Erle Frayne D. Argonza

“Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?” desperately asked a development worker unto a magic mirror, confronted as she is with the question of transparency in donor funding and utilization. The magical mirror then gently responded,”search it in your heart, dearest one, for you might not believe me if I tell you.”

I wish I could say this: transparency in aid offering is a non-existent thing, a chimerical stuff that is only fit for the most ridiculous soap operas. From the source of funds down to the recipients, there are grey transactions, kickbacks or whatever. For instance, a water utilities project that would cost merely US $100 Millions can be inflated 10X as much to total US $1 Billions, as cost estimates are padded with a collusion from the donor agency and the recipients (consultants who do the feasibility study are then bribed to maintain “silence of the lambs.”)

I wasn’t born yesterday, and I am deeply aware of the non-transparent transactions in the aids business. I know of technical consultants who can testify in any appropriate body (legislative, judicial) concerning the dirty transactions if given the opportunities to squeal information.

Below is a relevant discussion concerning the subject.

[Philippines, 09 November 2011]


Global Initiative Alarmed Over ‘Pushback’ on Aid Transparency Commitments as Busan Forum Nears
Posted by Che de los Reyes on 10 October 2011 07:02:00 AM
A global aid transparency group has expressed alarm over the “pushback” in aid transparency commitments among donor countries while the text for the final document to be approved in the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan next month is being negotiated.
According to the campaign group Publish What You Fund, a number of donors seem to be ”attempting to dilute or undermine” commitments to aid transparency “by removing all references to the International Aid Transparency Initiative” and implementation deadlines during the “Working Party on Aid Effectiveness” meeting in Paris this week.
The IATI provides a common format and agreed standard for donors’ reporting on aid.
In the meeting hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — the last before the Nov 29 to Dec. 1 Busan forum — donor countries, particularly Japan, the United States and Germany, are disagreeing on deadlines for reducing tied aid, Publish What You Fund said.
Other countries such as Ireland and Norway, despite being founding members of IATI, are silent on the matter. China, meanwhile, is proposing to delete the whole transparency section from the text, the group said.
This “evasiveness” on actual commitments, however, comes despite the fact that donors are “seriously off track to meet their aid effectiveness targets” that were agreed upon six years ago.
But the co-chairs of the working party have stressed the importance of IATI and the need for donors to agree on implementation dates. They also stressed there are more commitments from partner countries than donors.
Despite the perceived turning back by some donors on their commitments, Publish What You Fund noted that a number of large donors have expressed support for IATI. These include the World Bank, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the European Commission.
The global initiative is thus urging the international community to prevent “a handful of countries from undermining the hopes of a successful meeting in Busan.”
“At a time when aid budgets are under huge pressure,” the campaign group said, “failure to deliver on transparency and accountability could have serious implications for the funding of life-saving poverty reduction efforts around the world.”
Read more:
• What Happens When Donors Fail to Meet Their Commitments?
• Commonwealth Ministers Urge for Greater Aid Transparency
• Ahead of Busan Meeting, African Leaders Discuss Aid Reforms
• European Commission Outlines Priorities for Upcoming Aid Effectiveness Summit
• In Busan, Civil Society to Push for Human Rights-based Development
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.
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