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Germany

Transparency in Development Policy (DE0006)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Germany National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Support Institution(s): Federal executive agencies (GIZ, KfW), BMUB, Federal Foreign Office

Policy Areas

Aid, Fiscal Transparency, Open Data, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Germany Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Description: To meet international transparency requirements in Germany’s development cooperation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will carry out consultations and improve data quality. Aim: In addition to meeting international transparency requirements in Germany’s development cooperation, the quality and quantity of data is to be improved. Moreover, civil society and the government are to engage in forms of transparency dialogue (events, workshops), and a more userfriendly data format for BMZ IATI information is to be developed. Status quo: Transparency and accountability are key concerns of Germany’s development policy. At the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011, participants agreed on introducing a uniform transparency standard for development services. This Common Open Standard for Aid Transparency is based on the requirements of the statistical reporting system of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the standard of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), of which Germany was a founding member. With the Common Open Standard for Transparency, donor and partner countries as well as civil society and public sector organizations jointly seek to provide comprehensive and understandable information about how the money of international development cooperation is spent. In December 2012, the BMZ published a national plan to implement the transparency standards. Since March 2013, it has been publishing comprehensive information about projects and programmes of bilateral development cooperation in line with the IATI standard. To improve the quality and quantity of the data, the BMZ works closely with its executive organizations. To advance implementation of the international transparency requirements in Germany’s development cooperation, the BMZ has entered into a more intensive dialogue with the federal ministries and civil society. Since 2008, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has been publishing information about all projects of the International Climate Initiative (IKI); since June 2016 IKI data have been published in line with the IATI standard. New or ongoing: ongoing Implemented by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Organizations involved in implementation: Federal executive agencies (GIZ, KfW), BMUB, Federal Foreign Office Organizational unit and contact: Division 414, Karin.Jansen@bmz.bund.de Ambition: The BMZ continuously seeks to improve the quality and quantity of its data, thus promoting transparency in development cooperation, laying the foundation for effective development cooperation also in view of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Open government values addressed: Participation, transparency, accountability, technology/innovation Relevance: Transparency in development cooperation is a key measure that meets the requirements of good governance and accountability. In addition, implementing the IATI standard fulfils secondary requirements by involving businesses and civil society and creating technical prerequisites and interoperability standards for re-using the data (also as open data).

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Transparency in Development Policy

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“To meet international transparency requirements in Germany’s development cooperation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will carry out consultations and improve data quality.”

Milestones:

6.1 Carrying out at least two events/workshops

6.2 Optimizing data quality and quantity of the IATI record published by the BMZ

6.3 Publishing an updated and detailed BMZ IATI record monthly

6.4 Setting up an expert group (of the federal administration) to discuss issues of open development policy, also with civil society

Start Date: June 2017

End Date: May 2019

Context and Objectives

According to the action plan, “[t]ransparency and accountability are key concerns of Germany’s development policy.” [25] In 2012, Germany developed a national action plan to implement a 2011 commitment by major development donors to work toward a common standard for the transparency of development services. Since 2013, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, has published an increased amount of information on its aid programming. Its reporting aligns with the reporting formats of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

This commitment seeks to help further improve the quality and usability of this reporting, in close consultation with civil society. Milestone 6.4 calls for establishing an expert group with civil society to discuss issues of open data.

Publish What You Fund, a nongovernmental organization specializing in aid transparency, welcomes the move. The group rates Germany’s aid transparency performance as “good” and “fair,” respectively, for its technical cooperation as implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit) and for its financial cooperation as implemented by KfW Entwicklungsbank. The group also identified room for improvement, for example, regarding subnational granularity, local feedback loops, performance-related information, and promotion of the disclosure efforts. [26]

Granular, comprehensive, and timely reporting of aid flows stand as prerequisites for transparency and accountability. These characteristics enable both recipients and donors to follow the money, identify if articulated policy priorities match actual financial allocations, and explore how the latter do or do not translate into outcomes, impact, and local stakeholder engagement.

