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Sweden

Increased aid transparency at global level (SE0012)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Support Institution(s): Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

Policy Areas

Aid, Civic Space, Fiscal Transparency, Freedom of Association

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sweden End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Public Accountability , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The commitment on increased aid transparency at global level aims to accelerate international efforts on publishing aid information in accordance with the Busan commitment on a Common Standard. Increased publication of timely, forward-looking and comprehensive aid data in a standardised way creates better conditions for accountability and governance in partner countries, leading to sustainable and locally owned development results. It also facilitates division of labour and the use of all the available financial resources for poverty eradication. The commitment will mainly be achieved through activities, including those listed here, in order to promote other development actors’ efforts to meet international transparency commitments.
Main activities
- Promote IATI reporting among other development actors and the use of IATI data at country level, through dialogue and development of methodology and capacity.9
- Promote transparency and anti-corruption work in the EU and multilateral development organisations, including IATI reporting.
- Support initiatives related to ICT that facilitate aid transparency.
- Promote transparency including budget transparency in partner countries as a part of Swedish development cooperation.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 5. Increased Aid Transparency at the Global Level

Commitment Text:

The commitment on increased aid transparency at global level aims to accelerate international efforts on publishing aid information in accordance with the Busan commitment on a Common Standard. Increased publication of timely, forward-looking and comprehensive aid data in a standardised way creates better conditions for accountability and governance in partner countries, leading to sustainable and locally owned development results. It also facilitates division of labour and the use of all the available financial resources for poverty eradication. The commitment will mainly be achieved through activities, including those listed here, in order to promote other development actors’ efforts to meet international transparency commitments.

Main activities:

-Promote IATI International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) reporting among other development actors and the use of IATI data at country level, through dialogue and development of methodology and capacity

-Promote transparency and anti-corruption work in the EU and multilateral development organisations, including IATI reporting.

-Support initiatives related to ICT that facilitate aid transparency.

-Promote transparency including budget transparency in partner countries as a part of Swedish development cooperation.

Milestones:

5.1. Increased number of countries and organisations that publish aid data to IATI.

5.2. Contributions to IATI related work on methodology and capacity development.

5.3. Actions taken at EU level to increase aid transparency, and increased number of multilateral development organisations with Swedish development assistance funds that publish aid data to IATI.

5.4. Examples of improvements in aid transparency, as a result of supported initiatives.

5.5. Examples of transparency improvements in partner countries.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Supporting institution(s): Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Start date: 2010....................                                                             End date: 2016


Commitment Aim:

This commitment aims to accelerate international efforts on publishing aid information in accordance with the Busan commitment on a Common Standard, in particular by promoting IATI reporting standards among development actors. Sweden is already a leader in aid transparency, and as an innovator, it plays an important role in promoting good practices among countries and multilateral donors. Increasing the number of donors that publish aid information according to a common standard would enable a global overview of aid flows and better coordination of aid.

More specifically, the commitment sets out to:

       Increase the number of countries and multilateral development organisations with Swedish development assistance that publish aid data to IATI (5.1 and 5.3); and

       Contribute to IATI-related work on methodology and capacity development (5.2).

Status

Midterm: Limited

This commitment listed a number of vaguely formulated target areas, and due to their lack of specificity, it was difficult to measure impact.

In line with the commitments made in milestones 5.1 and 5.2, Sweden has shared its experience and contributed to IATI,[Note 74: http://www.aidtransparency.net. ] which is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve aid transparency. Sweden is also contributing to the IATI Secretariat with in-kind personnel support[Note 75: Sweden is contributing to the IATI Secretariat in-kind with senior management oversight, a senior policy advisor, a communications specialist, a policy advisor, and a programme officer.] and had shared the experiences of working with the IATI standard from a donor perspective by publishing a white paper in spring 2015. Moreover, Sida made available Openaid.se as an open source platform for other IATI publishers to use in whole or in part and has provided support to several organisations in trying out the software during the evaluation period. Sweden has also contributed to the refinement of IATI’s Transparency Indicator methodology by supporting the Creditor Reporting System (CRS)[Note 76: Creditor Reporting System (CRS).]/IATI pilot jointly with the UK and the Netherlands.[Note 77: IATI, “Annual Workplan: September 2014–August 2015,” http://www.aidtransparency.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Paper-3B-IATI-Workplan-Y2-FY14-15.pdf. ]

