Commonwealth countries commit to transparency

  • Sept. 23, 2011

We were pleased to read the statement released by the Commonwealth yesterday that all member states will stand behind the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), or an IATI-compatible standard, to ensure transparency in aid flows.

Commonwealth finance ministers, who met in Washington DC yesterday, have called on the international community to be more transparent in the delivery and use of aid and in increasing mutual accountability.

They acknowledged that the way aid is delivered can sometimes impact on domestic accountability in both donor and partner countries. To address this issue they state that aid flows and tracking systems need to be more transparent for both parties.

As a way of achieving this, they are looking toward a common standard for publishing aid information, stating that they will:

collectively support the adoption of IATI or an IATI-compatible standard.

To get this process underway for those Commonwealth member states not yet involved, they will release a timetable of when and how they plan to adopt these standards.

Ministers recognised their role in ensuring that aid is effectively used and the importance of greater aid transparency efforts. To this end, in addition to asking donors states to adopt the IATI standard, Commonwealth member parter countries have called on donors to:

fast-track the implementation of key components needed to deliver on aid effectiveness commitments including publishing information on results, conditions, activity-level budgets and future flows: to explore how best to include non-ODA flows in IATI, including the rapid integration of climate finance into IATI; and to ensure that contractors employed by donors use IATI.

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, emphasised the large role that Commonwealth countries play in global aid flows, stating:

The Commonwealth currently occupies a central and influential position in global aid flows with a large number of members comprising aid recipients and a growing number as aid donors. Commonwealth members of the Development Action Committee (DAC) of the OECD provide annual aid exceeding $23 billion while aid received by Commonwealth developing countries aggregates some $28 billion.  Our members account for 18 per cent of global ODA disbursements and 22 per cent of receipts from DAC donors.

We really welcome this positive development. We look forward to hearing more from member states on their progress with signing, endorsing and implementing IATI; keep an eye out here for any new developments.