Transparency and accountability in Spanish Cooperation

Appearance of the General-Secretary for Cooperation at the Congress Committee

 

The concept of accountability is based on the importance of not only ensuring quality aid, but also providing information about and justification for this aid, including the assumption of all corresponding responsibilities. In the case of all those involved in development cooperation, these responsibilities are: a clear and appropriate definition of their mission and targets; ethical, transparent and efficient resource management; and the ability to obtain development results as a direct consequence of their activity (products).

Graph showing the measures for promoting transparency in Spanish Cooperation: MPA’s monitoring, Evaluation function, Info@OD consolidation, Parliament, IATI, Spanish Cooperation website and other iniciatives.Within Spanish Cooperation, monitoring of the recently created Country Association Framework Agreements (MAP) provides us with the chance to make accountability progress that can be linked to a results-based approach.

Another key aspect of accountability is transparency, understood as a set of procedures that allows for all members of society to access up-to-date and internationally comparable information about the distribution of Official Development Assistance (ODA), about decision-making processes and about the progress that is being made.

The creation of the Info@OD platform marks a key step forwards in this respect. Info@OD has an ODA data collection module through which the vast majority of Spanish Cooperation participants report their activity. It also has an analysis module for generating personalised reports about ODA distribution and commitments, adapted to the reality of each participant.

In addition, Spain is also a member of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This is a voluntary initiative with a large number of participants (donor countries, partner countries, multilateral organisations and NGOs). It seeks to provide information about cooperation work which can be easily accessed, understood and used, thereby enabling those involved in the initiative (donor and partner countries) to make more precise decisions and to establish progress targets.

In addition,  evaluation processes also enhance transparency and contribute to making us all responsible for our actions through the need to account for the results of our projects and programmes. However, for this to be possible, evaluation methods must be made public, evaluation teams must be hired in line with clear and previously established criteria and procedures, and key evaluation results must be accessible and distributed to all interested parties through the appropriate channels.

There has also been a strong drive for  accountability in Parliament through the regular appearance of the Secretary-General for International Development Cooperation in parliament and through making the initiatives that are decided upon in this setting available, in a simple and accessible manner, to all members of society. These initiatives serve as a direct point of access to the consultations on cooperation that are created in relation to both the  Congress of Deputies and the Spanish Senate regarding: appearances, responding to parliamentary questions, requests for reports, commission debate…

Spain is also involved in many other initiatives, such as: redesigning the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) website, which provides access to Spanish Cooperation publications and promotes the publication of all Agency news and activities, making extensive use of social networks to spread the word about its work and to respond to citizen requests; the Good governance and transparency tool developed by the Development NGO Coordinator (CONGDE) , which is a pioneering Spanish initiative for self-regulation in Europe that complements other control mechanisms, designed by both the CONGDE and by other organisations, such as Development NGO codes of conduct and external audits.

Lastly, the Spanish Cooperation website serves as a vehicle for promoting transparency by providing access to documents about planning policies and evaluations (e.g.  database evaluation and strategies) and is also an open channel of communication between cooperation participants and the general public.