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It is very hard to make predictions about the impact of a conference. But given all we know about aid effectiveness and the potential of transparency it is very likely, that yesterdays meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in Paris is indeed a milestone for effective aid and for accountability towards citizens. After nearly three years of work and consultations representatives of donor agencies, partner countries and civil society organisations came together yesterday to agree on a transparency standard. Though the commitment of the donors is not legally binding, donors pledged to publish information about their work according to this standard as soon as possible.
While official statements of IATI members have not yet been published, comments by civil society representatives on the committee were very clear: the agreement of the standard represents a tremendous progress for aid transparency and aid effectiveness. Karin Christiansen, Director of PublishWhatYouFund (UK) explained: "For the first time, a standard exists which means more aid informaiton will actually be better information." To assure that the decisions taken yesterday will contribute to improve development cooperation, donors now have to start adapting their information management systems according to the standard.