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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Australian foreign aid transparency: improving but poor

AUSAID, the government aid agency, has been ranked 18 of 72 donors in the 2012 AID Transparency Index developed by Publish What You Fund. We scored 58% against 43 indicators drawn from the standards agreed in the International Aid Transparency Initiative that AUSAID signed up to last year.

One is the quality of the Freedom of Information Act, described in our case as Average on the basis of the Global Right To Information Rating by the Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info Europe.

The country assessment acknowledges a remarkable improvement in transparency but 58% still places AUSAID in the overall poor category. It notes Australia has not joined the Open Government Partnership (I know, I know "the matter is under discussion") - which would require us to have a national open government action plan developed in consultation with civil society, with our goals and steps to achieve them subject to international scrutiny and comparison:
AusAID improved remarkably with the third largest increase in score of all donors from the 2011 Pilot Index, having improved its score by 31 percentage points and its rank by 16 places. This improvement is largely due to its publication of activity data in IATI, resulting in AusAID scoring on 15 more indicators in the activity level than it did in 2011. However, it does relatively poorly at the country level, ranking 31st on this level, particularly when compared to its top 10 rankings for both the activity and organisation levels. AusAID’s IATI files are available in English. AusAID should continue to improve the quality and scope of its IATI data and produce a refreshed implementation schedule by December 2012. It should also endeavour to publish country level documents such as MoUs, evaluations and results consistently. Australia should also consider joining OGP.

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