Making Aid Accountable: Starting with You

Craig Fagan, Senior Policy Coordinator at Transparency International, highlights some of the main initiatives and campaigns to make aid more transparent ahead of the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea.  

Transparency is the trigger for change; accountability offers the mechanism to make it. This reality applies to a range of issues, especially development. With nearly US$ 130 billion spent globally on aid (also called official development assistance), transparency and accountability are the best ways to make sure these monies are effective at reaching those most in need and are not corrupted or mismanaged.

As the world leaders gear up to hammer out what more effective aid should look like next month in South Korea, let’s give them some long over-due advice. Effective aid is accountable aid that works to end global poverty. It is aid where information on flows is comparable, accessible and easy-to-understand, so every day citizens can see how much money is going where, when and what for. It is aid that fixes breakdowns in governance and prevents corruption from starting. It is aid that promotes citizen participation and ownership over the process, ensuring that citizens have the space to speak up and be heard.

Now is the time to be heard and send a clear message to governments: the South Korea meeting must result in “better aid for the world we want”. This motto is the title of a new campaign, launched by BetterAid (a 1.000-plus strong CSO platform) and GCAP (the Global Call to Action against Poverty). It is a campaign that gives all of us an opportunity to be accountable and ensure our leaders don’t forget that decisions are needed that will fight poverty, not create more of it.

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Craig Fagan

About Craig Fagan

Craig Fagan is Senior Policy Coordinator at Transparency International.

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2 Responses to Making Aid Accountable: Starting with You

  1. KALYAN GHOSH 29 October 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Controlling authority’s action is the prime factor in curbing corruption. But, when it’s unreceptive to take stock of the situation, then chaos is inevitable. Collapse of governance, atrocity rules the roost.
    Prevalent wide spread corruption in India has been condemned in the world over. Sri Anna Hazre’s campaign for Anticorruption is gaining momentum. At this juncture, Transparency International India’s invulnerability is indeed a big question mark.
    India Government is trying their best to thwart Anna ji’s campaign against corruption. Washing dirty linen in public will never get them mass support. Their [on the whole every political party’s] bastion of corrupt governance is at stake now, so these burst outs are from ruling party members. Other political parties have sealed their mouth with watch and wait strategy. Justice and truth shall prevail. Mass uprising/awareness will decide fate of the nation. Out bursts and counter out bursts will ultimately yield no conclusion. Isn’t it ironic that grievance redressal system is in total chaos in India? My sister-in-law’s service tenure is snatched away by the Director, Directorate of Secondary Education, HRD, Jharkhand. Competent authorities do not pay any heed to it. There is no provision to settle this ambiguity through electronic media. Jharkhand Government web portal do not have any option. No e-mail addresses of the chief secretary, Honorable Governor. Email address of honorable C.M. seems to be dormant, as no response to mails, incorrect e-mail addresses of nodal officers etc. A blatant lapse of government’s e-governance plan. N.I.C. can not help which they have asserted through e-mail. D.I.T. has acknowledged complaint but keeps mum. Honorable D.C., Ranchi has forwarded her representations to appropriate authorities three times, but these too have failed to yield any result. He has expressed his inability as well. Sri Yashwant Sinha, Honorable M.P. has forwarded her representation to Sri B N Ram, Honorable HRD Minister, Jharkhand. Several registered complaints of DARPG, President’s Secretariat Help Line, NCW, CORE Center, letter from PMO, have failed too to break silence of the concerned authority. A news report; Hindustan Times, Ranchi, 3rd September, 2010, has exposed the whole episode. All these things indicate collapse of governance. The matter has been brought to the notice of almost all the conceivable authorities. Transparency International India initially backed up but ultimately has failed to settle this logjam. Ms. Anupama Jha, Executive Director and Mr. Anshul Jain Regional Coordinator East Zone had taken personal interest and have communicated the same, but silence of the authority prevailed. Coexistence of exposed corruption with corruption watch dog organizations is a mockery.
    To combat with such gross injustice a robust, unbiased, transparent and accountable system has to be adopted to save the nation from further disgrace and humiliation. I wish Transparency International India take cognizance of the situation and extend whole hearted support to aggrieved, hapless commoner in India.

  2. Basti 11 November 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Great post. You raise some important points. Another issue that has to be dealt with, however, is how to monitor how aid spending for consulting services is being used. McKinsey’s involvement in the aid business is a prime example for this. Greenpeace released a report looking into McKinsey’s advice on REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and found that not only would their advice lead to increased levels of deforestation but also is there work not transparent. The director of Greenpeace UK just published a piece in the Guardian ( underlining that by refusing to publish the data that leads to their recommendations, McKinsey makes public scrutiny of their work impossible. So I think it is highly important that we look at transparency also on a micro-level in terms of whether the companies we are paying with public funds to deliver part of the development assistance are using that money in an accountable way!