Transparency can help a diverse range of stakeholders improve the effectiveness and efficiency of aid and development finance. As we enter the second decade of the aid transparency movement, there are a variety of examples where the availability and accessibility of up-to-date and comprehensive aid data is leading to better aid. Having a more complete data set, and more tools to access the data, is enabling more people to use the data to inform evidenced-based policy and funding decisions. We have tracked examples of data use to demonstrate how it can be used to:
- Improve alignment with country governments’ plans
- Support a more capable and effective civil society
- Enable faster and deeper research and learning
- Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of aid agencies
- Facilitate media scrutiny
A range of examples are given below:
The Institute for Journalism and Social Change used OECD-CRS data to examine the decline in humanitarian and development aid for Palestine between 2013-2022. It also used IATI data to identify aid-funded health and education facilities recently damaged in Gaza.
The Lowy Institute has tracked Official Development Finance (ODF) to 14 Pacific Island states to create the Pacific Aid Map, with the aim of promoting transparency. It used IATI and OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS) data as well as information from annual reports, financial statements, budget documents, news media reporting, and social media sources to identify more than 30,000 projects carried out by 82 development partners.
Research led by Cambridge University is using IATI and open contract datasets to Map and analyse financial flows and contracts as part of work to explore the role of private sector consultants and contractors in the UK’s international development sector.
Devex has used IATI data to track how the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships spent its aid money in 2022.
Publish What You Fund, with the support of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and its members, undertook detailed research to measure US Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) local funding. We analysed and filtered IATI data, to establish an independent, credible, and replicable baseline to track USAID’s progress in meeting its commitment to direct 25% of its funding to local actors.
Oxfam America used IATI data to replicate the Publish What You Fund approach to track USAID’s local funding in an additional eight countries. Oxfam America used the findings to challenge USAID’s self-reported progress on its localisation goals.
Development Initiatives uses IATI and OECD CRS data among many data sources for its annual Global Humanitarian Assistance report, which assesses international financing response to crisis.
The Trust, Accountability, and Inclusion Collaborative (TAI) has produced a governance funding dashboard, using OECD data from 2019 – 2021 to share funding trends for transparency, participation, and accountability and good governance issues across the globe.
The Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) has used OECD CRS data as well as many other datasets and surveys to produce the Global Landscape of Climate Finance report, which tracks annual climate finance flows.
Claire Provost and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, the Founding Partners of The Institute for Journalism and Social Change, used IATI data to investigate the funding received by anti-LGBTQI religious groups in Uganda from major aid donors.
CONCORD used OECD CRS data and information from national platforms to compile AidWatch 2023. It scrutinises the European Union and its Member States’ ODA efforts to determine if it meets the criteria to qualify as ODA, and makes recommendations for European policymakers.
The Clean Air Fund used OECD data as well as other sources to track international development funding for clean air projects versus fossil fuel from governments, bilateral donors and multilateral development banks.
Harm Reduction International used project-level data from the OECD CRS to identify ODA spent on “narcotics control” projects between 2012-2021. It used the evidence to advocate for governments and donors to divest from ‘punitive and prohibitionist’ drug control regimes.
Carbon Brief has analysed over 25,000 transactions on the UK government’s Development Tracker website to report on the proportion of UK climate ODA spent through private consultants.
Devex used OECD and IATI data to report on where the Low Countries (composed of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) spend their development aid – including their sectoral and geographical priorities, key trends and agencies.
The Land Portal has been incorporating IATI data into its global database of land and property rights projects to help track project funding and find synergies.
Cordaid, a global health NGO, published an interactive tool to track Dutch global health financing and policymaking based on data published to IATI. The tool allows users to track and compare Dutch global health funding between 2018 and 2023.
Publish What You Fund analysed the transparency of two major private aid contractors. The investigations used IATI data published by UK contractor Adam Smith International to illustrate how it spends aid money from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
In 2022, Liberia’s Deputy Minister for Finance and Development Planning, Augustus Flomo, spoke about why and how his government uses aid and development data through the Liberian Project Dashboard and the importance of aligning international aid flows with national priorities. He explained how aid transparency is helping decision-making in Liberia.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been using IATI data since 2020 as part of its research for the annual Financing Global Health Report. It tracks development assistance along with other forms of current and future funding on health to inform policymakers.
Save the Children used IATI data to track aid to nutrition and hold global donors accountable for their commitments.
The Follow the Money campaign uses IATI data and donor portals to monitor the implementation of aid programmes in Africa. Over 7000 activists and development workers help to track 25,000 government and international aid projects on a quarterly basis.
The Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard launched as a one-stop-shop for accessing up to date information on food crises as well as financing and responses mobilized across national, regional, and international partners. Produced by the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), co-convened by the World Bank and the German G7 Presidency, the dashboard is an early warning system for food crises and compiles data on food supplies in countries across the globe to identify potential emergencies and help coordinate responses. It uses IATI data to identify where food aid is currently being channelled, to support analysis and action.
