News roundup – we need greater transparency to track progress on gender equality
Welcome to our monthly roundup of news and events from the aid and development transparency world. To receive our updates directly via email please sign up to our newsletter here.
We need greater transparency to track progress on gender equality
A lack of clear and consistent information on the funding and effectiveness of gender equality work makes it difficult to track progress on gender equality commitments in Kenya, Guatemala and Nepal. the Gender Financing Project has just published research mapping national and international funding flows in the three countries. Despite important efforts by national governments and international donors to make their gender financing transparent, we found it remains difficult to paint a comprehensive picture of funding for gender equality, and to know if donors’ gender financing is making a difference. Read the blog here.
Our Guatemala report can also be accessed in Spanish, and our Nepal report is available in Nepali.
We will be discussing the findings and recommendations of our research during three webinars. A panel – with representatives from government, donor and civil society organisations will consider the significance of gender equality funding and the next steps for transparency. Please register using the links below:
Guatemala: Wednesday 14th April
Reminder: send us your feedback on our Index method proposals
Last year we initiated a methodology review process for our Aid Transparency Index, with the aim of updating the assessment approach to ensure we adapt to new developments and continue to raise the bar for aid transparency. Following research, online surveys and consultation meetings, we have developed a proposal for changes to the approach. We would appreciate any comments on our proposals –the closing date for feedback is 6th April.
Data diary: Linet Juma on how we can build more sustainable gender data systems in Kenya
In the fourth data diary in our gender financing series, Linet Juma shares her experiences, and insights gained from her research, on overcoming the barriers to better gender data in Kenya and the need for more sustainable gender data systems.
“A fundamental gap in the current gender data landscape in Kenya is the lack of access to mainstream gender data sources, particularly by grassroots organizations and women’s rights organizations, which drive the implementation of gender equality initiatives.”
Here’s a selection of news stories we’ve been reading over the last few weeks:
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has released a new tool that responds to the development data needs of partner countries. The Country Development Finance Data tool provides a simple Excel-formatted set of IATI data on projections and spending by country.
The Center for Global Development has released a policy paper examining the effectiveness of aid-financed climate investments, which account for around a quarter of global aid. The analysis of impact data for climate mitigation projects reported from two of the largest (and most transparent) climate finance multilaterals found that impacts are unclear and uneven. It suggests improvements to ensure mitigation funding has the intended impact, including a call for other funders to report on the expected and actual climate impacts of their projects.
In its latest gender equality insights piece, Donor Tracker has assessed how donor countries are approaching and, in many cases, falling short on efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in their global development programmes. It draws on the latest OECD data to track donor funding for SRHR) and finds that after a peak in 2017, Official Development Assistance (ODA) to SRHR appears to have declined to US$7.9 billion in 2019, driven by funding reductions from top donor United States, though new US data may change the picture in the months to come. You can catch up on a recent webinar held by Donor Tracker, with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which discussed their findings.
Development Initiatives has published a blog looking at whether blended finance is a good use of ODA and if it is delivering impact for the poorest people. The blog states that much better data and transparency are needed to understand the impact and challenges of blended finance – particularly disaggregated multilateral investment data. It concludes that until the evidence gap on impact is addressed, it is impossible to know if we are making best (or even good) use of limited ODA resources.
Bond has produced a useful summary of recent developments in the UK aid budget, and what we know about current and future cuts. Meanwhile, Open Democracy reports that the cuts will fall particularly harshly on anti-corruption and human rights work – which could face cuts of 80%. Devex reports that the UK Government is blocking some development organisations from talking publicly or with other organisations about the impact of the aid budget cuts on their programmes.
Sticking with the UK, the Open Government Partnership has censured the country for failing to live to its pledge to improve transparency and accountability and has put the UK “under review”, heightening concerns about the government’s commitment to openness. The Independent Reporting Mechanism’s latest report found that the UK Government fell short of maintaining a constant dialogue with civil society organisations during the development of the latest action plan which, compared to the previous action plans, contains less ambitious commitments for opening government. The report recommends that the UK should ensure effective public oversight over contracts and public procurement related to COVID-19 response and recovery.
CARE has launched a report and dashboard which assesses top donor countries, UN agencies, the humanitarian system, and CARE’s own record on resourcing women’s rights organisations, funding gender equality and women’s and girls’ programming, and elevating local women’s leadership in crises. It concludes that the aid system shortchanges women and girls in crisis. It finds that wwomen’s organisations as well as programmes focused on women and girls in humanitarian crisis responses remain severely underfunded, and there is a lack of data on how many of the UN’s implementing partners are women’s rights organisations or women-led organisations.
A World Bank policy research paper has investigated the potential benefits for a country from investing in data transparency. The paper shows that increased data transparency can bring substantive returns in lower costs of external borrowing.