Welcome to the latest monthly roundup of news from the world of aid and development transparency.
The three changes we need to improve understanding of private capital mobilisation
The recent second volume report of the G20 Independent Expert Group (IEG) offers a blueprint for how multilateral development banks (MDBs) can be scaled effectively to increase lending to emerging and developing economies. Central to this is the need for MDBs to more effectively catalyse and mobilise private finance in pursuit of development goals.
In a new blog, Paul James looks into the mobilisation of private finance targets in the IEG report and outlines three changes that are needed if we are to better understand mobilisation and ultimately drive changes that will result in its growth. He argues we need a workable definition and estimate of catalysed private capital, reforms to the way mobilisation are conceived and measured, and improvements to the transparency of mobilisation data. He also outlines how Publish What You Fund is working to address these needs and bring greater transparency to mobilisation.
How could the DFC improve on its transparency and disclosure?
The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) recently consulted on its draft transparency policy. We welcomed this opportunity to provide feedback. In our comments we urged a recommitment to transparency, proactive disclosure of complete and timely project level data, and a focus on useability of data. Read our full response here.
Join us at the IATI Virtual Community Exchange 5
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is holding its fifth Virtual Community Exchange (VCE 5) online on 16 November 2023, featuring informal and interactive sessions on IATI and transparency related issues. Publish What You Fund will be hosting a session on gaps in the IATI data set: where should we focus our efforts? We hope you will be able to join this discussion. See The full agenda for more details, and register here.
Here’s a quick roundup of other news and publications we’ve been reading over the last few weeks:
CONCORD has published AidWatch 2023, which uses a revised methodology to scrutinise the European Union (EU) and its Member States’ Official Development Assistance (ODA) efforts. Despite ODA figures being at record highs, the report states that almost EUR20bn – more than 1 euro in every five – is ‘inflated aid’ meaning it does not meet the criteria to qualify as ODA and does not reach intended communities. The report is critical of how spending on in-donor refugee and imputed student costs, ODA loans and debt relief are counted within the DAC rules for reported ODA but are actually diverting aid from its intended purpose.
The Lowy Institute has launched the Pacific Aid Map 2023, which tracks Official Development Finance (ODF) to 14 Pacific Island states. It includes data on more than 30,000 projects carried out by 82 development partners. It finds that the Pacific Islands received more than US$40bn in ODF between 2008 and 2021, with development assistance playing a larger role in the Pacific than any other part of the world. Despite record ODF in 2021 of US$4.8bn, grant financing has been relatively stagnant while there is a rising reliance on loans. Australia is the largest donor in the Pacific, at about 40% of total ODF, followed at a distance by the Asian Development Bank, China, New Zealand, and Japan.
The Climate Policy Initiative has released the Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2023. It finds that average annual climate finance flows reached almost US$1.3tn in 2021/22, nearly doubling compared to 2019/20 levels. This increase was primarily driven by a significant acceleration in mitigation finance (up by US$439bn from 2019/20). The remainder of the growth observed stems from methodological improvements and new data sources. However, current flows represent about only 1% of global GDP and expected needs for climate finance to 2030 increase from US$8 to US$9.1tn.
AidData has used AI to code 2.7 million projects to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to overcome the barriers of inconsistent data and a mismatch in codes used over time by donors, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the SDGs. The results have been published in a new policy paper, and the data set and methodology will be released soon. The research found that the goals of health, governance, and economic growth attracted the most financing, while inequality and environmental agendas were consistently under-resourced. Another finding was that donors are increasingly focused on middle-income countries and are spending less on low-income countries.
ODI has published its third report assessing high-income countries’ progress towards paying their ‘fair share’ of the US$100bn climate finance target. This year the same approach has also been applied to adaptation finance. It finds only eight countries contributed their fair share of the US$100bn goal in 2021 and the vast majority of the climate finance gap is due to the US not paying its fair share. It argues that the US should be providing and mobilising an additional US$34bn of climate finance and US$13bn of adaptation finance each year. Australia, Spain, Canada and the UK stand out for their relatively poor performance on climate finance. Italy joins the list for the worst performers on adaptation finance.