Milestone 5.3, which aims to promote IATI in the EU and multilateral organisations, was not started. Sweden has an ongoing dialogue with multilateral development organisations with Swedish development assistance funds about the importance of publishing aid data to IATI. However, the MFA could not report on any particular action taken in the framework during the evaluation period.[Note 78: Per Trulsson (MFA), interviewed by Alina Östling, 25 September 2015.] Milestones 5.4 and 5.5 on promoting aid transparency were formulated vaguely without any measurable outputs, making it difficult to ascertain the level of completion. For more information, please see the 2013–2014 midterm IRM report.

End of term: Limited

The overall completion rate of the commitment remains limited. The only milestone that has been substantially completed is the one focusing on promotion of IATI reporting among other donors (5.1). The IRM researcher could not find evidence of any further attempts by the government to make progress on the other milestones.[Note 79: The IRM researcher contacted the OGP point of contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by telephone on 9 September 2016 and by email on 17 September 2016 and on 2 October 2016.]

The government self-assessment report states that 22 multilateral development organisations funded by Sweden have published data to IATI during the OGP action plan period. However, it is unclear how the correlation between Sweden’s initiatives on IATI and the 22 organisations publishing in IATI was made. Given that a variety of factors influence donor decisions to publish data in IATI (e.g., political will, technical capacity, and financial resources), it is difficult to find evidence for such a correlation, unless a specific study is carried out on the subject.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

Public accountability: Did not change

This commitment aims to accelerate international efforts on publishing aid information by promoting IATI reporting standards among development actors. Sweden, as an acknowledged innovator in aid transparency, plays an important role in promoting good practices among other countries and multilateral donors. However, to improve the contribution of Sweden in promoting the accountability of aid at a global level, this commitment could be clarified. Overall, the IRM researcher concludes that government openness did not change with this commitment. 

Carried forward?

Sweden has not yet released its next action plan; hence, it is too early to say whether the commitment has been carried forward.

The IRM researcher recommends that MFA sets out clear and measurable milestones for achieving the stated objective of the commitment. The first step towards achieving transformative potential impact is to clarify the relationship between the activities carried out by the Swedish government and intended changes in recipient behaviour (i.e., bilateral and multilateral organisations). Moreover, civil society stakeholders recommend that the MFA involves CSOs when deciding about priorities on transparency and anti-corruption work in the EU and in multilateral development organisations.[Note 80: These views were expressed during the consultation with civil society members held by the IRM researcher in Stockholm in August 2015. ]  


Sweden's Commitments

  1. Starred commitment citizen-centered e-government

    SE0013, 2016, Environment and Climate

  2. Re-use of public administration documents and open data

    SE0014, 2016, Land & Spatial Planning

  3. transparency in aid management

    SE0015, 2016, Aid

  4. Developing a new format for dialogue with CSOs

    SE0016, 2016, Public Participation

  5. Putting citizens at the centre (eGovernment) of government administration reforms

    SE0008, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  6. A step further on the re-use of public administration documents

    SE0009, 2014, Capacity Building

  7. Increased access to Swedish aid information

    SE0010, 2014, Aid

  8. Improved opportunities for dialogue and transparency in aid management and implementation

    SE0011, 2014, Aid

  9. Increased aid transparency at global level

    SE0012, 2014, Aid

  10. Continuing the development of the Openaid.se platform

    SE0001, 2012, Aid

  11. Ensuring full implementation of the IATI standard by 2015

    SE0002, 2012, Aid

  12. Implementing the commitments in the Busan Partnership document

    SE0003, 2012, Aid

  13. Playing a leading role in the Building Block on Transparency

    SE0004, 2012, Capacity Building

  14. Contributing to further define the work towards an EU Transparency Guarantee

    SE0005, 2012, Capacity Building

  15. Engaging in the Open Aid Partnership and promoting ICT4D

    SE0006, 2012, Aid

  16. Broadening open government commitments

    SE0007, 2012, OGP