard.
This Devex article looks into the detail behind a recent Associated Press story that aid has fallen by a third in the first five months of the year. It highlights the limits of the data and calls some of the interpretation misleading.
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has announced that its Members’ Assembly, the annual meeting of all IATI members, will now be held virtually on 1-2 December 2020.
This United News of Bangladesh article reports on concerns raised by leaders of Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum on the transparency of emergency response funding.
A parliamentary inquiry into New Zealand’s aid in the Pacific has reaffirmed the importance of the Pacific Reset, but calls for greater transparency and better public communication. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made improvements in its aid transparency – reflected in its improved ranking in the Aid Transparency Index- but recognised that it has more work to do.
International donors recently pledged €252.7 million in aid for Lebanon at an online donor summit led by France, but they also said that help must be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency”.
A blog from the US Agency for International Development for IATI sets out its commitment to publish humanitarian data and why it is important for all donors.
This Devex article takes a deep dive into the IATI data published by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, showing how the Australian aid program is shifting programmes to the COVID-19 response and changing the sectoral focus of existing programmes.