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Aid transparency drop “unacceptable” - Sarah Champion MP

13 July 2022

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, has said it is unacceptable that, according to a respected aid watchdog’s Aid Transparency Index, British foreign aid spending has become less transparent in recent years.

The Publish What You Fund organisation, which calculates the Index, found that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had dropped seven places in the latest rankings of international aid funders compared with the last time the UK’s performance was judged. The agencies judged most transparent are at the top of the list.

The previous ranking exercise was undertaken prior to the aid budget being taken from the former Department for International Development (DFID) to be administered by the newly formed FCDO.

The FCDO also dropped out of the Index’s ‘Very Good’ category and was beaten on the transparency rankings by, among others, the African Development Bank and several United Nations agencies.

Publish What You Fund said transparency plays an important role in demonstrating the impact and effectiveness of aid, in supporting improvements in the quality of aid, and in helping the development community learn from both successes and failures.

The Index scores major aid organisations against 35 indicators, each corresponding to the availability and accessibility of a particular type of information.

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“My Committee has expressed concerns before about the possible impact of the DFID/FCDO merger on aid transparency. Sadly, it appears that these concerns have now been realised.

“It is unacceptable that FCDO now ranks lower on this year’s Aid Transparency Index than the ranking previously held by DFID and that, since the last Index, it has also lost its “very good” rating.

“Transparency in aid spending is vital. Without high-quality data we cannot be sure that aid is reaching the world’s poorest people and delivering value for money. The FCDO must explore how to improve the quality of the data it publishes. The Committee will continue to hold the department to account on this”.

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