Australia has ranked high in a think tank-produced ranking of donors in terms of transparency, but the country can definitely “do a lot better on the transparency front,” according to a researcher of the Australia-based Development Policy Centre.
A report by the U.S.-based think tank Brookings Institution and the Center for Global Development ranked Australia first out of the 31 members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation. But the Australian government should not be complacent and strive to further improve its efforts to make aid information more accessible and transparent, according to Jonathan Pryke, who said two think tanks’ basis for the rankings leaves much to be desired.
“None of the three indicators which the Quality of ODA Assessment [report] uses in fact tells us anything much at all about transparency,” Pryke said.
He noted that the Australian government appears to be on the right track to improving its transparency initiative further, with foreign minister Kevin Rudd committing to develop a transparency charter.
Pryke suggests one way forward for the government on this charter: “Progress will clearly require not only making data available online but making it easily accessible and useful. A country dashboard, à la [U.S. Agency for International Development], would be a good place to start.”
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