Golden Opportunity for Transparency at UN Development Summit

by Gavin Baker, 9/17/2010

Yesterday, OMB Watch delivered a letter to President Obama calling for greater transparency in U.S. foreign aid. The letter asks the U.S. government to publicly commit to aid transparency at next week's UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Specifically, the letter calls for the administration to:

  • Publicly announce at the MDG Summit a commitment to transparency in U.S. aid and an exhortation for aid transparency globally;
  • Commit to vigorously and expeditiously implement the aid transparency initiative announced in USAID's MDGs strategy;
  • Ensure the U.S. actively participates in the International Aid Transparency Initiative to ensure the standards deliver for U.S. needs;
  • Explore other appropriate international efforts, such as technical assistance, to improve transparency and coordination in aid;
  • Demand high standards of transparency from international aid institutions to which the U.S. contributes; and
  • Encourage high standards of transparency from recipients of U.S. aid.

(Read the full letter here.)

The letter echoes recent appeals for aid transparency from other governance and development experts, such as the London Declaration for Transparency, the Free Flow of Information and Development, adopted at an international civil society conference last month. In addition, this week Transparency International released a report calling for transparency to combat corruption, which can stymie progress toward realizing the MDGs. Recent reports from Publish What You Fund and Oxfam America have focused specifically on the transparency of U.S. aid.

The stakes are high, both for U.S. taxpayers and for millions in the developing world. We're hopeful the administration will deliver.

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