Publish What You Fund is presenting the first-ever global Aid Transparency Assessment in Washington, D.C. in December – at the World Bank on Wednesday the 8th and the Brookings Institution on Thursday the 9th.
The Assessment has already begun to make waves in the development world, with academics, CSOs, and government officials recognizing the importance and development potential of greater aid transparency. It ranks 30 major donors on their levels of transparency across seven weighted indicators that fall into three categories – commitment to transparency; transparency to recipient governments; and transparency to civil society.
Aid transparency is important because currently a Minister of Finance in a recipient country cannot get a clear picture of the aid money coming into their country, and therefore, cannot allocate their domestic resources in a complementary way. If all donors were to publish their aid information in a common format then everyone would be able to see the national overview or the ‘bigger picture’. If the U.S. can see what others are funding next year, it can allocate money in a way that maximizes it’s lifesaving or life changing potential as it can see other donors’ and the national government’s plans. Having comparable information can also help drive increased aid effectiveness as donors can benchmark their impact and performance against others.
The U.S. Government has sought to increase its aid transparency and aid effectiveness as recent initiatives such as the aid dashboard demonstrate. However, the U.S. scores far below average on 4 of 7 indicators in the Assessment, as can be seen in the graph below. The U.S. can improve its position in the assessment (at 24th out of the 30 donors assessed) by working towards better international comparability of its aid information, increasing the predictability of its aid and providing information in an accessible way for civil society.
The U.S. can and should make aid transparency a priority. Achieving comparability of aid information between the multiple U.S. aid-giving agencies will be key to delivering more effective aid and improving value for money. In addition, achieving international comparability through continued engagement in the International Aid Transparency Initiative is essential to unlock the potential of aid and enable global benchmarking so that the quality of aid can continue to improve.
The Assessment can be downloaded from Publish What You Fund’s website, where you will also find an interactive visualization which allows you to assign different weightings to the three indicators to see the effect on the final ranking. If you would like further details about these events or the assessment please refer to the website.