Once more, UNDP is being ranked among the most transparent aid organisations in the world, as per the 2018 Aid Transparency Index of the nonprofit Publish What You Fund (PWYF). With a score of 95.4 percent, at number 2, UNDP shows steady improvement, re-affirming its commitment to transparency. Only 7 of the 45 participating organisations made to the “very good” category, compared with 10 in the last Index in 2016. This reiterates the question – Are we all doing enough to make a real impact on aid effectiveness through transparency?
In launching the 2016 index, PWYF stated that, despite a steady improvement in transparency since 2011, “the quality of most donors’ data [was] still not good enough to be used by stakeholders”, leading to a thorough index methodology review. This highlights the critical issue of data quality and usability as we seek to attract public interest for aid data.
As a founding member of International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), UNDP understands the need for quality data and strives to increase and diversify the use of the data by promoting better awareness, knowledge and user-friendly access.
By adopting the IATI publishing standard in 2011, we had more opportunities than ever before to collect and produce high-quality data. As part of an ongoing effort to meet the IATI Standard, we established various internal procedures to produce high quality data and introduced formal quality controls to ensure the quality and comprehensiveness of the data we publish.
From the get go, we took steps to ensure that our data was accessible and available to all. This led to the development and launch of the UNDP Transparency Portal in 2012, providing easy access to documents and information about thousands of UNDP projects. Today, we are launching a revamped portal, open.undp.org, which features enhanced project and country level information with detailed data on donor contributions.
Our new portal is smartphone friendly, providing instant access to large amounts of UNDP project data. An improved search function provides information at the fingertips of the public, and allows raw data export and report generation. The new system has been built following a thorough internal and external feedback process as we strongly believe true transparency does not end with publishing good data but requires extra efforts to ensure it can be used effectively. By responding to emerging needs and providing an enhanced user experience we hope to encourage more people to find more uses for the rich stream of data.
The new portal includes UNDP’s contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), making UNDP the first UN agency to publish SDG-related expenditures to the public, and responding to a recent call by the UN Secretary General to “reinforce transparency on agency-specific expenditures and results through system-wide enrolment into the International Aid Transparency Initiative”.
As we work together towards the realisation of the 2030 Agenda, the need for information has never been greater. By making SDG-related information openly available, UNDP expects to stimulate the use of data and advocate for even greater aid transparency among aid and humanitarian organisations.
We also recently launched the first ever IATI online learning course, available to the general public on open.undp.org. The course aims to enhance the awareness and knowledge of IATI and help data publishers improve data quality, comprehensiveness and compliance with the IATI Standard and data usability.
We continue to increase our efforts to use IATI data for internal planning and resource allocation for development activities around the world. As a global leader in transparency, UNDP remains committed to continue working with both UN agencies and partner countries to improve aid transparency and IATI reporting, thus increasing aid effectiveness and nudging us all further along the path towards achieving the SDGs.