For three consecutive years, from 2015 to 2017, the IATI found UNDP to be the most transparent aid organization in a ranking of multilateral and bilateral development agencies. While UNDP was second in 2018 behind the Asian Development Bank, it remains the most transparent institution in the UN system, ahead of many of its actual funding partners, which provides a strong argument for multilateral funding.
Member States and partners welcome such rankings, in a spirit of friendly competition between development actors, but also to demonstrate to taxpayers that multilateral organisations have the will and wherewithal to be transparency leaders. This is a hard-fought ranking and UNDP will continue to strive for top billing.
In greater accountability
Having spoken of the “what” and “how well”, the “who” is of interest as regards accountability.
UNDP reports on its results to its Executive Board of 36 Member States and to governments across 140+ programme countries where 90 percent of UNDP’s US$4.6bn expenditure in 2018 was spent on programmes and services to achieve development results.
An important aspect is the integrity in the connection between resources and results. After all, partners wish to invest scarce taxpayer development dollars in an organisation that can deliver results according to high expectations.
UNDP’s programming was considered to have a strong results-based focus, which was rated as highly satisfactory in the 2016 MOPAN assessment, stating that UNDP “demonstrates a strong corporate commitment to results-based management” and its “interventions are relevant to the needs and priorities of beneficiaries and aligned with national priorities”.
In better machinery
Performance assessments and rankings such as the MOPAN and IATI are important aspects of instilling faith in this ‘international machinery’ by establishing greater trust between citizens and the national and global institutions that serve their needs.
National and international organisations will continue to be under the spotlight in terms of effectiveness, transparency and accountability. And rightly so, for taxpayer funds should not be taken for granted even if for the noblest of objectives.
Of course, in a fast and changing world of needs, expectations and systems, there will always be scope for improvement. In 2020, UNDP will be cooperating with new performance initiatives and will again be assessed by the MOPAN, for which it has already committed to further improvements (PDF).
Finally, in 2020 UNDP will be undertaking another extensive Partnership Survey (PDF)which has already registered 11,000 entities from its world of partnerships and clients that will tell whether since 2017 they still consider UNDP “to be a valued partner” (89 percent), “has a favorable image” (87 percent) and whether UNDP needs to continue improving in its crisis response systems (48 percent).
After all, if you are in the business of advising governments on effective institutions, value for money and transparent elections, it’s always good to have your own house and machinery in order first.