‘Some progress, but aid is still not transparent’

A chart of the top 10 highest scoring organizations in Publish What You Fund's aid transparency index. Click here to view the image in larger size.

The U.K. Department for International Development topped a new index that measures the transparency of 72 funding organizations in providing information about their aid programs.

DfID was one of only two donor organizations — along with the World Bank’s International Development Association — to score “good” on the 2012 Aid Transparency Index produced by global campaign group Publish What You Fund. DfID and World Bank were also among the best performers in the 2011 index, which the World Bank topped, but only managed to score “fair” at the time.

DfID’s high score reflects the agency’s efforts to make key information about its aid program more available to the public. For one, it has published comprehensive operational plans for its recipient countries.

The two donors’ performance and of others like the Asian Development Bank, which improved from “moderate” in 2011 to “fair” in the new ranking, hint at signs that donors are more actively embracing the principles of aid transparency.

The Inter-American Development Bank and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, or ECHO, also improved their places in the ranking.

The bulk of donors considered for the index, however, only managed “moderate” or “poor” scores. The U.S. Agency for International Development, Australia, Japan, Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were among those that got “moderate” scores. USAID, for one, should expand the geographical scope of aid information it publishes, Publish What You Fund recommends.

Among top donors in the poor category of the aid transparency index are Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, or GIZ, the Korean International Cooperation AgencyFrench Development Agency, Ireland, Spain and the U.S. Department of State.

On the bottom of the index are funding organizations that received very poor scores. These include Slovakia, Greece and China.

Publish What You Fund urged organizations to sign the International Aid Transparency Initiative, an online standard for publishing aid information. Among present signatories are DfID, the World Bank, the Netherlands and other top-ranking organizations.

Signing the IATI, however, is not a guarantee that aid organizations would automatically make their aid information more available. UNICEF, for instance, is a signatory but fared poorly in the index.

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About the author

  • Ivy mungcal 400x400

    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.