The IATI Vision and Mission : Positioning the Initiative for 2030

Discussion 1
4 Feb - 28 Feb 2019
Go back to Consultation for development of the 2019-2022 IATI Strategic Plan

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This consultation closed on March 1st, 2019 and the discussions are no longer accepting comments. If you would like to contact IATI, please email info@iatistandard.org

Many thanks to all those who took the time to comment on the discussions. Summaries of the discussions below will be available below on Friday 8th of March, 2019. We thank all our Moderators for facilitating the discussion and synthesising the outcomes.

From the 4th to 18th of March, IATI will hold a survey on data use as the next phase of the consultation to develop the 2019-2022 IATI Strategic Plan. To learn more about IATI, visit iatistandard.org.


With IATI recently celebrating its ten-year anniversary, this online consultation is an opportunity to spark dialogue around essential priorities for the initiative’s next three years. Anticipating the next generation of partnership and data needs, your responses will help IATI to ensure it responds to the rapidly-evolving development finance, open data and transparency agendas, to increase the use of development cooperation data. 

You may wish to read through two background documents prepared for this consultation (an external and internal scanning paper). These papers examine the current international cooperation and open data landscape, as well as IATI’s progress and achievements since its inception in 2008, and may be useful tools to inform your participation in the consultation.

Please feel free to comment in as many threads, and respond to as many or as few questions, as you like. Though the consultation will largely be hosted in English, comments in French and Spanish are also welcomed. You may also submit contributions to info@iatistandard.org to be posted on your behalf, should you encounter any connectivity issues.

 

Positioning for 2030

1. What are the implications for IATI of an ever-evolving development financing and partnership landscape that increasingly moves beyond ODA? Where should IATI position itself within this landscape (at the national, regional, and global levels) and within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda?

  • What is IATI’s current niche offering that cannot be found elsewhere?
  • Should IATI’s focus be further broadened to incorporate additional actors outside the traditional aid landscape, for example a greater focus on increasing the transparency of emerging donors and blended finance, etc.? Or beyond finance to other forms of development support?
  • Does IATI currently fit into national open data ecosystems?  If no, why not? If yes, how could IATI be even better integrated with other data standards and data reporting processes, including SDG reporting, particularly at national level?
  • What challenges does IATI face in order to keep up with rapid technological change (for example in relation to how data is broadly collected and used), in order to ensure its continued relevance?

Vision and Mission

2. Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? If not, how could they be reshaped to better support achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global political agendas?

3. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

[The five key objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction are: 1.) Promoting Data Use; 2.) Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth; 3.) Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard; 4.) Communication and Outreach; and 5.) Institutional Arrangements]

 

Comments (89)

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Synthesis report of discussion, prepared by Craig Fagan and Sohir Debbiche.

1. Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? If not, how could they be reshaped to better support achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global political agendas?

Current Status:

  • Overall, most respondents signalled that the current vision and mission remain valid. The discussion received inputs from a range of development actors – from NGOs (like Oxfam America and World Vision) to bilateral donors (including the Netherlands, UK, and US), multilateral donors (including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank) and partner countries (including Colombia, Honduras and Nigeria).
  • Various contributors noted that they felt that IATI continues to be relevant and the only actor in this space and the only standard.
    • A few contributors noted that any discussion of and reflection on IATI should start with recognizing the great work that many people involved in the initiative have done in the last 10 years to get IATI to where it is.
  • Others noted that additional work was needed to bring the standard closer to other open data initiatives (such as open contracting) and their broader open data community.
  • Many others discussed the importance of linking up with other actors providing cooperation assistance and financial flows (such as through humanitarian assistance, technical cooperation and different forms of development financing).

Areas of action:

  • Rather than reopening IATI’s vision and mission, it was felt more work needs to be done to fully deliver on it.
  • This includes providing to countries better forward-looking data, the alignment with national and local budgeting and better communication materials about how IATI is relevant for a broader set of financing modalities.

2. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

[The five key objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction are: 1.) Promoting Data Use; 2.) Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth; 3.) Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard; 4.) Communication and Outreach; and 5.) Institutional Arrangements]

Overall reflections:

  • It was generally felt that while IATI has done a great job in its space over the last 10 years.
  • Still there were gaps where additional progress is needed.
  • A wide number of respondents pointed to the need to improve data use and quality (the “twin” goal). This suggests focusing on the “basics” and a few things, doing them well.
    • Quality: reaching a critical mass of good quality data across all publishers
    • Use: getting end-user groups (including partner country governments) actively using the data and making it interoperable (i.e. the form and function of data).
  • Some discussed the sequencing and responsibility questions to overcome this challenge:
    • what would be the impetus and support needed to get publishers to publish better quality data;
    • what are the tools, training and platform needed to get current and new groups to use the data (not just tech savvy people); and
    • what are ways to make the standard more interoperable with other systems and standards.
  • In this sense it is about clearly identifying and focusing on the end user rather than always high-tech solutions. This includes products that work for different groups (including women) and non-English speakers.
    • For some changes, it means shifting the focus from top-down to bottom-up.
    • In some cases, it might mean focus on concrete fixes, like building a better IATI data store.
  • It also means allowing for better traceability of funds and increased transparency about relationships, resources and results (including the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs).
  • Some respondents pointed to the existing landscape of tools, such as the d-Portal. There seemed to be a consensus that these had helped but that more such tools were needed.
  • In some ways, these needed standard changes are connected less with the standard and more with communication and outreach, including the involvement of a range of citizens (including children, women, disabled, etc.) in using IATI and in project decisions.