Development Initiatives has released a new interactive tool which can be used to explore how much ODA is spent on Climate finance. It is possible to see how much ODA is spent towards climate mitigation and adaptation relative to a country’s level of climate vulnerability and whether countries are also experiencing a protracted humanitarian crisis. The tool helps users to understand which countries are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change yet are receiving too little funding.
A new report from the Clean Air Fund has found that more international development funding has been spent on clean air projects than fossil fuel for the first time. International development funding for fossil fuels peaked at US$11.9bn in 2019 and has fallen fast but remained at US$1.5bn in 2021. The amount spent on tackling outdoor air pollution has risen to US$2.3bn. However, spending targeted at clean air made up just 1% of international development funding and 2% of international public climate finance between 2015 and 2021. The research used OECD data as well as other sources to track funding from governments, bilateral donors and multilateral development banks.
The Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI) has released a briefing which takes a deep dive into OECD funding data for the government and civil society sector, covering the overall funding landscape, types of funding that saw the most change, key development partners, shifts in sub-sectors, and the types of organisations that received this funding. It reports a big drop in funding from over US$34bn in 2020 to over US$26bn in 2021.
Carbon Brief has published a report showing that since 2010 £2.1bn, approximately 10% of UK climate ODA, has been spent through private consultants such as KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Adam Smith International. This finding is based on an analysis of over 25,000 transactions on the UK government’s Development Tracker website.
Eye on Global Transparency reports that the OECD is planning to create a detailed methodology for assessing the implementation of national access to information (ATI) laws. The “ATI Maturity Model” will help governments conduct self-assessments of their ATI regimes and how well they work.
The Centre for Humanitarian Data asked the Data Nutrition Project to research and prototype possible quality measures for humanitarian datasets that are hosted on the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform. In this blog, they provide recommendations for creating useful and scalable data quality measures.
A research project from ODI and Development Initiatives has been looking into the rationale for and the amount and quality of funding going to refugee-led organisations (RLOs). It has found that RLOs are chronically underfunded: just US$26.4m of humanitarian and development funding reached RLOs in 2022. Average grant sizes to RLOs are 10 times smaller than those reported to local/national NGOs. Most funding to RLOs passes through at least one intermediary, and very few of the main humanitarian agencies and donors track or transparently report the funding they provide to RLOs.
This blog reflects on the first year of the Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard, which enables humanitarian and development agencies along with governments to quickly get an overview of the food and nutrition insecurity situation worldwide. Produced by the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), co-convened by the World Bank and the German G7 Presidency, the dashboard offers a comprehensive and transparent understanding of food and nutrition data from a wide range of global, national, and sub-national sources, including IATI. The dashboard enables users to track up-to-date information on a set of about 25 key food and nutrition security indicators, and access information on food security financing.
The Busan Global Partnership Forum will take place on 5-6 December in the Republic of Korea. The forum will cover a range of themes, including global and emerging effectiveness challenges; accountability in locally led development; private sector engagement; and strengthening South-South cooperation. It marks the 12th anniversary of the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which established the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation to promote the implementation and monitoring of the Principles of Effective Development Co-operation: country ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and mutual accountability.
An international group of experts on the measurement of aid and other resource flows to emerging and developing economies met in Belgium on 24 and 25 October 2023. Concerned at developments in this field over recent years, they issued the Brussels declaration on measuring official development assistance. Hosted on the ODA Reform website, the declaration raises concerns over recent rule changes by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) particularly regarding private sector instruments, which it says represents a radical departure from the original concept of ODA, and the principle of recording concessional flows. It calls for fundamental reform of the rule-making process.
The International Budget Partnership has released a how-to guide to help people track budget credibility trends across sectors in their own country and relate them to the SDGs.
This Devex article by Robert Mosbacher and Luis Alberto Moreno sets out clear, practical steps that multilateral development banks and development finance institutions need to take to attract private capital at scale.
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