Our main objective is to increase transparency on the use of public funds, including official development assistance (ODA), for private sector investments through DFIs. This is vital for ensuring more accountable and effective use of scarce public resources, including assessing the development impact of and learnings from DFI investments. Additionally, such information can allow DFIs to demonstrate their added value and impact as well as to increase support for their use of public money.
We are engaging with relevant stakeholders, including DFIs, NGOs, civil society, the private sector, think tanks and governments to:
- Better understand the interplay between transparency and impactful investment
- Identify and highlight good and innovative practices
- Develop ambitious and actionable transparency recommendations for DFIs
- Identify potential public goods that could support increased transparency
- Advocate for the adoption of transparency recommendations
Approach and Methodology
In the first phase of the initiative, we are seeking a deeper understanding of priority issues for development and DFIs, including how the information and data underpinning these issues and practices can be more transparent. We are adopting a collaborative approach and we are taking on board progress already made by DFIs:
- We have started with a close examination of the growing body of literature that calls for greater DFI transparency and build on progress that has already been made, including during the consultation process held between DFIs and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2014 and more recently the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Tri Hita Karana Roadmap for Blended Finance working group.
- With guidance from a multi-stakeholder project advisory board, we have identified five priority issues that will form the basis for the project’s work:
- Basic Project Information
- Impact Management – Objective, Theories of Change and Impacts
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Accountability to Communities
- Value of Investment: Mobilisation and Structure of Deal
- Financial Intermediaries, Offshore Financial Centres and Beneficial Ownership
Each work stream will take approximately three to four months and will run consecutively.
- Using a consultative process, we will utilise working groups to delve into each priority issue. We will seek areas of consensus and disagreement, identify good and innovative practices, and look for alternatives to full transparency where necessary.
- We will then develop transparency recommendations for DFIs that are both ambitious and actionable, and which would allow DFIs to share more information, including the development impact of their investments. We acknowledge that DFIs have differing business models, and thus will examine a spectrum of practices among multilateral and bilateral DFIs with an aim to develop recommendations that are broadly applicable.
- Additionally, we will identify whether a public good/goods would be useful to increase access to DFI information and/or assessing progress towards greater transparency.
In the initiative’s second phase, we will use the evidence gathered during the consultative process to share our recommendations broadly. We will advocate with a range of stakeholders, including policy and decision makers, shareholders, DFI decision makers and civil society to garner support for greater transparency.
Why Publish What You Fund?
We are an independent NGO working globally to make aid and development efforts more transparent and effective. Over the past ten years we have established constructive and open relationships with a broad range of donors, including DFIs. We have both supported them in their efforts to increase aid transparency levels while concurrently holding them to account via the Aid Transparency Index process.
We want to apply our expertise in analysing, visualising and presenting aid data and financial flow information to the development finance context. We believe that our combination of practical experience, research and advocacy in the aid arena can transfer to the broader development space, helping to bring about wider transparency and more transformative change.
 Public good mechanism/tools could include a potential platform for semi-anonymised data, a set of indicators by which transparency can be measured and/or an index that would produce findings and rankings.
 For example: Oxfam’s Open books: How development finance institutions can be transparent in their financial intermediary lending, and why they should be; and Overseas Development Institute’s Blended finance in the poorest countries: the need for a better approach