April 13, 2016 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette
With today’s release of the Publish What You Fund 2016 Aid Transparency Index, a ranking of 46 aid agencies and organizations, MFAN is pleased to see continued improvement toward greater transparency by the six U.S. agencies evaluated. However, while all of the U.S. agencies have made improvements since the last full index in 2014, the United States overall still fell short of meeting its commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by the end of 2015.
Despite failing to meet the IATI deadline, we are encouraged to see strong leadership at many of the U.S. agencies to push for improvements in policy and practice that promote greater transparency. The MCC, for example, continues to be among the top global donors when it comes to aid transparency, landing once again in the “Very Good” category and falling just short of the number 1 spot in this year’s ranking, which went to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The MCC is one of only 10 of the 46 donors assessed that met the IATI commitment in full.
While the other five U.S. agencies all fall in the “Fair” category, each has shown improvement in its score since the 2014 Index. The Department of Defense, for example, previously ranked as “Poor” with a score of 30.76% has now improved to a score of 46.7%, however it continues to lag behind the other U.S. agencies. The other four agencies – USAID, Treasury, PEPFAR, and State – all rank at the top of the “Fair” category with scores in the mid to upper 50s.
MFAN believes that transparency is a key component of ensuring greater accountability of U.S. foreign assistance. High-quality, timely, publicly available information is necessary in order to make decisions rooted in facts and evidence that drive sustainable results. In the five years since the United States committed to IATI at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the six U.S. agencies tracked by Publish What You Fund have made impressive strides. However, there is more work to be done.
In our recent ACCOUNTdown to 2017 Progress Report, MFAN called on all U.S. agencies involved in foreign assistance to meet the aid transparency commitment that was made in 2011. In these last 8 months, we hope to see more done to institutionalize the gains made by the Obama Administration and champions on Capitol Hill to prioritize transparency.