China last again in global aid transparency index

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 08, 2014 12:06 AM

By Kieran Guilbert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - China took last place in an aid transparency index listing 68 donors released on Wednesday, which said the majority of the world's donors were not sharing enough information about their activities.

The Asian country took last place for the second year in a row in the index compiled by Publish What You Fund, followed by Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania and Malta, all of which were in the bottom 10 last year.

The United Nations Development Programme topped the index, followed by 2012's top performer, the UK Department for International Development, and the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation, which held the number one position last year.

The index assessed transparency among 68 aid-giving organizations worldwide, from countries including the United States and Germany, to organizations such as the World Bank and the Gates Foundation.

Rachel Rank, director of Publish What You Fund, said progress had stalled on a promise to publish aid information to an internationally agreed common standard by the end of 2015.

"The ranking shows that no matter how many international promises are made, and no matter how many speeches there are around openness, a startling amount of organizations are still not publishing what they fund," Rank said in a statement accompanying the release of the Aid Transparency Index.

Her report said that while a leading group of organizations were making continuous improvements to the information they published on current aid activities, more than half had made no significant progress over the past year.

Nearly a third of the organizations included in this year's index were classified as "very poor", lacking any concrete plan to start publishing their information in a more timely and comparable format, Publish What You Fund said.

Many of them failed to take a systematic approach to publishing information, and much of the data they made available was scattered across various websites or buried in PDF files, and was not always comprehensive or up to date, it said.

"This means there is still a long way to go in obtaining a full picture of all development flows, without which development effectiveness and improved donor coordination will be difficult to achieve," the report said.

Publish What You Fund is a global campaign for transparency over aid, calling on donors to make more information available in an accessible form.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert; editing by Tim Pearce)