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The U.S. QuODA Score Improves with IATI Signing

This is a joint post with Will McKitterick.

When the second edition of the Quality of Official Development Aid (QuODA) index was released, I blogged on the poor score for the United States and had suggested that signing onto IATI – the International Aid Transparency Initiative – was one easy way to improve its grade.

U.S. Signs IATI, but the Proof Is in the Publishing

With the development community back from Busan, it’s time to break down what went right and wrong at last week’s meetings. The consensus seems to be that the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) in Busan was a mixed bag – some promises, few commitments, little progress (see here for a good breakdown of the meetings from Nancy Birdsall).

How the Open Government Partnership May Have Contributed to Busan

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz

“The defining division these days is increasingly: open or closed? Are we open to the changing world? Or do we see its menace, but not its possibilities?”

—Tony Blair, A Global Alliance for Global Values, September 2006

It is easy to be cynical about international summits and their carefully drafted communiqués. But they sometimes matter more than people expect. (If they didn’t, why would government officials put so much time and effort into negotiating the text?) Even if the text is often a bland compromise, these meetings can help to move an issue forward, by locking in a new consensus which forms the platform for further progress.

Will Donors Hide behind China?

This post was originally featured on Owen Barder’s Owen Abroad: Thoughts on Development and Beyond blog.

Will the largest aid donors hide behind China to excuse their inability to make substantial improvements in foreign aid? How can Busan balance the desire to be more universal with the pressing need for real changes in the way aid is given?

U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard: Show Me the Data!

Yesterday, I was happy to see the MCC finally publish aid data to the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, the government’s one-stop-shop for foreign assistance budget and appropriations information. But upon further examination of the website, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated when I noticed the dearth of new data available in the tool. Nearly a year has passed since the Dashboard was launched in December 2010, and the U.S. government has yet to come up with the majority of its promised haul of agency data.

New Foreign Assistance Legislation Promotes Transparency and Accountability

This is a joint post with Will McKitterick.

In this season of budget battles and extreme partisanship, seeing eye to eye on the Hill is a rare commodity. Nevertheless, in an unusual moment of bipartisan agreement, Members of Congress introduced a bill that takes two big steps towards making U.S. foreign assistance more transparent, accountable, and effective.

Introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Howard Berman (D-CA), the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 3159) achieved strong bipartisan backing from 30 cosponsors in the House. The bill follows in the footsteps of reform recommendations offered by the administration in the PPD and QDDR, and legislation introduced the 111th Congress.[1] Simply put, H.R. 3159 seeks to eliminate ineffective aid programs and bolster those that work by strengthening the government’s foreign assistance monitoring and evaluation regime. In doing so, it may also save the tax payer a pretty penny.

Senator Lugar: Greater Transparency, Clear Objectives Needed for U.S. Aid to Pakistan

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai and Molly Kinder.

Senator Richard Lugar’s new opinion piece on Foreign Policy’s website lays out the case that a strong economic partnership with Pakistan is in U.S. national interests. Lugar argues that the recent failed bombing in Times Square and the subsequent arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American who had received bomb-making training in Pakistan’s volatile FATA region, is only a further reminder of how critical cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan remains.