IATI: Maximizing Foreign Aid

foreign aid
Since its establishment on September 4, 2008 at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has already gleaned the cooperation of 160 organizations worldwide. IATI aims to make foreign aid more user-friendly by providing information to citizens about the allocation of resources, engendering governments with a sense of liability. The original members of the nascent IATI were Australia, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, GAVI Alliance, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK, UNDP, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank.

However, one of the landmark events in favor of the initiative took place on November 30, 2011 at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. In her keynote address in South Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared the that the United States would be adopting the IATI. This would foster a more accountable and trustworthy environment for global aid.

In a statement issued by Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, she declared that the undertakings of the IATI delineate a momentous change in the nature of foreign aid policies. Greening further proclaimed that the initiative has demonstrated that, “…when organizations commit to being more open and accountable, they become more than the sum of their parts.”

The method in which donor countries and recipient countries make their transactions visible for public knowledge is through the IATI standard, in which donors print their aid information on the website. Rather than simply mimicking pre-existing aid transparency initiatives, this initiative builds upon prior databases, aggrandizing public awareness of foreign aid. Additionally, the IATI Registry keeps an index of the array of data issued on the website for future reference.

Thus, this decision has the potential to maximize foreign aid as taxpayers now have the ability to scrutinize not only how much, but also how the United States is spending on aid. Furthermore, since the initiative will place taxpayers at more ease with the allocation of their money, they may become more willing to contribute to the fight against poverty.  With increased transparency and increased funds, IATI has the potential to make foreign aid more effective at mitigating the ravages of poverty.

Phoebe Pradhan

Sources: IATI, IATI, ONE
Photo: Giphy.com