A new global standard for sharing and publishing aid information was finalized this week in France, after two years of negotiations between donors, civil society organizations and aid watchdog groups.
The standard outlines a single format for donors to share information on how and where they are spending their aid money. The final details were agreed upon Feb. 9 by donors who committed to the International International Aid Transparency Initiative, the global coalition that led efforts to develop the standard.
These donors include the Australian Agency for International Development, European Commission, Hewlett Foundation and U.N. Development Program as well as the World Bank and the U.K. Department for International Development, which have both rolled out their own transparency initiatives in the past months. The United States, which is not a signatory of IATI, said it also intends to comply with the standard.
The finalization of this standard could give new momentum to efforts toward more transparency in aid flows, especially at a time when allegations of corruptions and misuse plague the aid community and there is a renewed clamor for more access to aid information.
The standard is expected to contribute to transparency and efficiency drives by making aid information more comparable and reducing waste and duplication. Aid transparency advocates hopes that it would also promote mutual accountability.
“When everyone can see how much aid is being spent where, and on what, governments whether giving or receiving aid – can be held accountable by their citizens for spending it well,” said Karin Christiansen, the director of the global campaign for aid transparency, Publish What You Fund.
This should be another welcome development in the current international aid environment, where citizens of cash-strapped donor countries are increasingly pressing their governments to show the impact and effectiveness of their aid programs.