Transparency International, the anti-corruption organisation, last week called on the international donor community meeting in Busan, South Korea, to fight corruption by endorsing stronger aid transparency standards.
It said as the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, South Korea, governments seem far from consensus on making aid transparency a reality beyond words and promises.
“Some governments must stop the stonewalling and make their aid process transparent, and accountable. This is the only way to ensure aid is locally-owned and that donor monies benefit communities rather than fuel corruption and mismanagement,” said Craig Fagan, Senior Policy Coordinator for Transparency International.
Transparency and accountability in development aid saves more lives and livelihoods by protecting donor monies from corruption and mismanagement. If aid flows are transparent and monitored, particularly by local communities, corruption can be quickly rooted out and deterred, making aid more effective for the people that matter most.
“Corruption takes a terrible toll on people’s lives, especially those living below-poverty-line. Political leadership and citizen participation are crucial to stop corruption in development aid. We need to see an agreement on key actions and timelines for making this happen,” said Rueben Lifuka, the President of Transparency International Zambia.
Transparency International, along with leading civil society organisations, is calling on all donors to endorse and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative. It requires signatories to follow a common and comparable standard for reporting aid flows. The Initiative signatories represent 51 per cent of aid flows. This should be expanded to include all major donors and new donors, such as private foundations and emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India.
“Anti-corruption principles that have been enshrined since the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness in 2005 need to apply to all donors. There is no opt-out clause when it comes to transparency,” said Anupama Jha, Executive Director of TI India. “Yet we are seeing a ‘not-me’ attitude in Busan as governments negotiate on an agreement”.
TI is calling for the official Busan communiqué to include the following:
n IATI to be endorsed as a standard for transparent reporting on aid flows
nCivil society and local communities must be part of the decision making and implementation process
nNo donors, including new donors such as China and Brazil, can opt out of anti-corruption measures in aid
nThe anti-corruption agenda for aid must be linked to implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global framework to fight corruption
nA government’s or organisation’s anti-corruption agenda must extend to its own aid practices.
nAid must not be used as a quid-pro-quo for questionable investment deals.