4 Responses

  1. Alejandro Guerrero
    Alejandro Guerrero January 23, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Robin, thank you for a carefully thought post. Just a couple of quick reactions from my monitoring role at the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation:

    – I agree that international talk shows with no action can be a waste of time and resources. However, the Nairobi high-level meeting last December served to extract internationally-agreed commitments on several dimensions, chiefly on transparency, from donors, developing countries, CSOs and foundations. Besides the 22 specific commitments under the principles of transparency and accountability, the word “transparency” is also mentioned 30 times, in other sections, denoting how horizontal this theme has become within all sorts of issues to development effectiveness. Does it matter? Probably not by themselves. Commitments are not actions. But these provide legitimacy to other actors to keep development actors accountable for their achievement: civil society organisations certainly use them to put pressure; at the Global Partnership we use them to keep parties accountable through the country-led multistakeholder monitoring processes that we carry out every other year, and reformers and innovators inside every organisation can count with that international narrative to push for much needed internal reforms in this area. A world without commitment-generating regular platforms, that’s it, without attracting political attention, would be a much more fragmented world where global standards would have a rough time to spread.

    Here a quick link to the Nairobi Outcome Document.

    – My second point is a small clarification. You mention that our OECD/UNDP report “on this and other Busan commitments […] must be considered a self-assessment,…”. Just to clarify that for most indicators that we track, the monitoring data is gathered by 81 developing countries throughout inclusive processes, and we just benefit from those country level processes. In the case of transparency, the international community agreed to present three existing transparency assessments, those of IATI and those of the OECD-DAC secretariat, in parallel. These assessments are objectively produced by the secretariats of IATI and OECD-DAC using transparent methodologies, and we only compile them for the purposes of reporting. But the evaluees (i.e. the donors) do not have a say in the scoring. In fact, as you may see in the annex tables of the 2016 progress report, most donors score relatively low in one or several of these parallel assessments.

    Although there is an overall upward trend in terms of availability, much more needs to be done. In future editions of the monitoring report, we plan to incorporate the perspective of the users, which, as you rightly indicate, are the best judges on whether the information was timely, accessible, comprehensive, good quality and useful.

  2. Robert Cannon
    Robert Cannon January 23, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Robin, you conclude your Blog by stating that transparency advocates should push forward on both the supply and demand sides wherever the going is good. Thus, your Blog presents a demand-side opportunity to enquire about Australia’s current development initiative in Indonesian education, the $49 million Inovasi project.

    As you observe, Australia was one among many nations that made commitments at the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011. This includes a commitment to the principal of transparency and accountability to the intended beneficiaries of co-operation, as well as to citizens, organisations, constituents and shareholders. Transparent practices form the basis for enhanced accountability, this commitment asserts.

    In light of Australia’s commitment to this principal, it is reasonable to enquire about the progress of Inovasi. DFAT and the project manager provide scant publicly available and readily accessible information about this important project. After unaccounted for delays in 2015 and early 2016, all DFAT can tell us on its website about the progress of Inovasi is summarised in 150 words. Why the silence? Where is the transparency and accountability from this limited information?

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