3 October 2012

New Zealand’s place on the 2012 Aid Transparency Index has improved on previous years.

The rationale for this index produced by PublishWhatYouFund, is that  “Transparency is essential if aid is to truly deliver on its promise.” The general assessment is that the efforts of those who give and receive, is undermined  because there is too little readily available information about aid.

Aid organisations are assessed using 43 indicators. The indicators are largely good governance matters, including measuring  information legislation, its operational effectiveness and openness, procurement strategies and whether the organisation publishes an annual report. As about a quarter of the 72 organisations involved are national governments, those with open government practices tend to rate better on the index.

The index has a 20 percentile scaling of “good”, “fair” “moderate”, poor” or “very poor”. This year, for the first time, two organisations have been rated as “good” – the World Bank and the U.K. Department for International Development. Nearly half of the organisations were rated as “poor” or “very poor”.

New Zealand in 16th place, was at the top of the “moderate” group on the index, moving up from 30th last year. Some of this appears to be from a recalibration of the index! But the commentary includes that. “…This is due to the publication of activity level information on their website in a format similar to the IATI standard, though it still needs some work to make it compatible and it is not currently published to the IATI Registry. New Zealand increased most significantly at the activity level, scoring on 60% of indicators; it only scored for one of 18 activity level indicators in the 2011 Index…”  (IATI it the International Aid Transparency Initiative).

Recommendations include that New Zealand should also consider joining Open Government Partnership. Interestingly, PublishWhatYouFund is co-located in the newly established OpenGovHub in Washington with Global Integrity, an NGO which is supporting implementation of the Open Government Partnership. The Indaba platform operated by Global Integrity was used for the index – putting into practice the coordination across NGOs which motivated the establishment of the OpenGovHub.