Looking ahead:

  • Some respondents noted that IATI being successful means moving beyond the initiative and seeing this as a format to achieve the end goals: organisations will be "saving as the IATI format",
  • Some respondents noted that to fix the current challenges means a frank and open discussion on what is and is not working rather than only reflecting on aspirations:
    • For example, is the database for IATI easily searchable and working? Are partner countries accessing and using IATI regularly? Is the data quality where it should be for OECD donors (before taking on new ones)?
    • What does IATI best and how can it do more of this?
    • Where does IATI value? How can this be amplified (auto translation, making data more “official”, converting currencies, data archiving).
  • Others signalled the importance of understanding what the value of IATI membership provides and how to enhance this and make it more attractive for others to join.

Last word:

A few contributors noted that the value of transparency offered by IATI has value in itself and needs to be recognized. However, it also must be noted, as one person noted, that broad support for the inherent value of transparency is not where it was 10 years ago when IATI was created. 

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Hi everyone!

I wanted to welcome everyone and am very pleased to be co-moderating this part of the consultation with Sohir.

This is a great platform for us to hear from you all about the future of IATI - starting with its mission and vision.

We welcome all of your ideas, insights and reflections -  whether you are new to the initiative or have been part of it since the beginning.

We are at an important moment of reflection and this discussion will help us all to better understand the way forward on IATI.

Looking forward to a great conversation with everyone.

All the best,

Craig

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Merci beaucoup Craig, j'en suis également ravie.

Passionnés de la transparence, l'IITA a besoin de vous. Nous attendons vos commentaires avec impatience.

Merci.

Sohir

David Megginson • Standards lead, Centre for Humanitarian Data at United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) from Canada

The IATI community is doing a good job exploring ways to adapt itself to the changing aid environment (non-traditional donors, direct cash transfers, Grand Bargain, etc). The place that we're a bit weak is on our original 2008 Accra commitment to provide timely, forward-looking information to partner countries.

To a large extent, IATI has predictably evolved to fit the needs of the organisations paying the bills (big donors, UN agencies, iNGOs, etc), like transparency to their taxpayers and public awareness of their projects. That's probably inevitable, but when we get to the point of trying to promote "data use" among partner countries instead of giving them the data they originally asked for (and donors promised) 11 years ago, it might be a good opportunity to step back and ask ourselves a couple of questions:

  1. Was per-country forward-looking budget info ever a realistic promise (given that many aid agencies budget broadly by region and/or sector, rather than specifically by country and need)?
  2. What kinds of forward-looking financial information matter most? Do partner countries really want to know aid agencies' budgets for vaccination programmes in coming years (for example), or are they really interested mainly in direct budget support?
Annelise PARR • Secretariat Coordinator, IATI at UNDP

Hi David, thanks for pitching your initial thoughts in to the discussion quickly. I wanted to let you and others know that as part of the wider process of developing the new Strategic Plan, over the next few weeks the Secretariat will be carrying out visits to some of our partner country members (starting with Malawi next week) to really go in some depth with precisely these kinds of questions, and the findings will be used along with these moderated discussions to feed in to the Strategic Directions paper. 

Lidia Fromm Cea • Directora Ejecutiva (Proyecto de Integración y Desarrollo Mesoamérica) at Proyecto de Integración y Desarrollo Mesoamérica from El Salvador

Annelise PARR: great! Will visits include countries in Latin America? If so, which countries are to be visited?

Taryn Davis

Annelise PARR I just got back from Malawi last week, and one of the key data needs that development partners still aren't reporting to their AMP are forward looking budgets. They ask for estimated project budgets for the next three years, and this is something that still isn't being reported into the system. So, I definitely see this as the major value add of IATI if that data is there. 

Annelise PARR • Secretariat Coordinator, IATI at UNDP

Lidia Fromm Cea For this round we're looking at three in Africa and one in Asia, but none yet in LAC region. It is something we can certainly look into. Honduras for example has shown strong interest in strengthening partnership with IATI and sharing knowledge on the very advanced systems they have in place there for registering data on different development flows.

Annelise PARR • Secretariat Coordinator, IATI at UNDP

Taryn Davis thanks very much; any additional insights from your Malawi visit would be really valuable to prepare our colleague Piper who will be travelling there. 

David Megginson • Standards lead, Centre for Humanitarian Data at United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) from Canada

Excellent! Thanks for the update, Annelise PARR.

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks David for these very helpful insights and to Annelise PARR for this update. It would be great to also hear if others also share these questions that David has posed. Please feel welcome to add in your thoughts to this exchange as well.

theo van de sande • Chair GB IATI at """MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands""" from Netherlands

Many thanks David for pointing this out. In discussing the future direction of IATI as a network including the standard, I am particularly interested in how to expand the relevance of IATI far beyond the realm of finances (financial information) and ministries/governments.

In particular to your points:

1. there are many more (and I would add more relevant) forward looking elements in IATI than merely forward looking budget. Ideas for further strengthening the forward looking character would be more than welcome.

And yes, you are absolutely right in concluding that as bilateral donors we are not budgeting on countries but on priority themes. Therefore the expectation that these donors were going to be able to provide that type of info were false from the beginning.

2. we have to get rid of the idea that the major target group for the use of our data is the ministries of finance in partner countries (and their sole interest in the amount of budget support provided to them). Instead of attempting how to please this particular group (which is almost impossible given the previous point) we should start working on how to make our data more 'political': increasing relevance for other ministries, civil society, journalists, parliamentarians etc.etc.

Let's finally get rid of the idea that the IATI data standard is a financial accountability tool.

David Megginson • Standards lead, Centre for Humanitarian Data at United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) from Canada

Thanks for the great discussion so far, everyone. Building on Theo's point, the strategic goals of the 2008 Accra Aid Effectiveness Conference (disclaimer: I wasn't there) were partner-country ownership of development strategy, inclusive partnerships, and real/measurable results.

If IATI is stepping back from forward-looking budget information as a means of supporting these goals, it would be good if we still kept the strategic goals of Accra (and Busan) in mind, and tested every new proposal against them.

