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The Aid Transparency Index assesses organisations’ overall commitment to transparency as well as the information they publish at the organisation level and for individual activities. For the full details on the Methodology used to produce the Index, please download our Technical Paper. For details on the individuals and organisations involved in reviewing the methodology and 2016 Index, view the Acknowledgements page.


The 2016 Index assesses 46 organisations, including 29 bilateral agencies, 16 multilateral organisations and one philanthropic organisation.

Organisations were selected using three criteria, of which they have to meet a minimum of two:

  • They are a large donor (annual spend is more than USD 1bn);
  • They have a significant role and influence as a major aid agency and engagement with the Busan agenda;
  • They are an institution to which government or organisation-wide transparency commitments apply, for example, members of the G7 or all U.S. agencies.

The list of organisations included in the 2016 Index has been revised. We have reviewed our criteria for donor selection and decided to concentrate on fewer, bigger donors, as well as those that are instrumental to advancing the course of aid transparency. For this reason, the 2016 Index includes 46 donors, accounting for 98% of ODF between them.

We are including one new donor this year: the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The growing influential role the UAE is playing in international development highlights the wider potential for the post-2015 Agenda and the importance of transparency in an ever evolving environment.


The Aid Transparency Index uses 39 indicators, divided into those that measure commitment to aid transparency (three indicators) and those that measure publication of aid information (36 indicators).

The commitment indicators collectively account for 10% of the overall weight while publication accounts for 90%.

The publication indicators are further assembled into organisation level and activity level, which are then divided in sub-groups. These are based largely upon the groups used in the implementation schedule template for the Busan common standard.

The organisation-level indicators account for 25% of the overall weight, while the activity-level indicators account for 65%.

Within these categories, the indicator sub-groups are equally weighted. As the number of indicators in each sub-group varies, individual indicators carry different weights. See full list of indicators and how they are grouped and weighted. The re-weighting tool allows users to test different weighting options and see the effect on the scores.

The score for each indicator ranges from 0–100. For 22 indicators, the scoring takes into account the format that the data is provided in, depending on the accessibility and comparability of the information and how consistently it is published. For example, information published in PDFs scores lower than information published in machine-readable formats. Information published to the IATI Standard, the most comparable format, can score up to 100 for each indicator, depending on the coverage of information and frequency of publication.


Data collection ran from 1 October 2015 – 15 January 2016. Most information included in the Index is gathered from what each organisation publishes – either on its website, to the IATI Registry, or on national platforms such as the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard or the OECD common standard website (for implementation schedules). A secondary data source is used to assess one indicator – the quality of Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation (more on this in the Technical Paper).

Information available via the IATI Registry was automatically collected and tested by a data quality tool. IATI data needed to be available via the IATI Registry in order to be taken into consideration. Based on feedback from peer reviewers and donors, and following a public consultation, some of the data quality tests were improved in 2014 to ensure that they accurately measure the quality of IATI data in line with the agreed IATI Standard. The consultation took place on Github. Feedback on ways to improve these quality tests is always welcome.

Information published to all other sources was collected via a manual survey. The survey is designed to assess the availability of information corresponding with the 36 publication indicators and the format in which it is published. All surveys were completed using information pertaining to the recipient country (or thematic sector, if the donor organises itself along those lines rather than by countries) receiving the largest amount of development flows by value from that donor agency. All development flows including official development assistance (ODA), other official flows (OOF) and non-traditional flows such as climate finance and south-south cooperation are taken into consideration for the purposes of the Index.

To establish that information is consistently published at the activity level, five activities were randomly selected within the country or sector. The 46 organisations assessed were invited to review the surveys and provide feedback. Their responses were then independently reviewed by expert civil society organisations (CSOs) and by Publish What You Fund before the surveys were finalised. All the information collected for the Index is stored on a publicly accessible platform called the Aid Transparency Tracker, including responses from donors and independent reviewers.


Category denotes organisation size taken from 2013 OECD DAC CRS data

Very Large = ≥ 10,000 (mUS$)
Large = 5000 – 9999
Medium = 1000 – 4999
Small = 100 – 999

Category denotes major classification of donor. Organisations may fall under more than one Type, but the main one has been selected.

Multilateral = Multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and UNICEF, pool aid from one or more sources for disbursal to different recipients.
Bilateral = Bilateral institutions, such as USAID, operate on a government to government basis to implement their aid programmes.
EU = Member states and institutions of the European Union
OECD DAC = Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Non-DAC = Organisation that reports to the the OECD but is not a member of the DAC

Category denotes government or organisation-wide transparency commitments that apply to institutions. These may fall under more than one Commitment.

OGP = Open Government Partnership
IATI= International Aid Transparency Initiative
G8 = Group of 8 or Group of 7
Busan = Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation