Canada Recognized for its Aid Transparency and Accountability

October 24, 2013

OTTAWA — Today the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, welcomed the publication of the 2013 Aid Transparency Index in which Canada was commended for delivering on its commitments to transparent and accountable development assistance. Publish What You Fund – an independent advocacy group focusing on promoting greater aid transparency of major donors – ranked Canada 8th out of 67 donor countries and organizations.

"Canada is recognized around the world as a country that pays what it pledges while being open and transparent about where Canadian tax dollars are going and what they are doing," said Minister Paradis. "We will continue to take steps to maximize the results of our development programs and ensure they are delivering real results for those in need while remaining accountable to Canadians."

As a concrete demonstration of Canada's belief in the importance of transparency and accountability to achieving development results, Minister Paradis is proud to announce Canada will be providing financial support to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This funding will enable further work with donors, civil society organizations and partner countries to make data on development investments and results even more accessible.

"Our government continues to deliver on its commitments to international development, while taking concrete steps to make Canadian assistance more effective, focused and accountable," said Minister Paradis. "We are an active partner in the global effort to improve development transparency. In this way, we help ensure that all taxpayer dollars are making a real difference in the lives of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people."

The Aid Transparency Index has become the industry standard for assessing the state of aid transparency among the world's major donors while encouraging progress and holding them to account. More information on Canada's efforts towards aid transparency is available.

— 30 —

For more information, media should contact:

Margaux Stastny, Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: margaux.stastny@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Telephone: 819-995-1874
Email: media@international.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATDCanada

Backgrounder

International Aid Transparency Initiative

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) aims to improve the public availability and accessibility of information on aid. The former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) joined IATI in November 2011, and committed to the timelines agreed at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, for the publication of aid information.

IATI's objectives are consistent with the Government of Canada's Open Government initiative under which DFATD is taking important steps to give Canadians improved access to open data and open information. Over the past several years, Canada's development program has:

  • improved project-level information available in its searchable database of close to 3,000 projects;
  • made project information on international aid activities searchable in machine-readable formats;
  • published annual statistical and results reports on the Department’s website;
  • published reports, evaluations, audits, and country strategies on its website; and
  • geo-mapped development projects.

On October 24, 2013, Canada announced its contribution to the IATI Secretariat — a total of US$313,250 over three years. Canada's funding will enable further improvements to the IATI standards and will provide support for donors, civil society organizations and partner countries to publish and use data on development investments and results.

More information on IATI is available at www.aidtransparency.net.

Publish What You Fund

Publish What You Fund (PWYF) is an independent advocacy group based in London, England and funded by the Hewlett Organization and the Open Society Foundation among others. It focuses on promoting the aid transparency of major donors.

This will be the third year that Publish What You Fund will publish its Aid Transparency Index. Several dimensions of transparency are assessed (e.g., Freedom of Information legislation), although many indicators relate to the standard agreed under the IATI. While the Index takes into consideration information available on an organization's website, higher marks are attributed for data published in IATI data files.

This year, Canada ranked 8th out of 67 donor organizations reviewed by Publish What You Fund, placing it in the Good category. Last year, Canada ranked 32nd out of 72 and was placed in the Moderate category. This represents a major improvement over last year and Canada is highlighted as having strongly improved over previous years. To provide some perspective, this year, only four organizations made the top (Very Good) category. Meanwhile, five organizations (including the former CIDA) were considered Good and 16 assessed as Fair. Closing out the Index, 16 were assessed a Poor rating, and 26 were given a rating of Very Poor.

Canada was congratulated by Publish What You Fund for beginning publication to the IATI standard ahead of schedule in October 2012, as well as for its ambitious implementation schedule to publish more than 90 percent of IATI fields by 2015.

Open Government

The Government of Canada's Open Government initiative aims to foster open government by offering Canadians greater opportunities to learn about and participate in government, in the economy and in our democratic process.

The expansion of open government is being pursued through:

  • Open Data, offering government data in a more useful and machine-readable format;
  • Open Information, proactively releasing information, including government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis; and
  • Open Dialogue, giving Canadians a stronger say in government policies and priorities.

This commitment to open government is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to foster greater openness and accountability, strengthen the democratic reform agenda and drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians.

For more information, visit Canada's Open Government website.