Accra: http://www.oecd.org/dac/effectiveness/45827311.pdf

Cheers, David

p.s. On the Humanitarian side, we also have the Grand Bargain to consider.

theo van de sande • Chair GB IATI at """MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands""" from Netherlands

It's not IATI that is stepping back from forward looking budget as promised in Accra and Paris, it is the donors. IATI datasets are simply reflecting the behaviour of its publishers, not the other way around. We can have many interesting discussions on why donors have deviated from their commitments,but that doesn't change

Fundamental challenge for us with forward looking budget is that the activity file is not the proper place for providing data on budget. Activity file only shows data that has already been committed to specific activities (and might include planned spending on these activities, including the channel of delivery already chosen). If we want to add information on available budget not yet tied to or in specific activities in a specific country or a channel of delivery, the organisation file seems to be the proper place. In addition, it should be made possible to relate the budget in the organisation file to activities in the activities file. An interesting challenge for the way forward?

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks to everyone for the comments so far - especially to theo van de sande and David Megginson for their points about whether IATI should be a financial transparency and accountability tool (and also how IATI fits into past and present global commitments).

In looking ahead to IATI and its mission and vision, it would be great to hear from others and their take on how these puzzle pieces fit (or don't fit) together.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

I am sure while the broder vision is clear,the structure depends with in each country,and society based on its adoption of knowledge,resourses.Protection of natural resources is important factor.

In each discussion,let us not forget that"Engineering as a field of education is only,exactly 200 years old."Live science reported,form NASA observations that universe is increasing on its own at fast speed than imagined.This quote is to tell that we forget to connect many inter dimensional systems in the socalled technologies we adopt.The latest report from Earth imaginery is about California mud creek land slides near BIG SUR,is due to contineous drought and delge."That is due to the interstacies or the pores loosing water and getting compressed in long run.The same is possible where ever there are excess snowfall due to "new Polar vertex" formation in USA and another in the Siberia desert."They tend to create new disasters.Could be an earth quake in the coming yeras.

How much to finance,whom to finance,when to?.It is better the communities including in developed countries are motivated and trained in such a way,that,excess heat,or excess rain water/snowfall,will raise in change of periodic tables of ground water and such can leave a devasting effect.Hence training and keeping other options are more important,for small nations.

Immigration as a tendency prevails among societies,and such immigration across nations illegally needs to be addressed by each country.The political and community leaders have to be told.Hence here agin a motivational,reserch and problem solving situation shall be developed with in the country. 

Herman van Loon • IATI Technical lead at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands from Netherlands

In the preceding 10 years, IATI has mainly focused on transparency and funder accountability. The emphasis has been on stimulating as many organizations as possible to publish their data in IATI format. This effort has been very successful given the fact that now more than 900 organizations are publishing in IATI. There are different incentives for organizations to publish in IATI, ranging from transparency advocates to organization which only publish the bare minimum in order to be compliant with funder requirements. The IATI standard itself has evolved to a full-fledged language covering many aspects of the operational activities of organizations in the development and humanitarian field.

The world of development cooperation and humanitarian aid is not a world of isolated organizations and communities, but consists of a tightly interrelated network of different actors being dependent on each other and therefore almost all having an interest in what is happening in the network. Actors are e.g. the local communities who are to benefit from the activities, the private parties delivering goods and services, governments, NGO’s, multilaterals, bilateral donors, etc. Gaining better insight in this heterogeneous and complex network, provides i.m.o. a huge opportunity improve the management of development cooperation and humanitarian processes.      

This is where IATI as a multi-stakeholder initiative can shine. IATI provides the functionality to serve as the common language to exchange information between actors in the world of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. It has the flexibility to serve the information needs of the different constituents, it allows communication of both structured and unstructured data. It allows communicating both about input (financial flows and budgets) as well as results. It allows communicating multilayered complex programs. There is really no viable alternative to IATI.

In order to fulfill the ambition to serve as a common language for working together in a complex network, there are some challenges though, e.g.:

  • The information needs of each actor (including the communities for which all the work is being done) should be clear so that publishers can publish the relevant data so that the data become usable;
  • different constituents have different roles in the network which needs to be reflected in the data they publish;
  • the technical data quality of publisher’s IATI data should improve;
  • the intrinsic content data quality of publisher’s IATI data should improve;
  • there should be more focus for IATI publishers to relate to the fund providers on the activity level instead of the current practice to mainly focus on outgoing flows only;
  • publishers should be encouraged to publish their whole activity portfolio instead of publishing only activities needed for compliance reasons;
  • IATI data management should focus on international data standards and encourage publishers to use international standard as much as possible. Examples are sector classifications and SDG’s;

In summary: the IATI standard should move in the next three years from ‘publish what you fund` to `publish what you do together with your partners`.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

This idea of UNDP seems good,and needs to be refined,due to the complex SDGs ,interwoven among many intricate systems and too complicated with the present understandings. https://acceleratorlabs.undp.org/ama

David Megginson • Standards lead, Centre for Humanitarian Data at United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) from Canada

Well put, Herman. I'd like to add that as we move to "publish what you do together with your partners", we'll want to imagine a point where traceability now longer means full IATI financial reporting, and just a list of activities/locations that received funding.

For example, if the Netherlands MFA provides CARE with €200,000 for WASH work in DRC, and CARE reports €180,000 in expenditures to local partners, we don't really know much about what's happening on the local level (I think that's what Young Innovations found with IATI reporting for the Nepal earthquake); however, if those local activities (e.g. building outhouses in village X) were reported via non-IATI channels, like humanitarian 3Ws, with CARE's IATI activity ID attached, we'd still be able to answer the question "what did they do together?", even if we can't put an exact financial value on each local activity.

