October 4, 2018 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin.
Unfortunately, the October 1, 2018 date set by The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA) of 2016 for the State Department and USAID to consolidate data collection and web platforms has passed.
Though created at different times to meet distinct needs, the two data platforms are contradictory and undermine confidence in U.S. aid transparency. Despite the October 1 deadline, both the Department of State and USAID databases continue to operate as before.
Today, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) and Publish What You Fund (PWYF) are releasing an analysis of the two databases and call on the agencies to commit to a single platform that produces quality aid data in a timely manner. The analysis, which compares the functionalities of both systems, recommends “a data solution that builds upon FAE’s existing data and well-established data collection processes, incorporates missing functionalities, and identifies incomplete data.”
MFAN requests that the administration present a consolidation plan to Congress – including timelines, benchmarks, and resources needed – as part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request.
“For U.S. assistance to be effective we must have clear, accessible data on where and what we are funding,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Plan International USA. “All stakeholders, from American taxpayers to local civil society, deserve access to a singular high-quality database.”
“It is high time to reconcile these dueling dashboards,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, and Chair of Friends of Publish What You Fund. “Continuing to both administer and fund two separate aid databases with conflicting and inconsistent data is nonsensical.”
“Transparency and high-quality data are needed to improve coordination, planning, and accountability,” said Lester Munson, MFAN Co-Chair and Principal at BGR Group. “The agencies must take the consolidation process seriously and Congress, through the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, should hold them accountable.”
MFAN thanks Congress for their dedication to transparency and the spirit of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016 and calls on the White House Office of Management and Budget, the State Department, and USAID to submit a comprehensive consolidation plan as part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request.