Publish What You Fund Lists Worst-performing Donors in Aid Transparency

Members of the U.S. Air Force help load a pallet of humanitarian supplies for earthquake victims in Indonesia on September 2009. The U.S. Department of Defense was named one of the aid donors lacking in transparency. Photo by: Michael Dillon / U.S. Department of Defense

Just a couple of weeks before the aid effectiveness meeting in Busan, South Korea, global aid transparency group Publish What You Fund has posted a list of aid donors lacking in the transparency department.

In the group’s pilot Aid Transparency Index, the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the African Development Bank, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.K.’s Department for International Development ranked best in aid transparency.

Spain, Portugal, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Commonwealth Development Corporation, Latvia, the U.S. Treasury, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, China and Greece posted an average score of less than 19 percent. Cyprus and Malta took the worst spots with 0 percent.

“These results are very disappointing. Most donors are simply not providing enough good information about their aid. This lack of transparency leads to waste, overlap and inefficiency,” Publish What You Fund Managing Director Karin Christiansen said.

Some examples of aid reports the group has discovered that fall under “poor reporting” include France’s 20-year chimpanzee research project in Cote d’Ivoire, Greece’s “implemented project” in Serbia where only half-built blocks of flats are seen in pictures, and Austrian Development Agency’s records placing Austria as its fourth-biggest recipient.

Christiansen said that such lack of transparency undermines the effectiveness of aid.

“It impedes efforts to improve governance and reduce corruption and makes it hard to measure results. At a time when overseas aid budgets are under pressure, transparency and accountability matter more than ever,” she said.

Despite these findings, the group is hoping for a successful meeting in Busan. It is expecting donors to live up to their pledges six years ago to improve aid effectiveness and relive their commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.