Elie Gasagara • Partnership Leader, Global Accountability at World Vision International from Kenya

I like your point, Herman, especially on the information needs of each actor. While IATI data has been to support partner countries to look forward and others actors to track the flow of aid, IATI will not reach its full mission if the corruption and misuse of development aid is ignored and left to partner countries. My experience is that while Partner countries may have good intentions or have anti-corruption policies in place, there is a long way to go if no actions is put in place to get citizen participating in raising their concerns when they see misuse of resources or projects intended for them are not realised due to some leaders diverting resources to their own pockets. IATI vision and mission are good. However, we need to explore ways of asking Partner countries to be more transparent in how aid is used and ensuring that citizen (including children, women, disabled, etc) are involved and participate in deciding on projects and how these are implemented. I know there is greater effort by certain donors, including the Netherlands, on pushing to see results. This agenda needs to be pushed more with all stakeholders, being Partner countries and CSOs to see good impact on poor communities and achieve sustainable development outcomes.

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks Herman van Loon for laying this out so clearly for how you think IATI  is currently working well.

On the points you mention of "quality" and "use":

How do you and others feel that this focus should be reflected in the IATI mission and vision going forward?

Or is it already there and these are more ways to deliver it?

Lea Zoric

Hi all, 

I think we need to take a very close look at "use" as there are so many different ways of using IATI data. While the option of automated IATI data import into aid management platforms and systems on partner country level is of utmost important, there are so many more different options and stakeholder of IATI data that need to be recognised and addressed. 

Coulibaly • économiste en developpemnt, chargée de la formation et de l'encadrement de bénévoles. at ONG la mère de la collégienne from Côte d’Ivoire

Merci pour cette discussion. L'accès aux données dans nos pays en développement rests encore un défi. Cette initiative pour la transparence mettra une coherence dans la gestion des aides.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Ravie d'avoir un commentaire en français. Quelles sont les difficultés que vous rencontrez? quelles sont les données dont vous avez besoin? Pour quoi? Selon vous, comment l'IITA est en mesure de mettre cette cohérence dont vous parlez au sein des système de gestion de l'aide. Nous aimerions bien avoir plus de précision, pour répondre le mieux possible aux attentes des pays dans notre prochaine stratégie.

Merci

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

I could translate from google.The data of 1.3 billion people in China is contineously monitered.Even over driving and crime are recorded and punishments are recorded also.The aqisition of visa/passport and such other finacials and repayment is available from one persons number given to him from the data tool.

India the DATA of citizens of 1.25 billion is preserved in such a way the needy for any benifits is immediately recognised based on their applications.Some of the house properties and other assets purchase and or sales needs one of the cards ,to identify.

With such a system it is possible to know how many are women,how they are benifitted.Even the toilet construction and use identified based on local data and benifits are transferred.

Africa and Asia,some rural areas the sanitation is a problem with soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection and has been hypothesized to prevent fecal contamination from spreading throughout the household environment by improved use.

Trichuris trichiura infection, pyrantel pamoate composite followed by mebendazole composite is generally used.The prime issues is safe sanitation.

WHO recommends periodic medicinal treatment (deworming) without previous individual diagnosis to all at-risk people living in endemic areas. Treatment should be given once a year when the baseline prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the community is over 20%, and twice a year when the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the community is over 50%. 

Again the Data on health issues,family traditions,living conditions is more essential to understand the natural risks arising.

leo stolk • from Netherlands

Hi, i really like and support Herman's proposition towards 'publish what you do together'. 

in my view IATI's core remains the standard and the registry and datastore. Without a core of sufficient quality and coverage IATI will fail to serve networks, demonstrate relationships and trackrecords of publishers. With growing quality data, these will become more tangible and visible.

Any entities, publisher, can show with whom they worked together for which change and purpose. Showing and demonstrating, validated current and past engagements is of importance for most of us. This is certainly true for the current more typical publishers, donors agencies and international and national NGOs. Your experience, as funding, extending or implementing partner, on a specific theme/topic or region will be substantiated in the registry, by your past activities. 

The landscape is changing, less traditional actors, and potential IATI publishers like south south cooperation actors, social enterprises, impact investors, MFIs are likely interested in relationship information from IATI, or interested to become visible in IATI as an experienced actor too

On top of the IATI core, using its data, IATI could enable a platform of networked relationships, a source of experience validation and trackrecord, a marketplace of interests, ambitions and intentions (need for funding or need for experienced actor, need to like minded organisation).  

Like we check people on Linkedin, Facebook and on Instagram, development actors could check each other out or search on the IATI platform. 

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

What all is missing is a people audit of finaces rendered.While it could be preliminary how it can be done,but the incharge of agency has to get a certification of the services rendered and at least 50% costs incurred from local people whom the services are meant.Hearing a cruel word that "imperialism at work"again and again in history has no relevence unless we start addressing it.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

I do love the concept of "publish what you do together", to increase coverage and traceability. I am struggling to find people to join the movement :). 

We also need to now focus on the data itself, avoid duplication, double counting...

So thank you Herman van Loon and leo stolk 

leo stolk • from Netherlands

A stronger emphasis on relationships could be incorporated to the first key objective of the mission:

Mission The IATI community works together to 1) ensure transparency of data on relationships, development resources and results; ... 

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks leo stolk for your contribution and this idea about mapping relationships.

Can you give us an example of what you would want to see?

Which actors are working together to deliver a specific project or stream of funding?

theo van de sande • Chair GB IATI at """MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands""" from Netherlands

Cooperation in networks is the rule rather than the exception. It is only in very rare cases that a single activity is the result of a single donor and a single implementing partner in a single country, most likely on specific areas such as human rights and LGBTI. It's therefore imperative for our survival that we have to be able to map relationships.

leo stolk • from Netherlands

an example that exists is for instance https://www.globalinnovationexchange.org/  where multiple actors all have their own genuine interest to share information about themselves, their track record, their relationships, validated previous contracts and transactions.  

