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Major aid donors must be more transparent, says campaigning organisation

Major aid donors must be more transparent, says campaigning organisation

News

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is one of the most transparent donors in the world according to a new index published by Publish What You Fund, the global campaign for aid transparency.

The index, the first of its kind, shows that the majority of international aid donors are not publishing enough information about the money they give, undermining the effectiveness of development spending and damaging public trust.

Publish What You Fund’s development director Amy Barry says: “Transparency is primarily important as a way of increasing efficiency. It also facilitates co-ordination among donors, including philanthropists.”

As the government is acting as a philanthropist with taxpayers’ money, Barry says the Transparency Index is also important for citizens to hold governments to account and have confidence in overseas’ aid. “In times of financial crisis, taxpayers will be asking questions about whether we should give to developing countries.”

Major donors including the US, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Canada, Italy and Australia perform poorly in the index.

The five best-ranked donors in terms of transparency are the World Bank, the Global Fund, the African Development Bank, The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UK’s (DFID).

The Index – ranks 58 donor agencies according to how much information they provide across 37 different indicators. The average score of 34% shows that although some donors have made good progress, the majority need to do much more. No donors ranked in the top category ‘good’, which requires a score of over 80%. The UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation was ranked in the bottom 15, scoring less than 19%.

The report calls on all donors to sign up to and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which provides a common standard for publishing data and has the potential to transform the way aid is managed. It urges donors to use the upcoming High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Korea (November 29 – December 1) to commit to publish timely, comprehensive and comparable information on aid by 2015.

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