WASHINGTON, D.C. – Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government aid agency, was rated as the most transparent donor organization and ranked number one among 67 organizations evaluated in Publish What You Fund’s 2013 Aid Transparency Index.
The Aid Transparency Index (ATI) is recognized as the global industry standard for assessing aid transparency among leading development agencies. Publish What You Fund was started five years ago, and it is a London-based global campaign for aid transparency and open government.
The success of MCC is indicative of the important steps towards aid transparency as laid in the president’s executive order (May 9, 2013) and bulletin 12-01. Both of these not only provide comprehensive policy guidance on the collection of foreign aid data and information, but also position a U.S. agency for compliance to international standards such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP). The AIT survey results are a week ahead of OGP’s annual summit in London next week.
MCC’s efforts paid off as it moved up from the ninth spot (out of 72 donors) in the 2012 index to the top spot in 2013.
“Of course, it is great to be recognized for the hard thinking and hard work that so many MCC staff have put into improving our transparency practices,” wrote Sheila Herrling on the Sacramento Bee’s PR newswire. Herrling is MCC’s Vice President for Policy and Evaluation.
“But the real rewards will come when these efforts lead to the intended outcomes—when the countries we work with have the information they need to manage aid flows and when their citizens have data required to hold their own governments accountable,” Herrling continued.
This year MCC is the leader among the pack of U.S. government agencies. The U.S. Treasury came in the 19th spot, while USAID was ranked as 22nd. The World Bank – IDA took the fifth spot, just a notch behind the UNDP. China was ranked last on the index.
“MCC publishes its aid information in the IATI format, right down to results level – in contrast, there is no way to confirm even the total amount of aid provided by China,” wrote Dr. David Hall-Matthews, Managing Director of Publish What You Fund, on the ATI website.
Forty-two out of the 67 donor organizations surveyed scored “Poor” or “Very Poor.” While the top four agencies received the score of “Very Good,” five other agencies received a “Good” score and 16 scored “Fair.”
The average score of all 67 organizations, however, remains low. Twenty-six of these organizations scored less than 20 percent. This implies that while many international development commitments are made, a large number of aid organizations have room for improvement in terms of their transparency goals.
Dr. Hall-Matthews noted that several governments and organizations, including Canada, Germany, GAVI, UNDP, UNICEF and the U.S. Treasury have made vast improvements by publishing more information in “accessible and comparable formats.” He emphasized that the essential principle is for aid information to be “made publicly available in easy to use formats,” which is currently recognized as the central component of international development.
What’s next if every agency achieves the ranking that corresponds to MCC’s standard?
“Being transparent is not an end in itself, it’s a process of fulfilling a commitment to accountability,” wrote David Saldivar on the Oxfam website. Saldivar is a policy and advocacy advisor on aid transparency at Oxfam America.
He states, “Transforming the U.S. and other donors into better development partners must be the goal for which to keep striving, even for those high-quality aid data producers like MCC.”
– Flora Khoo
2013 Aid Transparency Index
|U.S. – Millennium Challenge Corporation||1||88.88||Very Good|
|U.K. – DFID||3||83.49||Very Good|
|World Bank – IDA||5||73.81||Good|
|African Development Bank||7||63.70||Good|
|Canada – CIDA||8||62.58||Good|
|Sweden – Sida||9||60.38||Good|
|Asian Development Bank||10||57.64||Fair|
|Inter-American Development Bank||11||57.11||Fair|
|Denmark – MFA||15||50.70||Fair|
|Netherlands – MFA||16||49.37||Fair|
|New Zealand – MFAT||18||47.76||Fair|
|Germany – BMZ-GIZ||20||45.90||Fair|
|Germany – BMZ-KfW||23||43.71||Fair|
|Australia – AUSAid||24||43.12||Fair|
|World Bank – IFC||29||30.13||Poor|
|Korea – KOICA||30||27.94||Poor|
|Norway – MFA||31||26.94||Poor|
|Ireland – Irish Aid||32||26.65||Poor|
|Czech Republic – CzDA||35||24.41||Poor|
|Estonia – MFA||36||23.56||Poor|
|Japan – JICA||37||23.51||Poor|
|Belgium – DGCD||38||23.40||Poor|
|Finland – MFA||39||22.99||Poor|
|U.S. State Department||40||22.14||Poor|
|Austria – ADA||41||20.39||Poor|
|Luxembourg – MFA||42||19.20||Very Poor|
|Gates Foundation||43||18.12||Very Poor|
|Switzerland – SDC||44||18.08||Very Poor|
|Latvia – MFA||45||17.80||Very Poor|
|Portugal – CICL||46||17.43||Very Poor|
|Spain – MAEC-AECID||47||17.41||Very Poor|
|Japan – MOFA||48||17.17||Very Poor|
|France – AFD||49||16.31||Very Poor|
|U.S. PEPFAR||50||16.09||Very Poor|
|Romania – MFA||51||14.78||Very Poor|
|France – MAE||52||13.25||Very Poor|
|France – MINEFI||53||12.17||Very Poor|
|UK – MOD||54||12.03||Very Poor|
|Slovakia – SAIDC||55||11.98||Very Poor|
|Brazil – ABC||56||11.82||Very Poor|
|Poland – MFA||57||11.35||Very Poor|
|Slovenia – MFA||58||10.80||Very Poor|
|Germany – AA||59||10.04||Very Poor|
|Italy – MAE||60||9.98||Very Poor|
|Lithuania – MFA||61||8.22||Very Poor|
|Cyprus – Cyprus Aid||62||6.45||Very Poor|
|Bulgaria –MFA||63||5.67||Very Poor|
|Hungary –MFA||64||4.72||Very Poor|
|Malta – MFA||65||3.78||Very Poor|
|Greece – Hellenic Aid||66||3.61||Very Poor|
|China – MOFCOM||67||2.22||Very Poor|