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks Leo. Very helpful example!

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Dear all:

We are the halfway mark in this exchange! We would like to thank all those who have share their thoughts and ideas about the future mission and vision of IATI.

We also would like to welcome everyone to continue to contribute to the debate. It is the space to hear your voices about whether IATI is on the right track and where - and how - it should go forward.

Please send your ideas by 25 February so we will be able to have sufficient time for an online discussion about them.

Also we would like to encourage everyone to reflect again on the questions that have been posed: IATI's mission, vision and strategic objectives.

Below is a brief overview of the points received to date about IATI and its vision and mission.

Best,

Sohir and Craig

----------------------

1. Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? If not, how could they be reshaped to better support achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global political agendas?

Current Status:

  • David Megginson explained how IATI has done a good job at adapting to the changing context of development cooperation and flows.

  • Herman van Loon feels that IATI has been very successful at advancing transparency and donor accountability, including getting many different organizations to publish to the IATI standard (over 930) and covering their operational activities. He feels there is no comparable alternative to IATI given its “common language”

  • However Herman van Loon add that given some present challenges, the IATI standard should move in the next three years from “‘publish what you fund’ to ‘publish what you do together with your partners’.”

  • Coulibaly noted the challenge of access to development cooperation data for countries, including her own (Senegal) and how IATI and transparency helps to overcome this and bring better coherence to aid management.

Potential Changes

  • David Megginson noted the need to come back to the original Accra pledge and its strategic goals: ensuring partner countries are getting the forward data that “matters most”. He questions whether IATI has met these goals.

  • For Taryn Davis, who was recently in Malawi, she heard the government asking for three-year forward-looking budgets, which are not being reported in the current IATI system.

  • Annelise Parr note that as part of the strategy development, IATI will be visiting a couple of partner countries to better understand the need for forward-looking budget data, starting with Malawi.   

  • Theo van der Sande added that forward looking data is important, but this includes other information in addition to data on budgets. All forward-looking data in IATI needs further strengthening.

2. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

[The five key objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction are: 1.) Promoting Data Use; 2.) Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth; 3.) Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard; 4.) Communication and Outreach; and 5.) Institutional Arrangements]

Overall reflections:

  • Theo van der Sande signaled that IATI should start working on how to make the data have more policy uptake across all stakeholders: increasing relevance for other ministries, civil society, journalists, parliamentarians etc.etc.

  • Saripalli Suryanarayana noted the importance of connecting the many inter-dimensional systems in the technologies and standards - such as IATI - that we adopt. This includes its use and users.

  • Herman van Loon explained that development cooperation and humanitarian aid is a community of interconnected and interrelated but different, heterogeneous actors. He feels this is where IATI could shine given the common language it provides. But this also poses challenges given the complex network. For him, IATI  could do more on data use and quality.

  • Leo Stolk agreed and flagged that without a sufficient “core” of quality data and coverage, it will be hard to demonstrate change. Better data quality, will allow better insights into relationships and how different actors are engaging in this space.

  • For Lea Zoric, there is a need to look more closely at the different ways of using IATI data, in addition to aid management systems (which are very important), and which stakeholders could use this data.

Herman van Loon • IATI Technical lead at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands from Netherlands

Maybe also include the humanitarian element of IATI in the vision statement and the network character of cooperation between actors in the mission statement. As a suggestion would an idea to make explicit why high quality data is essential in the mission statement: to support better decision making (instead of being compliant or transparent for transparency sake only?

Vision

Transparent, good quality information on development and humanitarian resources and results is available and used by all stakeholder groups to help achieve sustainable development outcomes.

Mission

The IATI community works together to 1) ensure transparency of data on relationships, development resources and results of all stakeholders in the network of organizations and communities; 2) ensure the quality of IATI data is continually improved and responds to the needs of all stakeholders so that the data supports better decision making and 3) facilitate access to effective tools and support so that IATI data contributes to the achievement of sustainable development outcomes.

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks Herman van Loon for these very concrete ideas for what you feel could strengthen IATI's vision and mission.

It would be great to hear from others in this forum there thoughts about what additions/changes are needed to the vision and mission as IATI looks ahead.

Anna Petruccelli • Senior IATI Specialist at ActionAid UK from United Kingdom

Craig Fagan I think Theo's articulation is great but I'm suggesting a couple of tweaks (in Italic), to make it sounds a bit more 'human'.

Vision

Transparent, good quality information on development and humanitarian resources and results is shared (instead of available) and used by all stakeholder groups to help achieve sustainable development outcomes.

Mission

The IATI community works together to 1) ensure transparency of data on relationships,development resources and results of all stakeholders in the network of organizations and communities; 2) ensure the quality of IATI data is continually improved and responds to the needs of all stakeholders so that the data supports better decision making and 3) facilitate access to effective tools and capacity building support so that IATI data contributes to the achievement of sustainable development outcomes.

I think the strategic objectives are still relevant, although it's difficult for many NGOs to focus on data use as, due to time/resources, donor compliance remains the priority. Harmonisation of donor requirements and decreased (non-IATI) reporting burden, alongside capacity building support (incl tech tools), would free up resources for organisations to start exploiting IATI's full potential.

Anna Petruccelli • Senior IATI Specialist at ActionAid UK from United Kingdom

Sorry, Herman's suggestion not Theo's!

Aria Grabowski • Senior Policy Advisor at OXFAM AMERICA from United States

1. What are the implications for IATI of an ever-evolving development financing and partnership landscape that increasingly moves beyond ODA? Where should IATI position itself within this landscape (at the national, regional, and global levels) and within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda?

