Britain's National Audit Office (NAO), akin to the US Government Accountability Office or GAO, is applauding the Department for International Development's Multilateral Aid Review. CGD Europe's Owen Barder talks about the glowing report, in which the NAO says the aid review is helping the UK get a bigger bang for its development buck, exposes the need for better aid data and would be even more useful if other donors follow suit.
The United States would be wise to follow Britain's lead and conduct its own multilateral (or even bilateral) aid review to inform tough budget decisions ahead. Wouldn't it be nice to read a GAO report applauding a stellar US aid review's influence on better, smarter development spending? (The QDDR doesn't quite meet this threshold.)
Last summer, my colleagues Todd Moss and Stephanie Majerowicz took a crack at a US multilateral aid review. Their conclusion: more money for the GAVI Alliance, the African Development Fund and the World Bank's International Development Association; less money for UNESCO.
Until the United States conducts its own review, the UK experience affirms that the Unites States should--at a minimum--keep pushing for better aid data, including reporting to the US Foreign Assistance Dashboard and the International Aid Transparency Initiative's (IATI) standards. So far, I suspect a GAO report on these efforts would have a more prosaic conclusion: progress made, challenges remain.