Development Initiatives analysed emerging data on humanitarian and aid funding in 2022 (from IATI and donor announcements), to understand the funding directed to Ukraine in comparison to funding for other crises over the same period.
Georgetown University, Washington, used IATI data to examine the extent to which international funding supported mental health during COVID-19.
Publish What You Fund worked over two years in collaboration with 55 global partners, advisors, researchers and advocates to develop a new approach to tracking funding for women’s economic empowerment that was holistic and illustrated its numerous and intersecting dimensions. The innovative approach merged IATI and OECD CRS data and was piloted in six countries. We produced a range of briefs to share the resulting evidence and implications.
In 2022, Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance spoke about how their Efforts to become fully transparent and to ensure that their information is useful and of good quality, has helped make their processes and systems stronger, and their internal management information better.
A CNN investigation used IATI data to identify donors who have pledged to support LGBTQI+ rights and have also funded churches in Ghana that support an anti-LGBTQI+ bill.
Research by Development Initiatives and CARE used IATI and OECD CRS data to identify volumes of UK ODA spent on gender equality and how it has changed over the last ten years, comparing this to the UK’s commitments to women and girls.
The IATI Secretariat used IATI data to present a global overview of the budget and spending data on mine action, to help stakeholders fill data gaps and coordinate resources towards life-saving activities to mitigate the threat of explosive hazards at country-level.
Publish What You Fund used data from IATI, OECD CRS and ODI Climate Funds Update to track international climate finance to Kenya and assess how this aligns with the identified climate adaptation needs, and to identify gaps and duplication of effort.
The Livestock Project Portal aims to give funders, project implementers and national governments access to key information on livestock projects: where they are, what they are about, and what data they possess. It uses IATI data to share information on livestock investments and its goal is to support improved coordination and efficiency in livestock investments and interventions.
The Development Policy Centre audits the transparency of the Australian government’s aid programme every three years, using data provided on the government’s development website.
A study published in The Lancet used OECD DAC and CRS data, IATI and the UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service, among many other sources, to track development assistance for health and for the COVID-19 pandemic for 204 countries 1990–2050. The study was conducted by the Global Burden of Disease 2020 Health Financing Collaborator Network
In 2021, government officials from Chad, Madagascar and Lesotho highlighted their efforts to use IATI data to understand aid flows and align them with their national resources.
The Center for Global Development assessed the poverty focus of the UK’s bilateral ODA over the previous ten years, comparing it to other major donors. It used data from OECD CRS and FCDO annual reports.
Donor Tracker used OECD CRS data to produce a range of insights tracking ODA spending to support evidence-based advocacy. Topics covered included sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change adaptation.
The Rainforest Foundation Norway used IATI data as part of its work to track how much development aid for climate mitigation goes to Indigenous Peoples and local communities for tenure and forest management.
Bond published its policy analysis of UK aid spending and aid cuts for 2020 based on UK Statistics on International Development.
ActionAid shared their learning from using IATI data to analyse funding flows to Bangladesh during COVID-19.
Development Initiatives examined global aid trends before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at shifts in donors, sectors and targeting, using 2019 OECD CRS data and more up-to-date 2020 IATI data.
An anti-corruption study from the University of Sussex, the Central European University, Hungary, and University of Waikato, New Zealand, analysed a data set relating to all major contract awards of World Bank-financed projects over 1998-2013 to examine the role of reforming public procurement in stemming corruption in development aid.
In 2021, Publish What You Fund completed research on the publication of gender-related financial and programmatic data. Using IATI and OECD-DAC data among many other sources, we tracked gender financing in Guatemala, Kenya and Nepal to determine how much is being spent on gender, on what projects and in which sectors, and what results gender equality projects are achieving.
Save the Children examined how UK aid cuts would impact different sectors, based on IATI data and written statements from the UK’s Foreign Secretary.
Eurodad used OECD CRS data to research how much ODA is considered to be tied aid, and to advocate for changes in policy.
In 2020, Henry Asor Nkang of the Nigerian Government spoke about how aid and development data is used in Nigeria, how he uses the data to engage with government and development partners and the importance of aligning foreign assistance with national development priorities. He also discussed his use of IATI data to engage with donors in Nigeria and hold them to account.
Ary Tahir of the Public Aid Organization in Iraq spoke in 2020 about his experience of using aid data, the demand for data, and the significance of knowing what resources are coming into the country and how they are being used.
The Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland and the University of Konstanz, Germany, merged OECD CRS data with other datasets to determine the effects of foreign aid and sanctions on democratisation.
In 2020, Shahana Hayat of Christian Aid in Bangladesh talked about how they use aid data to plan and coordinate humanitarian programming.
“I sometimes reflect on whether international donors know whether we’re using their data to ensure their projects are being implemented effectively. There aren’t really any feedback loops, and frankly we’re often too busy to let them know. But I do sometimes wonder if those inputting the data in headquarters in the US and Europe know that our team are consuming that same data, and bringing it to life with citizens in some of our poorest communities.”- Hamzat Lawal, Connected Development