  • What is IATI’s current niche offering that cannot be found elsewhere?

IATI is the only one stop shop source of information on development (including humanitarian) support that includes more than financial systems anywhere. This is a massive value add and is something that IATI should lean into more.  If we are to accomplish what the video describing IATI says (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfjxWLB9kpE) than this focus should be bigger than ODA, which it already is, it is about all resources. The project details are a part of this value add, and until a simple machine readable concept can be created this function lives in project documents and that is fine.  The second the details found in project documents goes away, is the second I stop using IATI because OECD is my financial reporting tool.  As a wider spectrum of funding becomes included, this should continue to be emphasized.  IATI is not a financial reporting mechanism, its about providing answers to who is doing what where so development can be more effective, coordinated, and accountable and that is all about the details.  

  • Should IATI’s focus be further broadened to incorporate additional actors outside the traditional aid landscape, for example a greater focus on increasing the transparency of emerging donors and blended finance, etc.? Or beyond finance to other forms of development support?

Yes and it already does, see above as it applies to all financing. 

  • Does IATI currently fit into national open data ecosystems?  If no, why not? If yes, how could IATI be even better integrated with other data standards and data reporting processes, including SDG reporting, particularly at national level?
  • What challenges does IATI face in order to keep up with rapid technological change (for example in relation to how data is broadly collected and used), in order to ensure its continued relevance?

There have to be well designed user (and I mean non-coder general users from a cross section of user types) tester tools that compile information in a helpful easily searchable and sorted way.  This ultimately is a key driver of success, and needs to be funded and have sufficient staff capacity assigned to it.  These tools CAN NOT be designed for tech savy people and CAN NOT require people to create APIs. If we can create something that a random user can come to and in 5 mins can find answers to what they are looking for that make sense, then we will stay relevant.  It doesn't have to be fancy or flashy, it just has to work ie be useful and usable. 

Vision and Mission

2. Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? If not, how could they be reshaped to better support achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global political agendas? 

They work.

3. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

[The five key objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction are: 1.) Promoting Data Use; 2.) Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth; 3.) Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard; 4.) Communication and Outreach; and 5.) Institutional Arrangements]

As topics they still work. The real issues are how are they prioritized, staffed and funded?  Not just in amounts but do we have the right people in a community to really work on these issues or do we need more paid staff because there are spaces we really don't have the right expertise for.  I think we do a great job and really have the right people in the room for issues 2 and 3, but not for 1 and 4.  What this means is we don't make as much progress on those issues and so we are at a point now in which we need to bring different people into the conversation and functional support  for the work.  

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thank you so much Aria Grabowski for these substantive contributions to this online discussion.

The niche value argument you outline is very clear.

In terms of user tools, what is something you would want? Is there an example of such a tool from another sector or area of work that you think could be used as a good model?

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Thanks a lot Aria Grabowski for taking the time to give this very useful and detailed responses. 

Aria Grabowski • Senior Policy Advisor at OXFAM AMERICA from United States

Craig Fagan I don't think there is anything I use online to search for information like this so its hard to point to one tool, but I'll give some examples.  Before I do that I want to highlight a few things, while yes I am a user, I do not represent the typical user, and we really need to be asking those people this question and do paper testing with them and then more user testing with a more ready to go mock up.  This are people in missions and country office, partner country government officials, civil society in a range of places.  Also I really really want to build a better d-portal and not create new spin offs.  People know the website and it feels like a really underfunded, un-invested in first step to the tool a lot of people would need.

In terms of tools I like, google maps, it let me looks at the area I care about get really basic information about what is happening, and then if a click on a specific thing I have access to more information, and the more I click through things the more information I get. What this means is we need actual sub-national project information and details to drill down into (this is on the publishers).  All that said there is probably way too much information so it may be helpful to be able to filter before looking at the map, so I just want to see water and sanitation programs, and all the other noise goes away.  

Also different user types may have different information need (I think we need to still try to verify that because between my research, USAID's research, and open ags research it seems like people have similar needs) and the US CDC does a good job of letting people select what type of person the are by filtering by health professional or other types of users.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Aria Grabowski you are right!

Steven Flower  IATI needs users stories ;-)

Delphine CONSTANT • from France

Bonjour à tous,

Je pense que l'IATI devrait se focaliser sur la réutilisation et la connaissance des donnés par les pays partenaires. Ici, en France, les données au format IATI sont très peu consultées. Celles qui sont réellement consultées sont celles publiées au format CSV. Nous n'avons pas toujours les éléments pour convaincre nos parties prenantes de consulter celle au format IATI.

theo van de sande • Chair GB IATI at """MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands""" from Netherlands

Let's not confuse between the format we NEED as pubishers (which is xml) and the format data-users might need or be able to digest (which might be csv). As publishers we need the xml format to provide for the kind of detailed, multi-dimensional and relevant datasets. We are unable to publish them in csv without severely sacrificin gon data quality and -in the end- relevance and usefulness.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Bonjour Delphine CONSTANT merci beaucoup pour ta réponse. Que pourriez-vous faire au niveau de l'AFD pour inciter les parties prenantes à consulter les données XML? je comprends bien que ce ne soit pas facile pour tout le monde de les comprendre. Ce que je peux te proposer c'est d'inciter ces mêmes parties prenantes à consulter le D. Portal plutôt, peut-être que cela aura plus d'impact. Qu'en penses-tu?

yohanna.loucheur@international.gc.ca

Je pense que le message de Delphine est important. I agree with Theo that we must distinguish between what publishers need (xml) and what users need (csv). But IMHO so far we have not spent enough time thinking about this distinction, in particular to inform our work on data use. This links back to Aria's comment about really understanding user needs (including their preferences and limitations) and giving them tools they can use - most probably to download csv (which is totally fine, as Theo said). 

