The G8 Accountability Report reviews delivery against commitments. ODI strongly welcomes the report, which is part of the wider effort to strengthen aid transparency and enhance the quality and effectiveness of development assistance. However, the report suffers from a number of weaknesses,some of which can be traced to problems associated with the choice of benchmarks and the reporting system itself. These include:
- exaggerated claims for the delivery record in some key areas
- inconsistent and uneven benchmarking
- the use of benchmarks in some areas that are at best weakly related to the development goals endorsed by the G8, including those applied to food security and education
- failure to recognise trends that threaten to undermine past efforts, including reductions in aid in2010/11
- the absence of benchmarks for individual donors, with aggregated conclusions obscuring marked differences between individual G8 members
- the use of divergent reporting standards by different donors
- a failure to recognise that G8 policies in some areas (e.g. agricultural subsidies, support for biofuels, energy and trade) may undermine goals promoted through aid (e.g. food security, climate adaptation and inclusive growth in poor countries).
While ODI concurs with the overall thrust of the Accountability Report, our appraisal produces a lower overall score. It also suggests the case for more robust and independent scrutiny of the delivery record. The Lough Erne summit provides an opportunity to strengthen G8 accountability reporting which the members should seize.
This review has two further sections: firstly a review of the detail of the reporting on particular areas of commitment (except health which we have not covered as it is not an area of specialist expertise for ODI); and finally issues for future consideration by the G8 in their accountability reporting