France provided USD$ 11.4 billion in Overseas Development Assistance, the largest increase among OECD DAC donors. In 2011, France committed to make its development aid finances and project information open and accessible to all by December 2015. This commitment was made as part of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. Disappointingly, this was not achieved.
France renewed its commitment to aid transparency by becoming an IATI member in 2016. France also developed a new OGP National Action Plan for 2018-2020 that includes a commitment to aid transparency.
Both French government agencies that disburse development aid ranked in the ‘fair’ category in the 2018 Aid Transparency Index. Alongside Busan, France has a number of national, regional and international commitments to aid transparency including:
- 2017 European Consensus for Development
In June 2017, the European Council launched a new Consensus for Developmentthat includes commitments to transparency “which should progressively cover all development resources.” France signed up to this consensus as an EU member.
- 2016 International Aid Transparency Initiative
In December 2016, at the Open Government Partnership summit in Paris, the French Development Agency – AFD announced that they would join IATI. This announcement was a significant step forward for AFD and France with regards to their transparency commitments.
- 2015 International Open Data Charter
France endorsed the Open Data Charterin 2015. It has been developed and endorsed by governments, multilateral organisations, civil society and the private sector.
- 2014 Open Government Partnership
France is co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).Their OGP action plan commits France to improving transparency across the whole of government.
- 2014 Orientation and Programming law (LOP)
France included aid transparency as part of its 2014 LOP on Development and International Solidarity.
- 2013 G7 Commitment
Through the Lough Erne Communique, G7 member states committed to an Open Data Charter, which includes making government data open by default. They also recognised the importance of open aid data for accountability and renewed the commitment made in 2011 to implement the Busan Common Standard on Aid Transparency.
- 2011 EU Transparency Guarantee
In November 2011, the European Union’s (EU) Foreign Affairs Council adopted a common position for Busan, incorporating an EU Transparency Guarantee. EU Institutions and member states agreed to publicly disclose all aid information in a common, standard format so that it can be accessed, shared and published.
France-AFD is a public agency and a development bank, which manages the majority of French bilateral assistance. In 2018, they remained in the ‘fair’ category. Publish What You Fund welcomes AFD’s commitment to transparency and now calls on them to:
- Update to a newer version of the Standard so as to take full advantage of the benefits it offers.
- Improve the comprehensiveness of its publication by providing information on more indicators.
- Focus on regularly updating information captured in the organisational planning component.
- Improve the publication of financial and budgetary data to include disaggregated budgets and project budgets.
- Make further progress on the publication of performance related information, including on results and reviews and evaluations.
- Demonstrate the impact of transparency on development work, by taking responsibility to promote the use of the data they publish: internally, to promote coordination and effectiveness; and externally, to explore online and in-person feedback loops, including at country-level.
France – MEAE is responsible for setting development cooperation policy. It manages France’s Solidarity Funds – projects relating to humanitarian and food aid – and funds dedicated to democratic governance. France-MEAE is now ranked in the ‘fair’ category, one place behind France-AFD.
We call on France-MEAE to:
- Improve the comprehensiveness of its data, starting by making improvements to the publication of budgetary and financial information as well as performance-related information.
- Include at least project budget information as well as results and consistent publication of reviews and evaluations.
- Continue to provide information on its development activities on France’s open data portal and include all of its portfolio.
Demonstrate the impact of transparency on development work, by taking responsibility to promote the use of the data they publish: internally, to promote coordination and effectiveness; and externally, to explore online and in-person feedback loops, including at country-level.