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 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 Agency, French 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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