The transparency dilemma for Guatemalan community-based organisations working on gender equality
Gabriela Muñoz, consultant for our Gender Financing Project, shares her experiences, and those raised in her research for the project, on the risks and opportunities transparency brings for Guatemalan community-based organisations that promote gender equality. She considers how balancing transparency and safety can hinder progress towards SDG5 and asks how transparency legislation and guidelines can take into account the possibility of abuse of public information and bring us closer to achieving our gender equality commitments? This is the second in our gender data diary series, and is also available in Spanish.
Help us improve how we measure aid transparency
As part of our review of the Aid Transparency Index method, we are keen to hear the views of people using aid data, particularly stakeholders in the global south. Please help us by taking a few minutes to complete our data use survey, and share with your networks, using one of the following links:
Please give us your views by 14th December 2020.
The Finance in Common summit – are we all in it together?
In mid-November, the Finance in Common summit brought together 450 public development banks in support of common action for climate and the Sustainable Development Goals. In the run up to the summit, our CEO Gary Forster reflected on what we’ve learned so far from our DFI Transparency Initiative and its implications for public development banks and their many stakeholders. He called for any public commitments made by the banks to be backed up by evidence of the investments that are being made, the impact these are making, and the efforts being taken to consult with and be accountable to affected communities.
Following the summit, the public development banks issued a joint declaration on their commitment to sustainable and resilient development, to achieving the SDGs and objectives of the Paris agreement. However, we currently lack the transparency and accountability to assess the outcomes of such commitments.
Here’s a selection of news stories we’ve been reading over the last month.
Development Initiatives (DI) has produced a new report on how aid is changing in the COVID-19 era, using International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data to assess near real-time trends in the first half of 2020. Key findings include:
- Aid commitments from bilateral government donors are falling.
- Official Development Assistance (ODA) from international financial institutions (IFIs) is rising, which is increasing the proportion of aid delivered as loans.
- Neither bilateral donors nor IFIs are increasing the share of aid to low-income countries (LICs).
- IFIs are committing more to social sectors including health, education and social protection, while bilateral donors are increasing commitments to health at the expense of many other areas.
A companion paper from DI explores changes to poverty. It finds that the poorest countries’ economies are declining due to COVID, that they will see increases in extreme poverty, and that they do not have the financial resources to recover. DI will also be hosting a webinar on 30th November to discuss their findings and the methodology behind the analysis.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has released the 2020 Principled Aid Index, which ranks 29 bilateral DAC donors by how they use official development assistance to pursue their long-term national interest. The index shows worsening scores for major donors, driven by diminished public spiritedness and direct short-term commercial and geo-strategic interests. Analysis showed a widespread trend of donors becoming less principled, even among the top ranking donors; the top 5 scorers in the index were Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, and Luxembourg.
CONCORD has launched its 2020 AidWatch report, which monitors the quantity and quality of EU ODA. It states that the EU is falling behind on its commitment to allocate 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to ODA by 2030. In 2019, despite an absolute rise of €3 billion, ODA fell for the third consecutive year in proportion to the EU’s GNI, and the report concludes the EU was off-track in its support to partner countries even before the global pandemic. It states that at the current rate of growth, the EU will not meet the aid target before 2070.
IATI is holding a virtual launch of its Communities of Practice and new user-friendly community platform, IATI Connect on 30th November. It will provide a space for peer exchange, discussion and learning on diverse topics for data users, technicians and policymakers.
BudgIT Nigeria and Connected Development have launched a Pan-African Tracking System for all COVID19 intervention funds received & donated across seven African countries – including Nigeria, Cameron & Zimbabwe – to ensure proper management of COVID19 funds.
The UK government has announced it is suspending its commitment to allocate 0.7% of GNI for international aid, reducing it to 0.5% of GNI in 2021. This cut of over £4 billion in 2021 comes in addition to cuts of £2.9 billion already being made to the UK aid budget in 2020 as the economy shrinks. The move has been met with criticism from UK aid groups. Bond said that the reduced spending will have a devastating effect on millions of people already being pushed into poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic. Development Initiatives pointed out that the cut equates to more than the aid the UK allocated to education, health and humanitarian response in 2018, and called for complete transparency and open consultation by the government on where these cuts can be made to ensure programmes which directly support some of the world’s poorest people are not casualties of the cut.
Recent analysis suggests that the biggest cuts could fall on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office rather than other aid-spending departments. Publish What You Fund’s recent research into the transparency of UK aid provides greater insights into the transparency of these departments.
This Maverick Citizen article looks at the role civil society has played in monitoring and exposing corruption related to COVID-19 in Southern Africa in the hope of igniting processes of accountability.
This Devex article reports on the concerns of some climate finance experts that governments’ efforts to boost international funding for climate change may not be new resources, but is likely to have been redirected from development assistance budgets and relabelled as climate finance. In addition, the article says that due to a lag in reporting, it will take another two years to know whether high-income countries have met their commitment to provide $100 billion of climate finance to lower-income countries per year by 2020.
The Global Evaluation Initiative is a new partnership formed to tackle the global evaluation capacity gap. Its mission is to help create a world where evidence is used to increase transparency and make better decisions to improve lives.
The African Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA) has published findings from its mapping of 820 social investors operating in sub-Saharan Africa. The report identifies donors, development finance institutions and sustainability-aligned fund managers as the biggest players across east, west and southern Africa., with corporates and corporate foundations playing an increasing role. But the report finds that capital is not matching demand and it is heavily skewed to three countries.
New research commissioned by WaterAid and conducted by the ODI has found that 19 of the top 20 climate funding recipients for water programs between 2000 and 2018 were middle-income countries. Many of the world’s lower-income countries, particularly small island developing states, are considered the most vulnerable to climate change. WaterAid has called for a shift in focus to prioritise the most vulnerable.
A blog from the Center for Global Development (CGD) sets out four priorities for the recent OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) high-level meeting. As well as increasing aid and finance flows, and increasing focus on climate change adaptation and leaving no one behind, CGD calls for changes to the way ODA is measured – and the involvement of recipient countries in this process.
A new UNCTAD report emphasises the need for development funding and trade transparency, to “stop COVID dividing the world”. The report calls for a “Marshall Plan” of international development spending to help poorer countries recover, and states that developing countries need debt relief, as well as direct liquidity support to give them budgetary spending power in the short term and a framework for sovereign debt restructuring in the long term.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has backtracked on a controversial decision that would have seen the allocation of 304.7 million Australian dollars for COVID-19 assistance to the Pacific and East Timor as funding that was not official development assistance. According to this Devex article, the move, and the publication of additional information on COVID-19 development response plans, has been welcomed as positive for aid transparency.
To sign up for our monthly newsletter please click here.