The Australian Agency for International Development has made some progress toward aid transparency this year. But as with other aid organizations, it needs to do more if it wants to top an index measuring donors’ transparency efforts.
This is what Jonathan Pryke, a researcher for the Development Policy Center, said in a blog post. While the donor agency gained a “moderate” score in Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency Index, it is still far from what other agencies have achieved so far.
The U.K. Department for International Development, with a score of “good,” topped this year’s index. Aid advocates have also started to see DfID as a game changer in the field following the launch of its aid transparency challenge this December.
AusAid published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative this year. It has also committed to publishing a number of country, regional and thematic transparency pages by the end of the year. But Pryke said the agency can “do a lot more.”
For easier access, the aid agency should implement a basic search function that will help researchers or aid organizations sift through countless information on the website. This could include filters for, say, countries or regions.
Pryke also recommends that AusAID should only include documents related to a particular project in the projects page. Most importantly, AusAID should provide detailed information on how funds for a particular program or project is being spent — an issue a number of donors need to address as well.
“This would be an invaluable addition to AusAID’s commitment to transparency,” Pryke writes.
His other recommendations include AusAID separating current from expired strategies, publishing information more promptly — not six months late — and providing a timetable when such information will come out.
Aid transparency has largely been linked to aid effectiveness. But many aid organizations still fail to deliver on the matter, and several have still not published to IATI, finding it too cumbersome. But Publish What You Fund Managing Director David Hall-Matthews told Devex in an interview that publishing to the IATI has its advantages: It can open up new partnerships and disprove aid critics.
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