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The debate continues – Andrew Mitchell’s response to Madeleine Bunting

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Andrew Mitchell wrote an article in the Guardian today. It was in response to Madeleine Bunting, who has been critical of DFID’s new policy direction, in particular their “3-part mantra… (of) value for money, focus on results and transparency”.  We commented on this article last week, emphasising the importance of transparency in aid and the many benefits it can bring to the aid process.

Much of what we outlined in that article was also covered by Andrew Mitchell today in his article. We clearly share similar beliefs when it comes to aid transparency, believing that it has the potential to be a force for change in aid.

Something that Mitchell did not mention, however, was the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the role that this is playing in bringing about aid transparency. Launched in Accra in September 2008, IATI brings together donors, developing country governments, NGOs and aid experts to produce more timely, accessible and meaningful information and data on aid. It means that all donor signatories (18, so far, who account for more than half of all global aid) will publish their data on aid in a compatible way and to pre-agreed standards. Ultimately, this will mean that aid is more transparent, and that those who receive aid and benefit from it are able to access this data, holding donors and governments to account, and also able to provide meaningful feedback.

The UK is an IATI signatory; DFID have agreed to publish data on aid they have given and aid they have promised to give. In keeping with their new Aid Transparency Guarantee, this is a purposeful step towards being more transparent and accountable, making sure that aid is more effective and that our tax money goes further. Mitchell may have found it too detailed to mention in his article today, but it is a hugely important part of the aid transparency process, and one which continues to grow.

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