News roundup – Digging into DFI transparency and rounding up 2021
Welcome to our final monthly round up of news from the aid and development transparency world for 2021. We wish you a happy holiday and a peaceful 2022.
Blog series: digging into DFI transparency
Last month, we launched our DFI Transparency Tool and Advancing DFI Transparency report – the result of two years of research across five work streams that have sought to understand the opportunities and barriers to increasing the transparency of development finance institution (DFI) operations. Over the next couple of months, we will be releasing a series of blogs that profile each of the components of the tool, digging into some key indicators and highlighting examples of both innovative practice and areas where transparency improvements are most urgently required. The first two blogs of the series are now available…
The demand for change: reflecting on two years of research into the transparency of development finance institutions
In this first blog, Paul James discusses our experience of researching DFI transparency over the last two years, looking at how the industry has changed for the better in recent years, the amount of work that still needs to be done and why we’re not alone in seeking improvements in transparency.
Core information: the building blocks of DFI transparency
In the second blog in our series, Paul James introduces the first of the components of our DFI Transparency Tool, core information. He expands on the theme of uneven progress in improving transparency, and reflects on why and how we initially focused our research on the basic information that provides the foundation for true transparency.
Vacancy: Research Assistant – DFI Transparency Initiative
Salary: £27,000 – 30,000 depending on experience
Fixed term contract (12 months), UK based/remote working
We have a vacancy for a Research Assistant to support our DFI Transparency Initiative and in particular our initial assessment of the transparency of development finance institutions. We are looking for a detail-oriented, numerate Research Assistant to assist with methodology development, support data collection and analysis, assist with stakeholder engagement, contribute to drafting reports, and support the launch of the report and other communications. The deadline for applications is 3rd January 2022.
Seeking country-based consultants- women’s economic empowerment- Uganda, Ethiopia and Pakistan
We are looking for individual consultants with research and advocacy experience based in Uganda, Ethiopia and Pakistan to support research and advocacy work for our Women’s Economic Empowerment project. Our study is mapping funding to women’s economic empowerment, women’s financial inclusion and women’s empowerment collectives, as well as assessing which donors have a gender integration approach. If you are an experienced researcher with expertise in women’s economic empowerment, a strong communicator with good stakeholder management skills please get in touch.
Catching up on 2021
You can catch up on all our newsletters of 2021 here. A few highlights include the launch of our reports tracking funding for gender equality in Guatemala, Kenya and Nepal, our recommendations for improving the transparency of gender financing and a set of video tutorials for anyone wishing to use aid and development data to understand gender equality financing. We also published a series of research papers investigating the transparency of DFIS, and launched the DFI Transparency Tool, made great progress on our examination of funding for women’s economic empowerment, and of course we initiated work on the 2022 Aid Transparency Index which will be published next summer. Meanwhile, our new three-year strategy maps out our direction for 2022 and beyond.
Here’s a selection of news stories we’ve been reading over the last few weeks:
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released its second report examining private philanthropy for development. It covers 205 organisations in 32 countries, and a total of US$ 42.5 billion between 2016 and 2019. Most of these funds were cross-border flows, with more than half coming from the United States (US$ 24 billion). Most philanthropic funding targeted upper middle-income countries and more than one third of funding was allocated to health and reproductive health. Most cross-border philanthropy was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (US$ 16.1 billion, or 38% of total philanthropic funding). Over the period 2016-19, private philanthropy was the equivalent of 7% of ODA from members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Among its recommendations, the report calls for foundations to share data on philanthropic giving to better identify funding gaps, avoid duplication, explore synergies with other funders and inform the broader public. It also recommends that governments should encourage greater transparency by establishing annual reporting requirements and strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices in monitoring development finance.
Oxfam International has partnered with Profundo, the International Accountability Project and the Early Warning System to bring greater transparency to the financial intermediary investments of DFIs. They have worked to make information on high-risk sub-clients and sub-projects of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch development bank FMO’s financial intermediary investments accessible within a public database. The new information on the high-risk sub-projects of 318 financial intermediary investments made by IFC and FMO impact people and the environment in at least 76 countries. The data includes financial intermediary investments from 2017 through 2020. In addition to illustrating the ownership structures of these sub-clients, where this information is available, the Early Warning System database also connects each private actor to other investments made by development banks in the same company.
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has published a blog summarising progress from its Data Use Working Group. The blog reviews work to understand barriers to data use, improve access, strengthen data capacity and document real use cases in 2021, as well as providing recommendations for priorities in 2022.
A new study from three UK universities (City, University of London, University of East Anglia and University of Edinburgh) has found that media coverage of crises can increase governments’ allocation of emergency humanitarian aid—whether or not the crisis merits it. The study said that this was because intense, national news coverage triggers other accountability institutions (the public, civil society, elected officials) who put pressure on governments to announce additional funding. The researchers found that a lack of news coverage could also influence policy-making about annual aid allocations. This was because policymakers assumed that other governments were much more influenced by news than they were and tried to compensate for what they assumed would be less funding for these ‘forgotten crises’.