Global Initiative Alarmed Over 'Pushback' on Aid Transparency Commitments as Busan Forum Nears

A global aid transparency group has expressed alarm over the “pushback” in aid transparency commitments among donor countries while the text for the final document to be approved in the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan next month is being negotiated.

According to the campaign group Publish What You Fund, a number of donors seem to be ”attempting to dilute or undermine” commitments to aid transparency “by removing all references to the International Aid Transparency Initiative” and implementation deadlines during the “Working Party on Aid Effectiveness” meeting in Paris this week.

The IATI provides a common format and agreed standard for donors’ reporting on aid.

In the meeting hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — the last before the Nov 29 to Dec. 1 Busan forum — donor countries, particularly Japan, the United States and Germany, are disagreeing on deadlines for reducing tied aid, Publish What You Fund said.

Other countries such as Ireland and Norway, despite being founding members of IATI, are silent on the matter. China, meanwhile, is proposing to delete the whole transparency section from the text, the group said.

This “evasiveness” on actual commitments, however, comes despite the fact that donors are“seriously off track to meet their aid effectiveness targets” that were agreed upon six years ago.

But the co-chairs of the working party have stressed the importance of IATI and the need for donors to agree on implementation dates. They also stressed there are more commitments from partner countries than donors.

Despite the perceived turning back by some donors on their commitments, Publish What You Fund noted that a number of large donors have expressed support for IATI. These include the World Bank, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the European Commission.

The global initiative is thus urging the international community to prevent “a handful of countries from undermining the hopes of a successful meeting in Busan.”

“At a time when aid budgets are under huge pressure,” the campaign group said, “failure to deliver on transparency and accountability could have serious implications for the funding of life-saving poverty reduction efforts around the world.”

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About the author

  • Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.