UNDP takes another step to enhance transparency

See below for a guest post from Will Davis, Director of the UNDP Washington Representation Office, in which he describes the UNDP’s new online portal. This new site is a great example of how a leading organization is implementing the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standards and taking important steps to be more transparent and accountable for results.

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The ongoing efforts of the UN Development Program (UNDP) to enhance the transparency of its global operations took a major step forward last week with the launch of a new online portal—www.open.undp.org. The portal enables the public to track comprehensive data on more than 6,000 projects budgeted through 2011 in 177 countries and territories worldwide, along with more than 8,000 outputs or results.

From Washington to Tokyo, donor governments and their citizens understand that transparency in the flow of aid is critical to effective, efficient delivery. It means greater accountability at every level, limiting waste and ensuring aid gets to those who need it most. MFAN and its members have long championed the essential need for aid transparency, and UNDP and its Administrator, Helen Clark, share this view, to the point that UNDP has been widely recognized as a leader in the UN system for its sustained open-data efforts and graded as a top-10 organization by Publish What You Fund.

Ms. Clark has called transparency “a top priority for UNDP and a vital element in maintaining the trust vested in us by the public and our partners.”

The portal’s landing page lists donors, followed by a breakdown of where UNDP funding goes. Multiple filters on the right allow sorting by country, donor, focus area, and region. Users can sort projects by focus areas, funding sources, and locations and extract detailed data related to budgets, implementing organizations, and targeted results in areas from governance and rule of law to crisis prevention and recovery.

These data reflect budgeted contributions and expenditures through 2011, including some projects that are now closed. Data will be updated quarterly beginning in the new year, and our transparency team will continue upgrading and expanding this portal with real-time data, including photos from the field, going forward.

Our new open-data portal was financed by a grant from the United States, a key UNDP partner worldwide in supporting our work on democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and more peaceful, prosperous communities. The portal helps fulfill UNDP’s commitment to achieve levels of transparency by 2013 that are above and beyond international standards.

UNDP created the portal as part of its implementation of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). While the portal was financed by a $225,000 U.S. contribution, the overall IATI effort is funded through UNDP’s core budget. UNDP, a founding member of IATI, committed to full adoption of the common aid transparency standard by 2013 to ensure publication of financial data and project information in the most transparent and accessible way.

Initial responses to the portal have been overwhelmingly positive. UNDP welcomes comments and suggestions as we continue to expand and streamline the portal, and continually augment our efforts to make UNDP’s work as open and transparent as possible.

 

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