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France

AID TRANSPARENCY ANALYSIS

[Français]

As in 2012, the 2013 ATI assessed the transparency of the three principal organisations responsible for development cooperation in France: the French Development Agency (L’Agence Française de Développement, AFD), which is the main implementing agency; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (le Ministère des Affaires étrangères, MAE); and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (le Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances, MINEFI). Several other ministries and agencies are responsible for smaller amounts of development cooperation spending and/or ODA.

  • France has not signed IATI but has announced it will begin IATI implementation in 2014.
  • It has endorsed the Busan agreement and committed to implement the Busan common standard, of which IATI is a core component. France published an implementation schedule for the common standard in January 2013 (revised in July 2013 to include MINEFI), although this currently lacks an explicit plan for implementing IATI.
  • A national Open Data platform – data.gouv.fr – is being led by Etalab, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office. The inter-departmental portal publishes public administration information in a range of raw, re-usable formats. During the course of 2013, MAE and MINEFI published some of their datasets on French ODA on the platform.
  • In June 2013, France made a presidential commitment along with all G8 countries to implement the Busan common standard, including both IATI and the DAC Creditor Reporting System by 2015.

In July 2013 France’s Inter-ministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) announced that transparency is a core priority of its new development policy. The CICID presented a number of measures binding each ministry involved in the implementation of French ODA, with the aim of improving the transparency and accountability of its aid. These include publishing more complete and current data on aid on data.gouv.fr by the end of 2015; revision and simplification of accountability documents for use by parliamentarians and civil society organisations; publication of aid data for selected priority countries in accordance with the IATI standard in 2014; and the launch of a pilot citizens’ information project on aid to Mali.

France performs poorly in the Index, with all three organisations in the very poor category and posting scores well below the average of other major bilateral donors such as Germany, Japan, the UK and the U.S. This poor performance is due to very limited publication of activity-level information by all three agencies – AFD, MAE and MINEFI. None of these organisations publish financial or performance data systematically for their activities. MAE and MINEFI also do not score on basic and classification information for activities. France and Japan are the largest bilateral donors yet to publish any information in IATI XML.

Read the full ATI France Brief: Note d’information – 2013 ATI France

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • France should join IATI and begin publishing its aid data for selected priority countries in accordance with the IATI standard in early 2014.
  • The “pilot project” on aid transparency to Mali should be based on IATI data in order to develop an IATI country portal for Mali in coordination with the Government of Mali and other major donors in the country.
  • It should then update its implementation schedule by mid-2014 to include ambitious plans for expanding its IATI publication to include all aid activities in all countries. This will ensure that France can meet its commitment to full publication of the IATI component of the Busan common standard by the end of 2015.
  • The government should ensure its transparency commitments are included in the future Programming and Orientation Law (LOP) on development cooperation, in order to provide political and financial support for the sustainable production of high quality information on French aid, for use both internally and externally.
  • France should consider joining OGP, which currently includes 17 EU Member States. This would be an opportunity to share best practice in open data and open government approaches with peers in the EU and with partners who receive French aid.

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