In a move towards what he described as “transparency and accountability”, South East of England MEP Nirj Deva this week suggested pioneering reforms to the way international aid is delivered to the worst affected areas. Leaning on his experience as a long-standing Member of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee, Deva, who witnessed the Asian tsunami said: “It is clear that we currently have a problem with the way humanitarian aid and assistance is distributed. “All too often the money donated by individuals and Governments simply disappears down a black hole of theft and bureaucracy with no way for decision makers or the public to keep tabs on projects. “These problems can not be solved by waiving a magic wand, but they can be solved by the click of a button. “It is vital that we set up as soon as possible a web-based system accessible to all, and updated regularly by teams of data entry people. This would report exactly how much money has been paid into each country, to which sectors the money has been allocated, and for which project within each sector the money is being drawn down. “By putting such information into the hands of the general public, Government officials and aid workers, we would also be able to include up-to-date photographs of school projects, railway lines and other facilities provided by funding from charities and Government bodies. “In this way the people who donated the funds will, for the first time in history, be able to see exactly what is happening to their money. Countries affected by the Tsunami crisis such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand all have internet and telephone capacities to support such a system. “What I am suggesting is no more and no less than what the commercial and financial sectors around the world are already doing. It is, put simply, what is expected in all major projects from global banking transactions, airline bookings to the global daily sales of hamburgers!”
Deva has written to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan outlining his proposals in detail, as well as obtaining firm commitments from Transparency International Chief Executive David Nussbaum to oversee the integrity of any system implemented.
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This is a great idea if we can get the government and all other relief organizations to do this very soon. This will help avoid a major obstacle for development in Sri Lanka