IPPR Gets Global Praise

THE Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has gained international recognition for being one of the most transparent think-tanks in the world, according to a survey released yesterday.

Transparify, an initiative which aocates for greater think-tank transparency worldwide, has awarded the IPPR a maximum possible five star rating, making the IPPR one of only 21 transparency leaders out of a total of 169 institutions assessed in the world.

It is the only institution in Namibia that is rated “highly transparent” and one of only two in all of Africa with the African Economic Research Consortium from Kenya as the other African institutions recognised as ‘transparent’.

The Transparify ratings are said to be the first of their kind and the New York Times reported that the survey has already caused major ripples in the think-tank world.

Transparify stated the IPPR had shown “exemplary transparency” and was “setting the gold standard for the field as a whole”.

In early 2014, Transparify reviewed the websites of 169 think tanks in 47 countries to find out whether they provided information on who funds them and how much they receive from each source.

The IPPR, which publishes its annual audited accounts online, was found to give full disclosure of its donors and the amounts received by the Institute.

IPPR head Graham Hopwood said that over the past three years the IPPR’s main donors have been the Embassy of Finland, the European Union, Freedom House, the British High Commission, the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, the United Nations Development Programme, Afrobarometer, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, FES (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) Media, the World Economic Forum, the Old Mutual Group, IJG Securities, and the Netherlands Consulate.

He added that the IPPR believes that financial transparency boosts the credibility of a think tank’s research findings and policy recommendations.

“The issue has become a controversial one in countries such as the US where research bodies styling themselves as ‘independent’ have sometimes been funded by corporate and other interests seeking particular policy shifts,” Hopwood said.

He added that it was gratifying for the IPPR to have been recognised as a global leader on transparency and that “we are regarded as more transparent and accountable than many of the leading think tanks in the world”.

He added that it is important that think tanks reveal the identities of their donors, because some institutions present themselves as independent while they are in some cases set up and funded by political or corporate interests looking to influence the policy environment.

Since its inception in 2001, the IPPR has operated independently from political and commercial interests. All research projects are undertaken on the basis that IPPR researchers are able to arrive at their own findings and conclusions without external interference or pressure from funding partners, official agencies, political groups or commercial interests.

The IPPR believes that this is the only way that it can achieve its mission to deliver analytical, critical and constructive research on social, political and economic issues affecting development in Namibia.

Earlier this year the IPPR was rated among the top 50 leading think tanks in Africa in the 2013 Go To Global Think Tank Report, published by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Programme at the University of Pennsylvania.

Source : The Namibian