Publish What You Fund launched their fourth annual Aid Transparency Index (ATI) today. The overall finding is that while many donors have made a number of international aid transparency commitments, the majority are falling short and not publishing useful information.
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We’re getting closer to knowing how the USG spends its foreign assistance dollars. Recently, the State Department announced its first release of foreign assistance data on the ForeignAssistance.gov website (also known as “The Dashboard”).
On April 25, the Philippine government launched Version 2.0 of its Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH). FAiTH records all foreign aid and assistance, in pledges, cash, and non-cash donations, given to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The portal offers detailed information, by donor. Information can be accessed online or downloaded for further analysis. As of today, FAiTH indicates that the government has received $762 million in foreign assistance, of which $248 million is cash and $514 is in-kind assistance. The total amount of cash received by the government, including from domestic sources, is $336 million.
Politicians and agency officials are always morally indignant when it comes to corruption in foreign aid, pointing to elaborate procedures and investigative offices to prove that they are “tough” and calling for zero tolerance (most recently here and here). However, for most governments and agencies, corruption is only a problem when it is discovered. That is when it becomes an obstacle to disbursing funds and keeping business moving.
January 12, 2014 marks the fourth anniversary of the massive quake in Haiti that left over 200,000 people dead and several million people homeless. The response from rich countries was overwhelming—over $9 billion was disbursed towards relief and reconstruction efforts ($3 billion from the United States, an estimated $3 billion in private contributions, and another $3 billion from foreign governments).
As the fourth anniversary of the massive, January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti approached, I invited CGD senior fellows Vijaya Ramachandran and Michael Clemens, experts respectively on disaster relief and labor mobility, to join me on the Wonkcast to discuss the role of outsiders in trying to assist Haiti’s recovery.