KATHMANDU, Feb. 27: The United Kingdom´s Department for International Development (DFID) country office here has improved systems as part of its commitment to aid transparency and accountability – a global movement to foster donor openness and effectiveness of development assistance.
DFID has come up with reforms within its system to ensure dissemination of information to beneficiaries in an easy and timely manner. The reforms are deemed important at a time when there is widespread criticism that donors themselves are opaque in their actions and financial resource allocations resulting in wasteful spending of foreign aid and ineffective development outcomes.
The top bilateral donor in Nepal for fiscal year 2010-11 has adopted five major actions for reforms acknowledging that it took the recommendations of a pilot study on aid transparency situation in Nepal recently published by Freedom Forum in collaboration with aidinfo program at Development Initiatives in the UK on-board.
“We have published an annual portfolio report for 2011/12 both in English and Nepali to help understand our portfolio and access our online information more easily. This is available at www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications1/dfid-nepal-portfolio-review-2011-12.pdf,” said Philip Smith, Deputy Head of DFID Nepal.
Similarly, the DFID has designated a contact point for enquiries about all DFID Nepal data and also welcomed to contact its Head/Deputy Head if it was related to more important question about their program.
In a bid to make them aware of their aid transparency commitments and ensure smooth flow of information to beneficiaries, the donor agency has also instituted regular meetings with their project/programs partners and implementer, Smith added.
“All press releases we make for our projects/programs are distributed to media organizations operating in the project-implemented regions and districts,” said the DFID sources. He further said that they would continue to undertake regular audits of all information on the DFID website to ensure accuracy as per their transparency requirements.
“It is a welcome the DFID´s realization to advance aid transparency and accountability agenda as per its solemn pledge for development effectiveness of aid,” said Taranath Dahal, Chairperson of Freedom Forum, adding, “The significant reforms would such measures.”
It is a glaring example of responsive governance, he commented. The report based on a survey of seven donor agencies -the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, DFID, JICA, Norwegian Embassy, USAID and UNDP – recommended the development partners to strictly adhere to the Right to Information Act-2007 and develop citizen friendly information outreach mechanisms to disclose relevant information in a routine manner.
Globally the DFID has led the way on aid transparency amongst donors, Smith noted, adding that they regard transparency as fundamental to improving its accountability to both UK and Nepali citizens.
It is worth-mentioning that the DFID was the first donor agency to publish data to the new standard from the International Aid Transparency Initiative and was recently assessed the world´s number one organization on aid transparency in the 2012 Aid Transparency Index.
United Kingdom is the top bilateral donor in Nepal for the fiscal year 2010-11 which supports US$92.1 million followed by Japan (US$58.7 million) and India (US$ 50.7 million), according to Development Cooperation Report 2010/11 published by Ministry of Finance of Nepal Government.