Welcome to the latest monthly roundup of news from the world of aid and development transparency. This month we look at the transparency of the World Bank reforms, present wide-ranging examples of disclosure by development finance institutions, and start by diving in to the ‘IATI data well’…
The IATI data well
What aid and development data is available and where can it be found? In this post Elma Jenkins, Publish What You Fund, and Rolf Kleef, consultant data sharing and online collaboration, introduce three user-friendly tools that can be used to access International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data – D-portal, the Datastore and Country Development Finance Data – and describe their key features. This is the first in a blog series examining IATI data access tools.
DFI disclosure – new resource shows what is possible
Over the course of our work to help development finance institutions (DFIs) improve their transparency practices, we have heard arguments that certain forms of disclosure are not possible. We’ve also frequently been asked to share instances of disclosure by other DFIs. To help address perceived barriers and to guide improved disclosure, our team has compiled the Disclosure Example Book. It is intended to show what is possible in terms of DFI disclosure and we hope it will be a useful resource for anyone working to strengthen DFI transparency. In this blog, Paul James discusses how the book can help bilateral and multilateral DFIs see what their peers are doing and improve their own disclosure practices.
Transparent, impactful and accountable – reform of the World Bank Group’s approach to disclosure
On 13 April, we hosted a discussion at the Civil Society Policy Forum at the World Bank Group’s 2023 Spring Meetings in Washington. The event focused on reform of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the need for transparency of the design, implementation, and impact of projects. We argue that increases in quantity of funding from the WBG must be matched with increases in quality of funding. we were delighted to be joined by:
- Teresa Nyankonyu Mutua, Communities Director, Accountability Counsel
- Andri Prasetiyo, Program Manager, Trend Asia
- Brenna Lundstrom Clerkin, Public Affairs, IFC
- Vijay Pillai, Lead Operations Officer, Operations Policy and Country Services, World Bank
We have also produced a proposal to reform the transparency of the World Bank IDA and IFC. The paper outlines three reforms to transparency that should accompany any future reform package at the WBG. Improving transparency in the proposed areas is fundamental to monitoring and measuring the success of the WBG and the reforms specifically, to deliver impact, mobilise private capital, and ensure adequate transparency and accountability to communities.
Here’s a quick roundup of other news and publications we’ve been reading over the last few weeks:
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released preliminary data on official development assistance (ODA) levels in 2022. The data shows that in 2022, ODA by Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members amounted to US$ 204.0 billion. This included US$ 201.4 billion in the form of grants, loans to sovereign entities, debt relief and contributions to multilateral institutions (calculated on a grant-equivalent basis); US$ 0.8 billion to development-oriented private sector instrument (PSI) vehicles and US$ 1.7 billion in the form of net loans and equities to private companies operating in ODA-eligible countries (calculated on a cash flow basis). Total ODA in 2022 rose by 13.6% in real terms compared to 2021, and ODA as per cent of GNI rose to 0.36% from 0.33% in 2021. The increase was primarily due to in-donor refugee costs which amounted to US$ 29.3 billion in 2022 and represented 14.4% of ODA.
Meanwhile, a group of 48 CSOs have criticised the announcement – saying that ODA levels remain insufficient to tackle today’s crises and that the data includes spending that should not be counted as ODA.
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is inviting all those who accessed or used IATI data in 2022 to complete a brief survey by 1 May 2023. It is seeking input on the quality and usefulness of IATI’s data and tools to inform its strategic plan and to ensure it can effectively track progress.
In an opinion piece for Devex, Philippe Le Houérou, chairman of the board of the Agence Française de Développement, discusses the ‘opaque climate fund landscape’. He says there are at least 81 active climate funds, and it is unclear how much they commit and disburse, to whom, for what purpose, and with what impact. He argues that, rather than creating new funds, the development community should rationalise and redefine the current system. “Before adding to an already fragmented system, it is urgent to improve transparency, harmonize the reporting and impact measurement standards, and drastically consolidate the existing climate funds landscape.”
Claire Provost and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, the Founding Partners of The Institute for Journalism and Social Change, have investigated the funding received by anti-LGBTQI religious groups in Uganda from major aid donors. Using IATI data, they found large-scale funding, some of it ongoing, from donors which are part of the global Equal Rights Coalition, and have pledged to protect and promote LGBT rights around the world. The report highlights over US$75 million of funds that connect international donors with anti-LGBTQI religious groups since 2014, US$40 million of which was transferred directly.
This article from Toby McIntosh examines the calls to open up the Global Emerging Markets Risk (GEMS) Database. It is argued that unlocking the “treasure chest” of financial data – comprehensive credit risk information – will help the private sector and rating agencies analyse investment risk and increase investment in developing and emerging economies. More transparency appears to be under active consideration by the development banks that created and control the database.
In this Hill opinion piece Anjali Garg and Kristen Sample Consider how to avoid recurring debt crises. They argue that we need greater transparency from borrowers as well as creditors to strengthen accountability and improve debt decision making.
This Devex article explores whether blockchain and cryptocurrency could bring greater transparency and accountability to humanitarian aid transactions, or if the risks are too great.
This Article 19 post calls on the Turkish authorities to respect the right to access to information, transparency and accountability in its reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts following the February earthquakes.
Bond has examined the latest data released by the UK on ODA spending in 2022 and bilateral allocations for the year ahead. Again, it shows an increase in ODA spent in the UK on in-donor refugee costs, and a drop in the proportion of ODA spent by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to 59.8%. The amount spent by the FCDO also dropped between 2021 and 2022 by £539 million.