• 6 August 2015

    Access to IAEA Agreements With Iran Gets Controversial

    Legislators in the United States critical of the new international agreement with Iran about nuclear development are demanding access to two side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Administration. The IAEA says the agreements can’t be disclosed. Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas have demanded that the […]

  • 21 July 2015

    Transparency of aid agencies: Are those high grades deserved?

    By Jeffrey Gutman The author is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development. He is the former vice president of Operations Policy and Country Services at the World Bank and has held various other operational positions during his 30-plus-year career at the Bank. His research focuses on issues of infrastructure, urban development and […]

  • 15 July 2015

    Report Sees Disclosure Gap on Aid Implementation

    A major weakness of transparency policies at the World Bank and other aid agencies is the lack of information about the implementation of projects, according to a Brookings Institute report. “What is evident is that there remains a critical gap, especially when it comes to the timely and accessible disclosure of information during project Implementation,” […]

  • 2 July 2015

    World Bank Notes Fifth Anniversary of Access Policy

    The World Bank’s access to information policy (AI) has turned five years old, an anniversary recognized by the Bank with a blog posting, a press release and a short quiz. The blog post cites two examples on how Bank information is used and requests other examples. The posting also includes an infographic. The posting says: The policy […]

  • 1 July 2015

    Groups Urge Climate Fund to Create Access Policy in Open

    More than 100 civil society groups have signed a letter asking the Green Climate Fund to hold “robust public consultations” about its transparency policy. The Fund is planning to replace the current Interim Information Disclosure Practice with a new Information Disclosure Policy. The group letter expressed “serious concerns that there may only be limited opportunities […]

  • 25 June 2015

    State Department Advisors Urge More IAEA Transparency

    An advisory committee to the United States State Department has recommended that the US advocate for more transparency at the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Advisory Committee on Historical Documentation wrote a letter on June 14 to the US representative on the IAEA Board of Governors, Ambassador Laura Kennedy. The committee called it “unfortunate and […]

  • 11 June 2015

    NATO Makes Disclosures; Too Modest, Says Academic Critic

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on June 3 for the first time made public documents about its financial regulations, corporate governance and accounting principles. The move was dubbed positive but insufficient by an expert on NATO transparent, Tsvetelina Yordanova, a former journalist who just received her doctorate from Sofia University in Bulgaria and recently presented […]

  • 27 May 2015

    UNEP Access Policy Criticized During Hearing in Kenya

    Numerous suggestions to improve the interim access to information policy at the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP) were proposed during a public hearing held May 26 in Nairobi, Kenya. Most of the commentators urged that the interim policy, now in effect on a trial basis, be made less restrictive. Among other things, UNEP was urged […]

  • 24 April 2015

    Leaked Document Describes IAEA Transparency Proposal

    The veil has been lifted slightly on a secret 19-year-old transparency policy at International Atomic Energy Agency. Freedominfo.org/Nuclear Vault has obtained, from a non-Agency source, the proposal made in 1996 by the Secretariat to the Board of Governors for a more liberal disclosure policy. The Board did adopt a derestriction policy, but the policy has […]

  • 23 April 2015

    IAEA Lacks Transparency, Observers, Researchers Say

    By Toby McIntosh and William Burr McIntosh is Editor of FreedomInfo.org, published by the National Security Archive. Burr is Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive, where he directs the Archive’s nuclear history documentation project. See the Archive’s Nuclear Vault resources page. Several facts serve as metaphors to describe the lack of transparency at the […]

  • 9 April 2015

    Oxfam Report Faults World Bank Transparency

    The new report by the British-based group Oxfam and others has identified transparency gaps in the operations of the World Bank’s private sector lending arm. In particular the report examines lending done through “financial intermediaries” and reports that disclosure has been lacking. The report concluded: Another worrying discovery is that of the 49 investments the IFC made […]

  • 26 March 2015

    Leaked TPP Draft Includes Rules on Transparency

    Rules for transparency of international arbitrations are included in a recently leaked draft of a key section of the controversial, still-being-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership. The section on transparency (begins on Page 27) would set standards for the conduct of the arbitrations to resolve complaints by investors against signatory governments. The transparency rules are good, but not […]

  • 12 March 2015

    EIB Transparency Policy Called Watered Down

    A new transparency policy by the European Investment Bank is “watered down,” according to public interest groups who followed its development. The EIB announced its “more user-friendly”new policy on March 10. Those following the process were pleased that some “dangerous provisions” had been dropped, but overall called it worse than the previous policy. A statement by nongovernmental […]

  • 26 February 2015

    World Bank Rejects Request for Serbian Project Report

    The World Bank Feb. 18 officially rejected a request by a Serbian journalist for reports on the procurement process concerning a concerning the procurement process for a controversial Bank-funded project in Serbia to pump water out of the flooded coal mine. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) “While there is no single World Bank report on the […]

  • 12 February 2015

    World Bank Denies Access to Procurement Review Reports

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank, despite being a major supporter of “open contracting,” restricts access to its own reports on “post-procurement reviews.” Most recently, the Bank refused to disclose a report concerning the procurement process for a controversial project in Serbia. Investigative journalists in Serbia have raised questions about the qualifications of the contractor […]

  • 15 January 2015

    EIB Makes Limited Changes in Second Draft of Policy

    The European Investment Bank has made a few improvements to a proposed revision of its Transparency Policy, but not addressed many of the concerns of public interest groups. The EIB Board of Directors is expected to discuss the revised policy in its meeting on 3 February 2015. The EIB recently issued a revised draft, a […]

  • 8 January 2015

    EU Ombudsman Seeks More Trade Talk Transparency

    The European Commission on Jan. 7 issued more documents concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the United States, a move welcomed by the European Ombudsman, who said even more should be disclosed. Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly issued an extensive report that includes numerous recommendations for the Commission, challenging the EC not to […]

  • 18 December 2014

    EU Ombudsman Urges EIB to Release Zambian Mine Report

    The European Ombudsman has recommended that the European Investment Bank release a redacted version of a report concerning a mine in Zambia. The Bank had rejected a request from Christian Aid to publish a report on its investigation into tax evasion allegations against Mopani Copper Mines. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, whose decisions […]

  • 11 December 2014

    UNEP Seeks Public Comments On Pilot Phase Access Policy

    The United Nations Environmental Programme is inviting comments on its access to information policy now in a “pilot phase.” On June 6, 2014, UNEP announced the policy and said it would be reviewed by the UNEP secretariat for possible refinement after a year. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report on announcement here, and stories about critiques of […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Secrecy Option Proposed for Bank Forest Carbon Fund

    The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Fund is aiming to allow confidential treatment for the terms under which countries would receive payments for conserving forests. The policy is still under development, but three nongovernmental organizations recently objected to giving countries the option of secrecy in the still developing system in which the Fund will pay […]


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
1-(703) 276-7748