Milestone 6.4 calls for setting up an expert group within the federal government to discuss issues of open data and exchange with civil society. The commitment is relevant to access to information and civic participation. However, the commitment is not relevant to technology and innovation, as online publishing alone does not meet the qualifications for this area.

The milestones are verifiable but only generally. Plans to optimize data quality (6.2) or carry out workshops (6.1) do not explain in sufficient detail how these measures would open government beyond what IATI already affords. While adequate data quality is a critical issue for all IATI participants it is part of already existing IATI expectations and upgrades are unlikely to exceed these expectations. Switching to a monthly updating cycle (6.3), as opposed to the current practice of updating every six months, is a noteworthy improvement with which the ministry joins around fifty other IATI participants committed to such a target. The overall potential impact of this commitment on opening government is however judged as minor, absent more details on envisioned targets for the milestones.

Next steps

Development aid transparency is an important policy area and therefore could be carried forward to the next action plan. The IRM researcher recommends that:

  • activities and milestones be linked to more specific targets and performance criteria in terms of improving data quality and civil society participation in the International Aid Transparency Initiative implementation context;
  • amended and/or additional milestones in this area for the second action plan explicitly consider the shortcomings and priorities identified by leading civil society’s aid transparency assessments (such as those from Publish What You Fund); [27] and
  • forward-looking commitments in this area explore and work toward responses to the emerging challenges of aid transparency in the context of blended-finance mechanisms. [28]

[25] Federal Government of Germany. First National Action Plan 2017–2019, 17, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/germany-action-plan-2019-2021/.

[26] “Germany,” Publish What You Fund, http://www.publishwhatyoufund.org/donors/germany/#.

[27] Publish What You Fund homepage, http://www.publishwhatyoufund.org/.

[28] “Better Blending: Making the Case for Transparency and Accountability in Blended Finance,” Transparency International, 18 December 2018, https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/better_blending.


Commitments

  1. Participatory development of research and innovation policy

    DE0022, 2019, Public Participation

  2. Participatory creation of regulatory policy

    DE0023, 2019, Public Participation

  3. Digital strategy pilot for rural regions

    DE0024, 2019, Public Service Delivery

  4. Open government in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0025, 2019, E-Government

  5. Policy co-creation in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0026, 2019, Land & Spatial Planning

  6. Data sovereignty in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0027, 2019, E-Government

  7. Open government portal in Saxony

    DE0028, 2019, Civic Space

  8. Open-source software in public administrations in Schleswig-Holstein

    DE0029, 2019, Subnational

  9. Regional Open Government Labs

    DE0016, 2019, OGP

  10. Civil Society Consulation on Foreign Policy

    DE0017, 2019,

  11. Create youth strategy

    DE0018, 2019, Marginalized Communities

  12. Craete federal agency for digital innovation

    DE0019, 2019,

  13. Transparency and participation in international aid

    DE0020, 2019,

  14. Strengthen and socialize open data policy

    DE0021, 2019, Open Data

  15. Conditions for OGP Participation

    DE0001, 2017, OGP

  16. Open Data in Administrative Practice

    DE0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  17. Open Data Environment

    DE0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  18. Access to Spatial Data

    DE0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  19. Financial Transparency - EITI Standard

    DE0005, 2017, E-Government

  20. Transparency in Development Policy

    DE0006, 2017, Aid

  21. Open Data for Intelligent Mobility

    DE0007, 2017, E-Government

  22. Citizen Participation in Environmental Policy and Urban Development

    DE0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  23. Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits

    DE0009, 2017, E-Government

  24. Knowledge Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

    DE0010, 2017, E-Government

  25. Local Alliances for Family Initiative

    DE0011, 2017, Public Participation

  26. Share of Women and Men in Leadership Positions, Private and Private Sectors

    DE0012, 2017, E-Government

  27. Open Access to Academic Literature

    DE0013, 2017, E-Government

  28. Science Year 2018

    DE0014, 2017, Public Participation

  29. Federal Competition “Living Together Hand in Hand”

    DE0015, 2017, Citizenship and Immigration