UK among most transparent aid donors
Source: The Guardian
Author: Mark Tran
Date: 15th November 2011
Publish What You Fund’s aid transparency index shows the UK is performing relatively well, but overall results are disappointing
The UK ranks among the world’s most transparent aid donors, according to a report released on Tuesday by campaign group Publish What You Fund.
The World Bank, the Global Fund, the African Development Bank, the Dutch foreign ministry and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) are the top-ranking donors in the pilot aid transparency index, which rates 58 agencies on how much information they provide about the aid they give.
The US Department of Defense, the UK’s development finance arm, the CDC, China, Latvia, Italy and Poland are among the worst performers. The US as a whole, Japan, France, Germany and Australia also perform poorly despite repeated pledges to improve.
“The UK performs relatively well in this ranking and should be congratulated for showing leadership on transparency,” said Karin Christiansen, managing director of Publish What You Fund. “Overall, the results are very disappointing and all donors could do more. Lack of transparency leads to waste, overlap and inefficiency. It impedes efforts to improve governance and reduce corruption and makes it hard to measure results. At a time when overseas aid budgets are under pressure, transparency and accountability matter more than ever.”
The average score in the index of just 34% shows that although some donors have made good progress, most need to do much more, said PWYF. “No donors ranked in the top category ‘good’, which requires a score of over 80%. While the UK’s main aid agency, DfID, ranks well, CDC scores badly (in 47th place with a score of 12%), demonstrating a lack of coherence between agencies.” CDC recently appointed a new chief executive, Diana Noble, after a furore over expenses and pay levels under her predecessor.
Some countries provided worrying examples of how poor reporting can distort perceptions of whether aid is spent, the group said. For example, almost the only information available about one of France’s biggest aid beneficiaries, Ivory Coast, covered a project commemorating 20 years of research into chimpanzees.
The report calls on all donors to sign up to and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), the standard agreed at the Accra forum on aid effectiveness in 2008 for publishing data. The UK began publishing DfID’s spending on the IATI register in January. However, IATI is one of the contentious issues on the agenda for the next high-level forum on aid effectiveness, being held at Busan, in South Korea, at the end of this month.
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Press Release: Aid donors criticised for lack of transparency