MFAN Partner Publish What You Fund, an organization focused on tracking transparency in foreign aid, released the 2011 Aid Transparency Index today. The report – the first of its kind – evaluates the transparency of 58 donor countries and international organizations, showing that donors of international aid are not publishing enough information on the money they give towards development. Publish What You Fund believes that this lack of transparency undermines the effectiveness of development spending and ultimately damages public trust.
Released just two weeks before the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, the report shows that a number of the forum’s participants are not doing everything they can to be held accountable for their donations. Each of the 58 countries and organizations were evaluated on how much information they provide about their aid under 35 different indicators. While the World Bank’s International Development Agency surfaced as the most transparent, the average score was 34%, demonstrating that while some donors have made progress in their transparency, they can still report more. The other organizations that made up the five best-ranked donors include the Global Fund, the African Development Bank, The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UK’s Department for International Development (Dfid).
None of the subjects of the study landed in the highest category, “good,” which requires a score of 80% or higher. The Millennium Challenge Corporation received a 62% rating, and USAID and the State Department received a 25% and a 24% rating, respectively. This low rating comes despite the launch of last year’s Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which is set to include data from more U.S. agencies in the coming weeks.
PWYF Managing Director, Karin Christiansen, commented on the results: “These results are very disappointing. Most donors are simply not providing enough good information about their aid. This 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 goal of the report is for donors to sign up and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), providing a common standard for publishing data. The index also urges donors to use the forum in Busan to commit to publish timely, comprehensive and comparable information on aid by 2015.
Be sure to check out the Index on PWYF’s website; there is a great interactive feature that lets you see how each organization measured up against the indicators. For coverage on the new Aid Transparency Index, click on these links:
- Donors backtrack on aid transparency, report says—Financial times
- Call for greater aid transparency—BBC News
- European Public Banks Fail on Transparency—Counter Balance
- UK among most transparent aid donors—The Guardian