Debt relief as ODA – why it’s looking bad for aid transparency
A recent announcement by the OECD-DAC on new rules for how debt relief will be counted as Official Development Assistance (ODA) has raised questions around aid allocation and transparency in this area. With a looming debt crisis, the role of debt relief is looking increasingly important. In this blog Elma Jenkins and Alex Tilley examine what we currently know about data on debt relief, how it is reported, and the data gaps. We consider the implications of the new rules for the transparency of ODA and the questions it raises.
New team vacancies: research assistant and communications officer
Research Assistant (x2)
£30,000, full-time, location: Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Bangladesh or Pakistan
We are seeking two Research Assistants to execute research (literature reviews, interviews, primary and secondary data collation, and analysis) and produce high quality policy briefs and reports.
£30,000, full-time, location: UK
We are seeking a creative Communications Officer to ensure our research on Women’s Economic Empowerment reaches the right audiences and has the maximum impact.
The closing date for all roles is 12th October. Find out more and apply here.
Humanitarian data transparency in Bangladesh and Iraq
As part of our research into humanitarian data transparency, we have produced two country-specific research briefs on Iraq and Bangladesh. The briefs explore the information needs of humanitarian actors on the ground in Bangladesh and Iraq, and the challenges they face in accessing and using this information. the research highlights key challenges around data quality, a lack of data governance and leadership at the field level, and limited data use capacity.
Donor financing for gender equality: spending with confusing receipts
As the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession exacerbate resource constraints with outsized consequences for women and girls, there is an increased need for clear and consistent data on the extent to which bilateral and multilateral donors are prioritising gender equality in their financing, and to what end. Without accurate data on the funding of and results from gender equality projects, we cannot hold donors accountable for their gender equality commitments, nor ensure that funds spent are meeting populations’ needs. In an insightful new blog Publish What You Fund’s Alex Farley-Kiwanuka and Jamie Holton team up with Megan O’Donnell of the Center for Global Development, to dig into the preliminary findings from our Gender Financing Project. They consider what it reveals about donors’ spending on global gender equality—and what we still don’t know based on available data.
Webinar: DFI transparency and impact management
There is still time to register for our forthcoming webinar on the transparency of development finance institutions (DFIs), with a focus on objectives, theories of change and impacts. Join us on Wednesday 30th September 3pm-4pm BST to discuss the findings from the DFI Transparency Initiative’s second work stream on the transparency of impact management.
CAO external evaluation: a (partial) victory for transparency and accountability
In mid-August, the World Bank’s Executive Board released an external review of the IFC’s accountability arm, the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO). Karen Mathiasen, strategic advisor to our DFI Transparency Initiative, writes about why releasing the report and soliciting feedback are welcome and important steps in improving transparency and discusses the challenges and opportunities the review raises for the IFC.
Here’s a selection of news stories we’ve been reading over the last month.
Monday (28th September) is the International Day of Universal Access to Information. The day recognises the significance of access to information, and in 2020 is focused on the right to information in times of crisis and on the advantages of having constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information to save lives, build trust and help the formulation of sustainable policies through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency has produced a guide to help practitioners identify the datasets and data fields needed for informed internal decision-making and transparent disclosure of information related to emergency responses.
The International Budget Partnership is launching a series of webinars on monitoring government budget execution in the COVID era. Speakers from civil society will walk participants through how to “follow the money” to see if it is indeed reaching those who need it most—from tracking expenditures, to monitoring procurement, to measuring impact, to advocating with legislatures and audit bodies.
The Jubilee Debt Campaign has launched a new Debt Data Portal – an online resource bringing together an analysis of debt risks and key debt statistics by country. It finds that 52 countries across the world are suffering from a debt crisis. In addition, there are 32 countries at risk of a private sector debt crisis, 7 countries at risk of a public sector debt crisis, and 24 at risk from both a private and public debt crisis.
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, along with the Lebanese Transparency Association and Transparency International, have launched the Beirut Blast Recovery and Reconstruction Monitor to track and assess transparency and effectiveness of the emergency assistance.
The Center for Global Development has released a survey on gender equity in development finance. It examines the policies and practices of DFIs in relation to gender equity and women’s empowerment, and whether gender strategies translate into concrete benefits for women.
The Transparency and Accountability Initiative has launched the COVID-19 monitor – an analysis and reflection tool to follow transparency, civic participation and accountability issues during the pandemic. The pilot issue examines new data tools that track governance information and pulls out the key trends and takeaways.
CONCORD Europe, the European confederation of development and relief NGOs, is hosting the launch event of its 2020 AidWatch report on 28 October at 4-5:30 pm (CET). The report monitors yearly how and how much the EU and its Member States are spending on ODA.
Registration is now open for the virtual UN World Data Forum, taking place on19-21 October 2020. The forum is designed to gather data experts and users to spur data innovation, mobilise high-level political and financial support for data, and build a pathway to better data for sustainable development.
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has launched its new Datastore and Validator. It has issued new guidance and will be holding webinars in October to help users transition to the new tools. The IATI Secretariat has also launched a consultation to inform new guidance on publishing data on humanitarian crises using the IATI Standard. IATI data users and publishers are encouraged to help review draft guidance and join two webinars to help ensure the final guidance helps meet the needs of humanitarian practitioners.
Transparency International has reported that since January, its Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres operating in 60 countries have received over 1,500 reports of corruption and other irregularities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cases, from Italy to Venezuela to Ghana, describe bribery, favouritism, and other corruption acts witnessed by citizens in the delivery of humanitarian aid, the enforcement of restrictions on travel and movement, and in the provision of COVID-19 testing and treatment.
The International Federation for Human Rights has urged the French Development Agency to consider human rights in the first global convening of Public Development Banks (PDBs). It proposed that the summit should “contend with the challenges of increased investment from PDBs lacking robust standards for human rights, social and environmental protection, climate change, and anti-corruption, or where those standards exist, how to address failures to follow them in practice.
To receive our monthly newsletter directly in your inbox sign up here.