Data Lacking for Broad Aid Transparency Study

9 December 2010

A lack of data inhibited an effort to compare what information is publicly available on development aid from international institutions and donor nations, according to a new study by Publish What You Fund.

Without enough  primary, comparable data, putting together the report on 30 institutions was “challenging” according to the first of three findings in the report.  Nevertheless, the report  used eight available datasets to assess performance in three main areas: “commitment to aid transparency,”  the transparency of aid to recipient governments, and the transparency of aid from the civil society perspective.

The group found a “wide variation in levels of donor transparency,” putting the World Bank at the top in the “fair” grouping and placing Japan at the bottom of the list in the “very poor” category.

The third finding, of “significant weaknesses across indicators,” led the London-based group to note that “there is room for improvement across all indicators assessed.”  As a first recommendation,  “Donors have demonstrated they can make information available, so they should.” P

Publish What You Fund is the nongovernmental organization pushing the multilateral International Aid Transparency Initiative.

A second recommendation urges that “more and better information” be available “to a common standard.” Third, the report advocates for an IATI standard, still in preparation, that “delivers for everyone.”

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In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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