Taryn Davis

If IATI wants to be seen as wholistic source of data on international development, it will need to bring in more emerging donors. 

Personally, I think the mission reads more like a strategy rather than defining the overall goal of the initiative, and I think it should clearly define the stakeholders. So something like "Our mission is for country governments, development partners, CSOs, and media to have access to high quality, aggregatable information on development resources, activities, and outcomes, and have the knowledge, skills, and power to use this data to improve development outcomes."

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Mark Brough thanks a lot :) and well noted.

Publish What You Fund Team • from United Kingdom

What is IATI’s current niche offering that cannot be found elsewhere?

IATI has the potential to be a powerful and unique source of aid and development data, in that it combines organisation (strategic) data alongside financial data, project data and project level documentation. However, to underpin this strategy process, it is important to note that at present the above is not what IATI is offering. It is, at best, offering an incomplete "keyhole" into what is broadly happening in a country, a snapshot of some of the ongoing activities with mixed levels of reporting on lessons learned and evaluations. A lack of reliable data and/or tools to make data accessible means that it is hard/impossible to utilise data with confidence in meaningful ways. 

As we commence our contribution to this strategy consultation, we will take this opportunity to concur with a number of the other comments made throughout, and specifically those arguing for a greater focus on gender, more energy towards identifying on-budget expenditure information, and improved accessibility for speakers of languages other than English.

Should IATI’s focus be further broadened to incorporate additional actors outside the traditional aid landscape?

First and foremost there is a need to balance any desire to "expand" with a need to ensure that the foundational IATI offering (accurate, timely, accessible data) is ready to scale. Data quality remains a significant problem and more donors publishing unusable data, with limited means for users to access it, won't necessarily encourage greater data use nor will it represent a particularly enticing proposition for new actors if left in its current state. 

In time, when ready, it will be essential for IATI to adapt with the times, and therefore broaden its publisher base to include DFIs and less traditional donors. Likewise, and as per other comments in our response, we agree that there is a fundamental requirement to shift from a top down to bottom up emphasis– engaging with national CSO platforms, partner country governments and other stakeholders, addressing user needs (mostly widely known) etc.

Does IATI currently fit into national open data ecosystems?  

We’re not experts here, but given the number and scale of AIMS investments, and the increasing recognition of the need to support users, we feel it will be important, in the longer term at least, for the new IATI strategy to acknowledge/support this shift.

What challenges does IATI face in order to keep up with rapid technological change (for example in relation to how data is broadly collected and used), in order to ensure its continued relevance?

As a principle, until the majority of data published in the Standard is comprehensive, useable and accessible, IATI should focus on doing a few things well rather than spreading themselves too thinly. IATI will likely only become relevant when the basic data is sufficient. It should focus on quality and accessibility for the coming period, with aspirations to innovate later.

Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? 

In short, yes. However there is an urgent need to fundamentally shift the viewpoint, energy and narrative from one that is top down to one that is bottom up. It’s difficult, perhaps illogical to try and then separate out the need to provide a functioning user tool to enable access to all of the data – be that D-portal or an alternative. Not only is this critical as a means for most users to access the data, but also as an essential feedback and accountability mechanism. We’re far enough along this journey to know that it is unlikely any third party will now enter the arena to develop such a portal, and likewise, we know that the “value” of doing so for external parties is limited until such a time as the data is of better quality. We see a functioning portal as key to the improvement of data quality and use thus, echoing the wishes of the members at the 2018 MA, see it as core to the forthcoming strategy. Without a way to meaningfully access the data then the data use discussion is redundant. Without a way to meaningfully access the data, IATI can’t expect to be used to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. In the long term we should be aiming to move towards a situation where we talk more about the portal and the data than the Standard.

As we shift the narrative from top down to bottom up we also need to recognise that despite being ten years in, IATI still has some foundation building to do. We need to recognise that the promise of IATI is currently unfulfilled. We need to get back to basics. We need to focus on the core and resist the temptation to broaden the scope until such basic aspects as portals, hierarchies, traceability and double counting are addressed. Quality, accurate data and a means of accessing it easily will build trust and foster use, including among a broader range of actors.

Ole Jacob Hjøllund

Sorry for missing the 25. February milestone in this discussion. I am grateful for this opportunity to contribute to an open hearing on the very essential questions, and will do my best to divide my contribution accordingly – so please accept that this is only one third of it, avoiding repetition of input provided in the other discussions. E.g. I agree much with Herman, but that is better reflected in my contribution under discussion 3.

Reading the Vision & Mission, it is reassuring to find that it still is valid, with it’s delicate distinction between the vision of good information and the mission to provide good data. IATI is an Initiative, focused on the standardised opening of data – the vision is guiding us, but it is not within our control. This remains valid.

The strategic directions are largely presenting the right priorities, but it should be possible to focus further, perhaps just ranking the priorities according to importance. More about that under discussion 3. The only element that really needs renewed attention is the simplistic idea that the twin goals (reg. data use and quality) should be promoted through IATI’s outreach and communications strategy. That is simply too much to expect from any sort of outreach and communication; we must dare to recognise the importance of the standard itself, and the immediate data-use among partners, as a priority concern compared to ‘outreach and communication’.

IATI’s niche is ‘The Standard’, and we should be the last to forget the commitment coined in Busan, to deliver on the ‘common standard’ for all partners in development cooperation. We need, however, to emphasise that it is not just a standard for passive publication, but equally important as a standard for active exchange of data between immediate partners, in line with Herman’s points.

This genetic core should actually make it easy to navigate the changing landscape – when new actors are recognised as partners in development cooperation, then they fall within the existing scope, as I see it. We should not consider this a broadening nor a distraction from our core effort, which is to maintain and develop the relevant standard.

