DI is pleased to share the news that the Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest private foundations, has announced its intention to become a member of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
As the technical lead of the IATI secretariat, as well as partners of the Gates Foundation, we welcome this move towards greater transparency. Gates will join other transparency leaders in the world of private development assistance, such as the Hewlett Foundation, in using IATI to publish information on its development activities. Publication to IATI will make data from the Gates Foundation easier to find, use and compare.
The Foundation’s CEO, Jeff Raikes, writes on the Impatient Optimist blog:
“Our commitment to IATI is one of a number of steps we are taking to make information about the foundation more available. … In the meantime, we are continuing to work with partners in the development and philanthropic communities to understand better how this kind of data can be made more useful.”
A milestone in transparency for private development assistance
As our recent Investments to End Poverty report demonstrates, private foundations play an increasingly important role in development next to government actors and multilaterals – contributing millions towards development spending globally. Climate change finance, for example, is a development focus area overwhelmingly funded through private development assistance (Ch7, p136).
The Executive Director of Development Initiatives, Judith Randel, commented:
“We are delighted that the Gates Foundation has confirmed that they will join IATI and publish data on their development activities to the IATI Standard. We hope that this will encourage other philanthropic foundations to do likewise, helping data users to build a more complete picture of the resources available for poverty reduction. This will contribute to more informed decisions on resource allocations and drive faster progress on poverty reduction.”
We’ve recently blogged on the lack of transparency generally in private development assistance; noting that the Gates Foundation disbursed US$2.6 billion in development assistance in 2011 and is therefore a hugely significant donor, even next to many bilateral and multilateral donors. The news that the Gates Foundation will become an IATI publisher is a milestone moment for DI, and for all those who are campaigning for greater transparency in aid and development finance. Gates’ leadership should encourage greater transparency amongst other major players in the world of private development assistance.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the Foundation for making this commitment, and offer our support and assistance to any other private foundations wanting to achieve greater transparency through publishing their information to IATI. You can contact the IATI team on firstname.lastname@example.org.