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Advancing Open Data and Transparency

By Jim Mazzarella, SVP for Policy and Communications  |   Posted 2nd July 2021

Last September, the international NGO Publish What You Fund – which works “to ensure that all aid and development data is transparent and available, usable and used” –  asked GIF CEO Alix Peterson Zwane to consult on possible transparency standards for Development Finance Institutions as part of their initiative to increase DFI transparency.  Our Deputy Counsel, Ginny Reyes Llamzon, also provided input into this important initiative regarding how we measure and report on impact by outlining how GIF establishes rights to collect impact information and how to maximise transparency around commercially sensitive information.

As an organisation dedicated to learning, we decided to use these conversations as an opportunity to identify ways we could also increase and advance transparency by challenging ourselves to follow PWYF’s criteria and meet the highest level of transparency we could. 

Open, accessible, and usable data is a critical tool for effective foreign assistance, policymaking, and accountability, and PWYF, with their Aid Transparency Index, is the international leader incentivising (and nudging) foreign assistance donor agencies around the world into being more open and transparent with their data, policies, and procedures. 

PWYF’s DFI initiative has been looking at the finance agencies’ use of public money to meet global development goals. They produced five important landscape reviews after embarking on a multiyear effort to consult with DFIs, stakeholders and other members of civil society to develop recommendations. 

To meet these standards for transparency, we have added to our website a table of all investments in our portfolio detailing investment objectives, funding levels, financing instruments used, expected impact, and sector codes. 

We have also summarised the projected impact of GIF investments and retrospective self-evaluations completion reports, to bring a high level of transparency about the progress (or lack of progress) organisations have achieved with our support. And the work we have done to better explain our investment process is also an important part of our own transparency initiative. 

On behalf of Publish What You Fund, Sally P. Paxton, US Representative to Publish What You Fund, said:

“We appreciate the commitment of GIF not only to review their disclosure, especially their disclosure of impact data, but the spirit in which it was undertaken. This was not simply an operational exercise but was undertaken in a holistic way that kept GIF’s mission to improve development outcomes as the driving force so that both inside and outside the organisation have access to the kind of information that leads to better outcomes and learnings.”

Transparency isn’t easy for any government agency or organisation, but it is especially important for any of us using public funds to support innovation, and even more so for those that work with the private sector.  The GIF team is proud of our efforts to show our work and our impact.