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New Swedish aid portal a 'transparency guarantee'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 4 Apr 2011, 14:48

Published: 04 Apr 2011 14:48 GMT+02:00

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"This is my vision of an open aid, so that whomsoever is able to gain access to information over how Swedish development aid is used," development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson told journalists at the launch of the website on Monday.

"Transparency is the new key word for development aid," she promised.

Carlsson argued that the website, developed together with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is one step in the government's longer term plan to renew development aid.

"Everyone who is interested can follow the entire aid chain, from overall decisions on the direction and distribution of aid to specific decisions, payments, implementation and monitoring," according to a statement on Openaid.se website.

The aim is for all actors involved in the managing of development assistance funds e.g. organisations and companies, to be part of the service, which would also grant access for journalists, overseas partners, individuals, and other interested parties.

"In short, it is about opening up aid for scrutiny, and soliciting ideas from more people," Gunilla Carlsson said.

In practice, Openaid.se offers five key features, the minister explained.

Among them are a "transparency guarantee" which stipulated that all public documents and information concerning development aid would be published on the site in due course.

This information will include the donor, recipient partners, amounts and results.

Furthermore, Openaid.se would be used to enable the government to actively tackle corruption, and to invite the input of other actors into the sector.

Gunilla Carlsson also challenged Sweden and development aid actors to have the courage to say no when it was felt that aid was not being used as it should be, arguing that Openaid.se would enable transparency in this process.

The website is currently online in a Beta version and features data covering aid information dating from 2007-2010 as well as historical data from the 1970s onwards.

The information is divided into three areas - destination of aid, use of aid and development aid actor.

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Subcategories, such as humanitarian aid, research and health, allow users to explore specific projects carried out within the framework of Sweden's 30.7 billion kronor ($4.85 billion) aid budget.

There is furthermore a search function which allows users to perform a key word search and access an archive of documents related to the sector.

Except for a introductory statement, the website is currently predominantly in Swedish while many of the documents are published in their original languages.

Related links:

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:19 April 4, 2011 by Nemesis
That should be clear as mud.

What is Sweden spending 30.7 billion kronor on foriegn aid for, when it has massive unemployment.
20:14 April 4, 2011 by Sebastian_R
@Nemesis - and why do we save the environment now that we have an economic crisis?

Who cares about creating a world that is worth living for our children, if there is so much trouble for me?

Serious people - get a grip.
11:05 April 5, 2011 by Svenskamartian
This is another example of State sponsored public relations nonsense, and is a reason for why there is a need for the likes of Wikileaks.

Yes, it is interesting to know how the government is wasting good tax payers money, as expressed by other comments. However as a means of improving openness and transparency, forget it. The highly selective reports and pieces of information posted on the openaid.se portal portray nothing of the purpose, effectiveness or otherwise of the selected projects that were funded.

Their sole purpose is for SIDA to be able to pretend to State that it is doing 'good', so that the government, and the ignorant people within the government and parliament, do not bother to investigate further at how effectively or efficiently the money has been used.

It is simply another tactic for a wasteful bureaucracy to try to demonstrate its own existence, and play the open governance card as a means of justification. How much money would be saved, how more vibrant would the economy be, if less money was wasted on the likes of development aid, and the UN, and its many affilitated organisations.
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