Transparency and accountability
See how and where UNICEF uses resources to drive results for every child.
Transparency and accountability are fundamental for UNICEF in delivering development and humanitarian results for children. Since UNICEF became signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2012 – which committed the organization to publicly disclose its information on programmes and operations and make it easier for all stakeholders to find, use and compare standardized data – UNICEF has successfully implemented a series of measures to underpin the principle of transparency in the organization’s operations, including positioning it within the Strategic Plan 2022–2025.
These efforts not only make information about UNICEF's work easier to access, understand and use, but further support endeavors to make the organization more efficient, responsive and collaborative, and better able to deliver for children.
UNICEF's work to promote transparency
Guided by UNICEF’s Information Disclosure Policy, which outlines explicitly its commitment to making information about programmes and operations available to the public, following are some examples of the organization’s efforts to strive for transparency and accountability:
- Further to becoming a signatory to IATI in 2013, UNICEF prepared an ambitious IATI Implementation Schedule with the aim of implementing it fully by December 2015. In June 2013, UNICEF achieved its first milestone, successfully publishing the details of financial and programme information in a standardized format on the registry.
- In 2015, UNICEF launched a transparency portal. This monthly updated portal aims to improve access to UNICEF’s programme and financial data and keep the public up to date on the results being delivered by all UNICEF country offices. The portal also has links to a growing number of corporate documents such as organizational policies, operational guides, supply and logistics, country programme documents, evaluations, audit reports, and annual programme results reports.
- UNICEF played a key role in the process that led to the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit’s Grand Bargain commitment to publishing “timely, transparent, harmonized and open high-quality data on humanitarian funding within the next two years”. This included spearheading UNICEF’s engagement with a number of other UN agencies on an aid traceability study related to Nepal’s 2015 earthquake emergency response. The results of this study were used to support proposals and inclusion of “transparency” as one of the Grand Bargain’s commitments.
- UNICEF was also involved in the successful negotiation for a renewed commitment to IATI at the 2nd High-Level Meeting for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in December 2016. The Nairobi Outcome Document included a commitment from development partners to increase transparency of development cooperation and emphasizes the need for all actors to increase data use.
- In recognition of its proactive transparency efforts, UNICEF received a positive score (3 out of 4) on the “Organisational Strengths Index” for transparency and accountability in the United Kingdom's 2016 Multilateral Development Review. Additionally, the 2015–2016 MOPAN review recognized transparency as one of UNICEF’s key strengths and scored it “highly satisfactory”.
- Since 2017, UNICEF has been a member of IATI’s Governing Board, representing the interests of the multilateral's constituency. In playing this role, UNICEF successfully supported widening IATI membership beyond UNDG agencies to include all UN Secretariat agencies. In 2018 and 2019, UNICEF effectively contributed to the development of the new IATI Strategic Plan, including playing a leadership role in the development of its results framework.
- Through a pilot exercise with the Governments of Senegal and Madagascar, UNICEF successfully completed a joint effort with external partners to introduce efficiencies in aid management by automating the transfer of IATI data to Aid Management Platforms within coordinating Ministries. This automation has the potential to reduce the reporting burden on Governments for country-level development partner offices, and increase the quality and completeness of data captured in government planning systems.
- UNICEF’s commitment to being open and transparent has been demonstrated by continuous efforts to scale up the quality, depth and timeliness of the programme and financial data released to the public. In 2022, UNICEF confirmed its position as a globally trusted development and humanitarian partner that achieves results for children and maintains high transparency standards by becoming the best-performing UN agency in the 2022 Aid Transparency Index (ATI) and ranked 6th out of 50 organizations.
- UNICEF is publishing data of better quality and depth in its monthly-updated IATI datasets. This has made UNICEF one of the top-ranking organizations on the IATI Common Standard and Humanitarian Data dashboard, as well as one of the leading organizations in meeting Grand Bargain commitments. In addition, UNICEF is one of the few organizations publishing SDG information.
Through nearly a decade’s effort, UNICEF has made high-quality, comprehensive data on both development and humanitarian resources and results already available to the public. It has also built a culture of evidence-based practice and programming, enabling closer cooperation with governments, partners, sister UN agencies and other aid actors, and promoting the use of open data in order to maximize the collective efforts and deliver even better results for children.
Driving results for every child needs us all to use resources as effectively and efficiently as possible: Transparency and open data are critical parts of this. As a globally trusted development and humanitarian partner, UNICEF continuously strengthens transparency in our own working culture, and helps lead worldwide transparency initiatives.