Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Couple of Moves in the Direction of Transparency, Integrity and Accountability

Photo: Carlos Navarro
Transparency is a prerequisite for integrity.  And integrity is a necessary tool to ensure accountability. And accountability is a very important aspect in the effort to address hunger and poverty at the global level. These qualities are not necessarily present in legislation that moves through the U.S. Congress or decisions made by other important agencies.

Therefore, we celebrate those occasions when decisions are made to  to ensure full disclosure in our international interactions.  This was the case for a couple of decisions that took place this month.

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule that will implement Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Here is why this move is important:

The law requires publicly listed oil, gas and mining companies in the US to publicly disclose the payments they make to governments around the world for the extraction of natural resources. That increased transparency will provide critical information to citizens in some of the world’s poorest countries, enabling them to hold their governments accountable for spending that money on things that will improve their lives, like schools and hospitals. The ONE Campaign has more information

The House of Representatives voted final approval of the Foreign Assistance Accountability and Transparency Act. 

According to Bread for the World, this is why this move is significant.
The initiative would mandate an evaluation system for all the U.S. government’s international development and humanitarian assistance programs and for some security assistance programs, too. This law will also maintain a recently established website, which gives the public information about U.S. assistance projects. This makes it easier for people in the United States and recipient countries to get involved and help make sure that these projects work effectively. 

Both these moves are a step in the right direction to ensure that our foreign assistance and anti-poverty efforts better serve the needs of the target communities.

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