Transparency has real impact on our efforts to end extreme poverty and build resilient, democratic societies. Quality, timely information about development cooperation helps everyone — governments, civil society organizations, private citizens and donors — to manage and monitor aid resources more effectively and ensure mutual accountability.
USAID is leading the U.S. Government’s effort to enhance international aid transparency, and foster increased development efficacy and accountability.
In 2011, the U.S. Government became a signatory to International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) — a voluntary program that encourages governments, NGOs and other international aid organizations to make information about foreign aid spending easier to access, use and understand. IATI developed a standard for publishing up-to-date foreign assistance spending data in a common, open format that allows for comparison across organizations.
Users around the world can now explore the United States’ foreign aid investments by county, sector and year on ForeignAssistance.gov and in the IATI Registry.
USAID was not satisfied with this level of transparency, however, and in June 2014, investigated the costs of fulfilling additional IATI reporting requirements. This week we are publishing an IATI Cost Management Plan that provides a detailed roadmap on how USAID will share more data about the work we do.
We are already seeing results. USAID’s score on Publish What You Fund’s 2015 Aid Transparency Review jumped by more than 20 points this year, propelling USAID from the “fair” to the “good” category. One big improvement is “standardized sector coding” which allows users to easily compare USAID funding data with that of other donors.
Improving data quality and accessibility is only the first component of USAID’s efforts to be more transparent. Educating and connecting stakeholders to data that they can leverage to improve their programs is also critical. Transparency allows citizens and civil society organizations to hold governments accountable and spurs participatory development and local ownership as highlighted in this video on efforts in Ghana and Zambia.
So we ask: How can we continue to improve data supply, demand and use? We encourage members of the development community and the general public to send their comments and suggestions to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving forward, we want to do even better.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
- Check our work to make data more transparent
- Learn more about how USAID promotes open government
- Follow @USAIDPolicy and @Thieristan
- USAID’s Commitment to Transparency