IFIs Rate Low on Access by Publish What Your Fund

26 October 2012

International financial institutions fared poorly in the “freedom of information” category of the recently issued ratings by Publish What Your Fund.

Although the development banks ranked high overall on the 43 factors used, their scores in the access to information category merited red dots.

The red dots signified “poor legislation” in the category, just one of many that went into the overall “Aid Transparency Index.”

Only the European Investment Bank gets a yellow dot meaning “average legislation.” A green dot would mean “good legislation.”

Those getting the red dot were the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank.

Most national development agencies and donor organizations received yellow or green dots, with some exceptions. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

On the overall ratings, some of the development banks did very well. The World Bank came in second out of the 72 organizations rated. The AfDB was 8, IADP 11,  ADB 12, EBRD 21, and EIB 36.

 Rating System Revamped

The rating system was refined from last year when credit was given just for having a disclosure policy.

This year’s system contains three factors, as explained in the report:

The scoring system used for disclosure policies is a cumulative measure of three key indicators. If a donor’s policy has all three, a 4 is scored, if a donor’s disclosure policy has none of the three, or no disclosure policy at all, it scores 1. The indicators are: 1 point for the presumption of disclosure; 1 point for limitations on the non-disclosure of commercially sensitive information and third party information; and 1 point for limitations on the non-disclosure of internal deliberations.

Presumption of disclosure: To score for this indicator, a disclosure policy must have a specific clause that states disclosure as the rule, thereby requiring a compelling reason for non-disclosure.

Limitations on commercially sensitive and third party information: To score on this indicator, non-disclosure clauses related to these matters must be (a) defined clearly, (b) not include the presumption of confidentiality, and (c) be subject to a harm test and a public interest override.

Limitations on Internal Deliberations: To score for this indicator, non-disclosure clauses related to such deliberations must be (a) defined clearly, (b) subject to a harm test and a public interest override.

The report said, “While relatively simple, this indicator reflects international best practice in maximising the right to information with the acknowledgement that donors are required not to disclose certain types of information.”


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Filed under: IFTI Watch


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).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
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