November 30, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:
MFAN commends Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration for announcing at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea that the United States will sign on to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). The U.S. will join 25 other bilateral and multilateral donors from around the world in committing to publish up-to-date data on foreign assistance in a common, open format that is accessible and comparable.
The announcement builds on the launch last December of the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which begins to show where and how much the U.S. Government is spending on assistance. We applaud the addition last week of the Millennium Challenge Corporation to the Dashboard, and look forward to the eventual inclusion and participation of all U.S. agencies engaged in overseas development.
We also hope the Administration will honor its pledge to incorporate comprehensive and standardized reporting on budget, financial, program, and performance data from all U.S. agencies, as called for in the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 3159) sponsored by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Howard Berman (D-CA).
Taken together, these steps would allow both American citizens and those in partner countries to see where U.S. tax funds are going and how these dollars are helping to facilitate economic growth, alleviate poverty, and stymie disease. As Secretary Clinton noted, greater transparency will make assistance more effective, by allowing donors and developing country governments to plan for and manage limited aid resources. Only with more and better information can developing-partner countries assume increased ownership of, and responsibility for, their own development.