Lack of transparency by major European donors is hindering development outcomes in some of the poorest countries in the world, according to Publish What You Fund’s latest report. Together, the EU and its member states are the largest body of donors in the world, yet nine out of 16 key EU donors and institutions are still not publishing their data on time and in detail, leaving recipient countries in the dark about expected funding. The Publish What You Fund Initiative calls on EU donors to meet their aid transparency commitments by publishing the data; making the data useful and making the data accessible and promoting its use. BCSDN has been involved in the past 3 years in promoting the aid transparency commitments and in the assessment of the DG Enlargement and now the DG NEAR performance.
The 2015 EU Aid Transparency Review analyses 10 of the most aid dependent, low-income countries that receive high quantities of EU and U.S. aid. It reveals that only half of the official development flows by EU member states and institutions are being published to the international open data standard – the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This amounts to 4.4billion Euros that recipient countries cannot see. The 2015 Review finds that once again, a group of leading donors continue to lead the way in aid transparency, with Sweden, the UK and the European Commission (DGs NEAR, FPI and DEVCO) joined by Denmark and the Netherlands in the top performance categories.
Donors have committed to providing regular, timely, rolling three to five year indicative forward expenditure and/or implementation plans. Despite this, the findings of this Review show that this information remains patchy. On average, donors score only 49% on this indicator, meaning that the information is either not available consistently for all recipient countries or does not cover the next three years ahead. Only Denmark, Germany and DG NEAR score the maximum points for this indicator, although the coverage of activities remains low.
Donors promised to make aid transparent by the end of 2015. In a year of new development commitments, it is time for the EU to deliver on this promise. DG NEAR here has entered the “On track” category (60-79% – Good performance). DG NEAR also enters the top performers on added-value information concerning the Sub-National Location updates together with DEVCO, France and EC FPI. It also is among the leaders on performance on frequency and timeliness by publishing information at least monthly and within one month.