Busan: A good outcome on transparency
Author: Alex Beech
Date: 1st December 2011
There’s plenty to celebrate here at aidinfo as HLF4 ends in Busan today. Transparency has been the issue of the day, and the subject on everyone’s lips – for example, in his speech to today’s plenary,Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bachemphasised the importance of access to information, noting its power to change societies should not be underestimated.
For us, the highlight of the week as been the flurry of interest from new donors in signing up to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), with Canadian CIDA, the Inter-American Development Bank, the US, CDC and UNCDF all joining IATI during this week’s Forum.
Transparency was also one of the most hotly contested issues during protracted negotiations on the Busan Outcome Document. The language included in the final text, released today as the Busan Partnership for Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, inevitably represents a compromise, and is, in some respects, weaker than earlier drafts.
Despite this, there is much to welcome:
Transparency (and accountability) has been accepted as one of a number of shared principles that form the foundation of effective development cooperation (para 11d);
Progress in making aid more transparent is acknowledged (para 15);
And the crucial paragraph on transparency (23) includes a commitment to:
c) Implement a common, open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information on resources provided through development co-operation, taking into account the statistical reporting of the OECDCDAC and the complementary efforts of the International Aid Transparency Initiative and others. This standard must meet the information needs of developing countries and non-state actors, consistent with national requirements. We will agree on this standard and publish our respective schedules to implement it by December 2012, with the aim of implementing it fully by December 2015.
As a result of this week’s announcements, IATI signatories already account for 75% of ODA, and we believe that the text above provides a solid foundation for further progress in the coming months. The priorities now are for donors who have not yet joined IATI to do so, for those who have signed IATI to implement it, and for increased use of IATI data to create a virtuous circle, providing much-needed feedback from those who benefit from aid to those who provide it in order to maximise the impact of aid on poverty reduction.
We will post further reflections on the outcome of HLF4 when our team return from Busan next week.