AID TRANSPARENCY ANALYSIS
Germany is the fifth largest DAC donor, spending over USD 10bn in 2012. The two most important ministries for Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) allocation are the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ) and the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt – AA), allocating 52% and 10% respectively. These two ministries have mandates to promote coordination across ministries.
BMZ has a leadership role in development policy setting and is mandated to promote policy coherence and coordination of official development assistance (ODA) across ministries. The Foreign Office has a policy setting and coordination mandate on humanitarian issues and approaches. Smaller ODA allocations are the responsibility of several other ministries, agencies, federal states (Länder) and municipalities. Notably, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit – BMUB) is responsible for a significant and growing amount of aid spending (1.7%), through the largely ODA-eligible International Climate Initiative.
The 2014 ATI assesses the transparency of BMZ and the AA. BMZ is responsible for publishing to IATI, including information on the activities of the two main implementing agencies for bilateral cooperation: the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and the KfW Entwicklungsbank, Germany’s main development finance institution. As BMZ does not directly implement activities in-country, it is assessed together with the main implementing agencies GIZ and KfW, whereas the Foreign Office is assessed as a single agency as in addition to funding the activities of several implementing partners and NGOs, it is also directly implements some activities.
Germany’s commitments on aid transparency
In 2013, along with other G8 members (now G7), Germany reaffirmed its commitment to implement the common standard (including IATI) by 2015. In the past few years, Germany has introduced several measures to improve inter-ministerial development policy coordination. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has launched a government data platform. Additionally, the coalition treaty of the current grand coalition of the ruling government includes the intention to join the Open Government Partnership.
BMZ began publishing to the IATI Standard in March 2013. Its publication focused first on BMZ-funded projects implemented by GIZ, KfW and two smaller organisations, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR). Since then, BMZ’s publication has been expanded to include all bilateral ODA projects and new information fields, such as project descriptions, implementing partners, commitment dates, sector and information on terms and conditions. In March 2014, BMZ also started publishing information about the government funds channelled through German NGOs on IATI. Additionally, a new transparency portal of GIZ projects was launched in April 2014, and BMZ’s own IATI data-driven portal was launched in September 2014. BMZ’s IATI commitment is also mentioned in its anti-corruption strategy as a means of improving access to information on development funds; it is yet to publish a transparency policy however.
Despite this progress, Germany still has a long way to go in meeting its commitment to fully implement the IATI Standard by the end of 2015. Currently, Germany’s implementation schedule covers information from BMZ, GIZ, KfW, PTB, BGR and selected NGOs. Although this schedule has been updated several times, the plans outlined are only moderately ambitious. Publication of information on multilateral funding and funding provided by the AA is expected in 2014 or 2015, but no details are available on specific timelines for publication of the different information fields. BMUB is responsible for an increasing amount of spending but is not mentioned in the schedule, nor has it published its own schedule.
Only 37% of German development assistance is accounted for in BMZ’s current IATI publication. Since the release of the 2013 Index, there has been no progress with the publication of information on the added-value fields of IATI such as results, sub-national location and project documents. Some technical challenges also remain in integrating information from the various implementing agencies.
Germany’s performance in the ATI remains mixed. There is a significant difference between the amount of information published by BMZ-GIZ, ranked 17th, and BMZ-KfW, ranked 20th (both are in the fair category), and the Foreign Office, ranked 61st and in the very poor category. BMZ publishes information on projects implemented by GIZ and KfW to the IATI Standard, with additional information available on the organisations’ websites. In comparison, no comprehensive information on current AA-funded projects could be found. There are seven indicators for which none of the German organisations score, including sub-national location, MoUs, budget documents, forward-looking activity budgets, budget ID, results and impact appraisals.
- All of Germany’s aid-spending ministries, agencies and federal states should cooperate with BMZ to extend the coverage of information published to IATI, so it is comprehensive and provides a full picture of German development cooperation. It should prioritise any information systems and processes improvements required for automated and timely publication of high quality data to IATI.
- Germany should update its implementation schedule so it is more ambitious, with specific timelines and delivery targets for expanding its IATI publication to include all aid-spending agencies, including the BMU given its increasing important role in Germany’s development cooperation.
- As it assumes the presidency of the G7 in 2015, Germany should lead by example and deliver on its aid transparency commitments in line with the Open Data Charter.
- Germany should join OGP. This would be an opportunity to share best practice in open data and open government approaches.