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Access to Information: Aid Effectiveness is the True Test

Kate Henvey's picture

Are citizens receiving the greatest development impact for their development dollar? This is the same question I asked when the Publish What You Fund Aid Transparency Index was released in October 2013.

This week I found myself asking the same question as the 2013 World Bank Access to Information Report was released, highlighting how the Bank’s Access to Information Policy has provided the framework for the institution to emerge as a global leader in transparency and openness.

 “Of course, data and knowledge are not an end in themselves,” President Jim Kim noted in the opening message of the report, “ultimately the true test of our effectiveness is how we use this evidence to change the lives of over a billion people in extreme poverty.”

In Transparency & Social Accountability: Where’s the Magic? I discussed how panelists at the October 24th Brookings Institution launch of the 2013 ATI report suggested how transparency can catalyze positive change through government planning, donor-funded projects, and the demand side.

Following in this discourse, President Jim Kim highlighted how access to information spurs better aid effectiveness:

Integration of Aid Resources
The Bank partners with client governments in implementing international development aid transparency initiatives, as well as supporting initiatives in areas such as open budgets and open contracting. According to President Kim, “governments can use open aid data to integrate aid resources into their national budgets, and to better coordinate donor interventions within their borders.”

Finding and Delivering Local Solutions
The Bank is a leader in making available data and research so that citizens, journalists, students and other stakeholders can conduct their own analyses or collaborate with the Bank in studying development issues. And finding and delivering local solutions is indispensable to reaching those in extreme poverty, as well as boosting shared prosperity. 

Accountability
When the Bank opens its data and knowledge, and encourages governments to do the same, they are placing power into the hand of citizens and stakeholders. “This will allow development stakeholders—especially the poor—to fully understand this information, participate in development processes, and hold governments and development providers accountable,” notes President Kim.

Better integration of aid resources, finding and delivering local solutions and accountability by citizens and stakeholders will lead to better aid effectiveness. And better aid effectiveness is the only way we will be able to meet the challenge of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the bottom 40%.

Photo Credit: Tom Perry/World Bank
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