The International Aid Transparency Initiative, a global effort aimed at improving the transparency of development and humanitarian resources and their results, has announced that the number of organizations reporting their development and humanitarian spending jumped by more than 45 percent in 2018, and that those organizations have increased their spending by a total of $7 billion since 2017, to $152 billion.
In its annual report, IATI noted that at the end of 2018 more than nine hundred donor governments, development finance institutions, UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and private sector organizations had reported their spending to IATI, which provides detailed information on resource flows, projects, and results achieved in developing countries.
According to the watchdog group, the increases were due to two factors: stepped-up humanitarian reporting, and NGO reporting requirements imposed by donors. In the former category, major donors and implementers, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the UN High Commission for Refugees, began reporting their aid to IATI in 2018, honoring the transparency commitments they made as part of the Grand Bargain Agreement at the UN World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. And in the reporting requirement category, the government of Belgium introduced mandatory rules requiring the aid organizations it funds to report their spending to IATI, following similar moves by the governments of the United Kingdom (in 2012) and the Netherlands (in 2016). The rules that took effect in April 2018 led to the publication of aid by Belgian NGOs on more than four hundred projects across forty-four countries.
"Over the last decade, the United Nations Development Programme has been a global leader in aid transparency. As a founding member of the International Aid Transparency Initiative, we have been at the heart of a global transparency movement, working to make information on development and humanitarian resources open and accessible for all development partners," said UNDP administrator Achim Steiner. "UNDP has also 'walked the talk,' holding ourselves to the highest standards in our own implementation of the IATI Standard. We have published detailed project and result information for more than four thousand projects worth over $5.5 billion in 2018. Opening our books has made us more accountable to our donors and partners."