Today we launched our new campaign, Road to 2015: Open Data for Sustainable Development. It’s the first campaign we’ve launched at the UN Development Cooperation Forum – in fact, it’s the first time we’ve come to the UN Headquarters in NYC, where the forum is being hosted.
But we had a good reason for choosing this forum, and this building.
In 2011, Publish What You Fund ran the very successful Make Aid Transparent campaign, with over 100 organisations joining the coalition and 65,000 individual signatures to the petition.
We presented the petition at the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, and subsequently the world’s largest donors promised to publish their aid information to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by the end of 2015.
But you know all this. And you know that since then, we’ve been reminding donors of their promises, helping them to put them into practice, and measuring their progress via the Aid Transparency Index.
Now, with 2015 around the corner, we are launching a new campaign to keep up the pressure. With just over a year left, the clock is ticking on those promises.
The world of development finance is also changing. Top-down development, with donors telling recipients what to do, is twentieth century thinking.
Partner countries are better equipped now, more than ever, to take full ownership of their development agenda. They have asked for more information about development cooperation spending so they can better manage their own resources, and ensure the delivery of results.
If donors don’t keep the original promise to citizens and recipient governments, they risk becoming irrelevant. But if they do, they can set a great example of good, open government, for others to follow, which is especially important as development flows, modalities and actors become more diverse.
If we don’t deliver on past promises, and aid information is not open and transparent by the end of 2015, how can we even talk about the future agenda?
Which brings me to why we launched the campaign at the UN Development Cooperation Forum: Those conversations are happening right here, right now.
And as debates on the next set of sustainable development goals and the post-2015 agenda come to a head, transparency must be an essential part of all goals, giving citizens more information and more say in their own lives.
In 2011, our Make Aid Transparent campaign galvanised public support for aid transparency, and since then we’ve been working tirelessly to translate commitments into action. The majority of the largest and most influential donor agencies are now publishing their aid information to IATI, but we need to finish the job we started.
The Road to 2015 must be paved with open data, not just good intentions.