“Follow the Money” with ONE and the Open Knowledge Foundation

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

We want to see a world in which citizens are able to hold decision-makers to account for the use of public money, using information about where it comes from, how it’s spent and what results it delivers, to drive improvements in service delivery and accelerate progress against poverty.

To this end, ONE and the Open Knowledge Foundation are excited to share the news about our plans to support and strengthen the community of activists and advocacy organisations pushing for the transparency that is needed if citizens around the world are to be able to follow the money.

The Challenge: Building a Better Connected Global Financial Transparency Movement

The number of organisations and initiatives working to enhance transparency about the use of public money is growing.

There are various focal points for that activity, covering different stages of the flow of public money – from resource availability (tax, aid, extractives and illicit financial flows), to resource allocation (budgets and contracts) to results (inc. in particular sectors).

This focused work is essential, but following the money requires that people can track public money throughout the flow of resources.

Put simply, there is a need to smash the silos that too often separate various transparency initiatives around the world, focusing on different aspects of financial transparency.

Furthermore, there is a need for the emerging fiscal transparency movement to ensure that transparency gains are translated into improved accountability and service delivery.

To enable this, we need to make sure that the data that is made available as a result of transparency wins is usable, used and proves to be useful.

And, we need to join the dots – creating a better connected global fiscal transparency movement that supports more effective collaboration between organisations and individuals working in this space.

To help to join the dots, in the first instance we plan to do four things:

  • Firstly, we will identify and bring together organisations and individuals that are keen, and have the capacity, to work together to join the dots in the fiscal transparency space, to start talking about ways in which we might be able to work together more effectively.
  • Secondly, we will work with those organisations to develop a shared vision and a set of principles that are key to achieving that vision, with input from a network of organisations who are committed to promoting them around the world and across different sectors.
  • Thirdly, we develop a campaign to promote the principles that need to be in place to support citizens’ efforts to follow the money.
  • Finally, we will identify opportunities for specific activities that participating organisations might pursue. These might be at the international level (e.g. through the G20), in the north (e.g. as regards EU Anti-Money Laundering legislation), in the south (e.g. through in-country Follow the Money campaigns), or, better still, across multiple levels using local learning to influence international policy processes.

What’s Next?

We’re holding a session to discuss plans for the Follow the Money initiative at OKCon 2013 in Geneva, on Wednesday 18th September, 10:30-11:30 (in Room 8, Floor 2 at the Centre International de Conférences Genève – CICG). Due to limited space, if you’re interested in joining us please email followthemoney@okcon.org.

We’re also planning various activities around the Open Government Partnership Summit in the UK later this autumn – so watch this space!

If you or your organisation are interested in joining us, you can get in touch via the following form.

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