Last night the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening made one of the most significant statements of her tenure so far. Launching the UK’s Aid Transparency Challenge, she set out how the Department for International Development (DFID) will require any organisation it works through to adhere to International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standards of transparency and accountability for their disbursement of DFID funds.
This was more than a technical decision about data standards though. One year on from Busan, it’s clear that DFID intend to build on progress made and take transparency to the next level. The decision will empower the world’s poorest and UK taxpayers with access to information on how UK aid is being spent, enabling them to hold government to account as well as ensuring partner countries can plan and manage UK aid resources effectively.
The package of measures announced yesterday includes many that Development Initiatives and others have lobbied for. Our aidinfo programme was launched in 2008 with the aim of improving the transparency of aid information in order to increase the effectiveness of aid in reducing poverty. The proposition underpinning the programme was a simple one: that increased access to information about aid would enable donors and partner countries to plan and manage aid resource more effectively, at the same time as supporting parliaments, CSOs and citizens to hold their governments to account for the use of these aid resources.
The announcement also underlines DFID’s commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative which last month saw UN Women become the 100th organisation to publish their data to IATI. In under a year IATI’s membership has expanded from 22 signatories to 35 and the number of partner countries that have endorsed IATI has risen to 22 – covering over 75% of aid flows.
There is a great deal of work to do to fulfill the Challenge. But as Owen Barder, Chair of the event hosted by Publish What You Fund, BOND and UKAN had put it, he couldn’t have asked for a better list if he’d announced it himself.
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