UK ‘pressures’ aid partners to be transparent

A guy demonstrates the U.K. Department for International Development's aid information platform. Photo by: Russell Watkins / DfID / CC BY

The United Kingdom is proving to be a game changer in development. Following an announcement requiring all partners to meet International Aid Transparency Initiative standards, the country’s international development secretary fleshed out details on how her aid agency can help the organizations it works with to meet this goal.

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening launched the U.K. Aid Transparency Challenge Dec. 7 at an event hosted by Publish What You Fund, Bond and U.K. Aid Network. The challenge is meant to “pressure” not just the United Kingdom and its implementing partners but also recipient governments and other donors to increase aid transparency.

Greening also laid out ways on how the Department of International Development and its partners can boost transparency.

  • Require all organizations receiving and managing DfID funds to publish in an accessible, common format how the money is spent.

  • Set up an Aid Transparency Challenge Fund, which will finance creation of “open source” tools that can help improve data reporting.

  • Establish an International Development Sector Transparency Board by March 2013. Representatives from DfID, civil society, aid contractors, open data experts, partner countries, privacy experts and other government departments will comprise the board.

  • Geocode aid using data that is compatible with how recipient countries classify their budgets.

“DfID has transformed its approach to transparency, reshaping our own working practices and pressuring others across the world to do the same. Great progress has been made, but there’s a lot more we can do,” Greening said.

“That is why I am launching the Aid Transparency Challenge, to help the whole sector achieve this.”

Publish What You Fund Managing Director David Hall-Matthews, who has clarified that meeting IATI standards is “not as difficult or costly” as organizations believe, lauded Greening’s announcement.

“We are pleased a large donor such as DFID recognizes the need to bridge the gap between publishing good quality information and making it useful,” Hall-Matthews said. “We will of course be watching with interest to see how developers respond to this new transparency challenge.”

Center for Global Development Director for Europe Owen Barder, meanwhile, said the announcement has “raised the bar for aid transparency.”

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    Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news for the Development Newswire. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.