Trust and Accountability: Why Transparency Is at the Core of Our Mission

As Prime Minister of New Zealand, I worked in an environment where, by law, citizens were entitled to access official information. So when I came to lead UNDP, I asked: 'Why can't we be just as open?' There was no good reason not to be. Accordingly we at UNDP embraced the International Aid Transparency Initiative and worked hard to meet its high standards.

Thanks to incredible efforts and commitment from UNDP staff, we have succeeded in having our organization recognized as being the most transparent aid organization in the world. For two years in a row now, UNDP has topped the Aid Transparency Index compiled by Publish What You Fund, an organization which advocates for and measures aid transparency. All of us at UNDP take great pride in this achievement.

We have placed transparency at the very core of our mission. We believe it is vital to build and maintain trust with all our partners and with the citizens we serve in developing countries. Those who channel funding through us have a right to know how it is used, and so do citizens.

As the lead and coordinating agency in the UN development system, UNDP is well placed to share its experience of becoming highly transparent with sister UN agencies. Getting there requires a clear vision of what needs to be done, and strong staff commitment to bring about a change of culture in the way information is handled. Innovation in the use of technology is needed to capture and visualize data.

UNDP's commitment to transparency does not end with simply publishing reams of data. We have also committed to using data in ways which improve our work. That means consulting our data as a key step in planning our projects. This helps ensure that our work is effective because it is done in the full knowledge of the information and evidence we have.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. We must commit to continual improvement in the quality of our data. We must work each day to make the data as comprehensive as we can. For UNDP, this is about being the very best development organization we can be, and about building and maintaining trust and confidence across all our partners.