International Aid Transparency Initiative

[From the Development Gateway Foundation]  In support of the Accra Agenda for Action, 14 donors committed to increasing transparency. Participants from developed countries were joined by heads of multilateral and bilateral funding institutions and representatives of foundations in agreement to make information on development more accessible. They promised to establish a common format for the publication of information on aid by 2010. The signatories to the International Aid Transparency Initiative are Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the GAVI Alliance, and Hewlett Foundation.

See the International Aid Transparency Initiative Accra Statement

[From] A GLOBAL initiative to make overseas aid work better in helping poor people and to make it easier for them and their governments to track how aid is spent is being unveiled today (Thurs 4th September) by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

The UK is leading international efforts to improve openness in the way aid is delivered to poorer countries and to increase scrutiny over how it is spent.

The International Aid Transparency Initiative would also allow the governments of poor countries to plan more effectively by guaranteeing when aid would be delivered to them.

At a High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana, Mr Alexander is proposing that all donors should agree a set of common standards against which they can be judged.

The UK believes donors should agree to give:

* Full and detailed information on all aid in each country affected; * Details and costs of individual projects and their aims; and * Reliable information on future aid to improve planning by recipient governments.

The initiative was launched with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, European Commission, the Hewlett Foundation and a number of leading aid-providing countries.

Mr Alexander said: “We see this as an important first step to increase certainty for both donors and the countries receiving aid.

“The impact of aid in relieving poverty can be greatly increased if everyone can see where the money’s coming from, who is spending it and what it should be achieving.

“The UK is always vigilant against the misuse of aid and this initiative will be a crucial tool in the fight against it. If local people can see where aid should be going and question whether it has been effective the scope for bribery and corruption is greatly reduced.”

The initiative is also aimed at increasing certainty for poor countries as to how much aid they can expect and when it will be paid. Failure to deliver aid on time has been identified by the international community as a key factor in hampering development work and forcing recipient governments to increase their debts to cover shortfalls.

The initiative is being launched at the HLF by Mr Alexander, Kemal Dervis, Head of UNDP, James Musconi, Finance Minister of Rwanda, and Kumi Naidoo, honorary president of Civicus.

Notes to editors

1. The High Level Forum in Accra aims to refocus international attention on the need to meet the Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty.

2. The transparency initiative is expected to be joined by growing numbers of international donors and to be in place by the end of 2009.

3. In Uganda, an information campaign of the type envisaged about education programmes helped increase the share of funds reaching schools from 20 per cent in 1995 to 80 per cent in 2001.

4. The already existing Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an agreement which covers mining, gas and oil, has helped Nigeria increase its revenue collection by more than £500 million.

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