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


The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) offers a solution for those that assume corruption in developing countries prevent aid from reaching the most impoverished. The IATI makes information about aid spending easier to access, use, and understand through its website.

Developing countries face huge challenges in accessing up-to-date information about aid – information that they need to plan and manage those resources effectively. Similarly, citizens in developing countries and in donor countries lack the information they need to hold their governments accountable for the use of those resources.  In a foreword to the IATI 2012 annual report, UK Development Secretary Justine Greening MP says: “Transparency of aid flows is critical to good aid delivery. It helps reduce waste, fight corruption and makes sure money gets to the people who need it most.”

IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the transparency of aid in order to increase its effectiveness in tackling poverty. IATI brings together donors and developing countries, civil society organizations and other experts in aid information who are committed to working together to increase the transparency of aid.

Over 140 organizations are now publishing their data to the IATI in an open data platform that gives a timely, comprehensive and comparable picture of aid flows in order to improve accountability and impact.  Germany is the latest country to begin publishing its data in line with the IATI common standard, with Russia signaling its intention to join. Meanwhile IATI’s membership has grown to include 37 donor signatories who together represent 75% of global official development finance.

– Maria Caluag

Source: IATI