As an international initiative, IATI is not dependant on national ecosystems, which are deemed to emerge and develop according to local conditions. The relevant peers should be found in other international initiatives with a global and SDG-relevant outreach, and not only standards that are designed to be open by default. As such, IATI should pursue interoperability with other standards, that sheds light on SDG-relevant flows and activities, recalling that the SDG-reporting, on the achievement of SD-Goals, is exclusively a national obligation, served by another standard. To put it briefly, it would probably cause confusion rather than information, if any other partner than the partner-countries started to report against SDG-indicators, whereas the ‘reference’ provided with SDG-targets as an alternative purpose-code is providing relevant information on the intentions of the organisation responsible for a specific activity.

IATI’s challenges with rapid technological change should not be exaggerated; IATI provides highly structured data, not ‘big data’ in any sense. Regardless of the technological development, the structure will also be the most important feature of IATI-data in the future. We should pay more attention to the structure, and this is far more than just the schema: We must prepare ourselves to combine our knowledge about the data-models we live by, in order to distil the patterns we follow in our use of the IATI-standard (e.g. our choice of what to publish as leaf-level ‘Activity’). This would allow us to consider and decide where to add the tag’s that would allow cross-reference to other data-standards. It’s all about structure.

marilyn molina • Directora de Cooperación Privada para el Desarrollo at Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores from Honduras

Buenas dias Marilyn Molina - Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores y Cooperación Internacional de Honduras.

Pido disculpas, porque hasta el día de hoy estoy colocando comentarios pero estaba con atendiendo emergencias del trabajo.

Agradezco la oportunidad para poder participar, referente a la visión, como mecanismos de trabajo de mejorar de tan útil herramienta.

PGC y IATI:

El Gobierno de Honduras, signatario a la Declaración de París sobre la eficacia de la Ayuda, la Agenda de Acción de Accra y la Iniciativa Internacional para la Transparencia de la Ayuda, ha establecido como meta, en el marco del Plan de Gobierno desde el 2010, la promoción de la calidad de la eficacia de la Ayuda Oficial al Desarrollo. 

Es por ello, que fue creada la PGC, con el objetivo de “Promover una gestión efectiva de la cooperación para el desarrollo a través del fortalecimiento del dialogo y la coordinación entre los actores que intervienen en la gestión, administración, seguimiento y evaluación de los fondos de cooperación internacional”. Como resultado del compromiso de Honduras de implementar los principios de Transparencia y Rendición de Cuentas de la Cooperación Internacional, y su participación en la Iniciativa Internacional de la Transparencia de la Ayuda (IATI). Hemos Fortalecido la Plataforma de Gestión de la Cooperación (PGC), la cual permite visibilizar la gestión de la cooperación mediante el registro, monitoreo y georreferenciación de 1,491 proyectos hasta la fecha. http://pgc.sre.gob.hn/portal/

La PGC, utiliza los estándares de la IATI para ingreso de Programas y Proyectos en cualquier etapa de la cooperación del desarrollo (financiamiento, implementación, etc.), por lo que, se están haciendo gestiones para contar con un equipo técnico para la revisión y cotejo de la información registrada en ambos sistemas: IATI y PGC, así como el levantamiento de encuesta para el Global Parthership dentro de los proyectos que registran en la PGC.

Acciones importante que se pueden desarrollar:

Hemos participando en los eventos de la IATI y como recomendación, nos gustaría que se acercar a la región centroamericana, Sur, Caribe y México.

Es importante trabajar en la Data de ambos sistemas, ´por motivo que no son iguales la información que tenemos en la PGC y la que está en la plataforma de la IATI, debe crearse un equipo técnico y realizar la revisión país por país, con el propósito de contar con la información más específica para el público que acceso a las plataformas.

Es de vital crear lenguajes, por motivo que México, Centroamérica, América del Sur, el Caribe, España entre otros países manejamos el idioma español y la mayoría de funcionarios están solicitando que la información se refleje en español.

Lo anterior, por motivo que en diferentes eventos cuando hacemos socializacion de la IATI, desconocen sobre las acciones que se están realizando, solamente Honduras y Colombia participa constantemente, es importante realizar una mayor socialización sobre la información que se maneja sobre la transparencia y la utilidad que esto refleja para el desarrollo de cada nación.

marilyn molina • Directora de Cooperación Privada para el Desarrollo at Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores from Honduras

Tengo otros aportes:

Sobre a la Agenda 2030, creo que sería de gran utilidad trabajar con herramientas que son utilidad en la eficacia de la cooperación, homologación de terminología de cooperación, ya que cada país cuenta con la propia y esto debe trabajarse como productos.

Las conferencias son importantes, pero sería de mayor impacto para nosotros si trabajáramos un plan de acción por región, como las utilidades, fortalezas o herramientas que podemos utilizar para obtener el mayor provecho de la data de la  IATI, como entrenamientos o cursos para técnicos, analistas de cooperación, especialistas en análisis y monitoreo, así como informes que sean necesarios que los encargados de cooperación estén actualizados.

Existen diferentes herramientas y plataformas de cooperación, pero es de vital poder homologarlas y verificar la manera de como interconectarlas, por lo menos una por país con la IATI.  

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Gracias Marilyn por tus insumos y destacar estos importantes retos para la iniciativa del punto de vista de una usuaria y una participante al nivel nacional.

Asor Henry Nkang • Development Assistance Database Manager at Ministry of Budget and National Planning from Nigeria

I will strongly recommend that IATI being a multi-stakeholder initiative that is globally recognized and credible, should broaden it's focus to incorporate more actors outside the traditional aid landscape. This will help increase the transparency of emerging donors and blended finance, etc.

 

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thank you Asor Henry Nkang for underscoring this point about the actors involved.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Yes DATA is critical  not for AID/or money-any extent money pumped vanishes with little results.The fingering leads to showing finger on some one.What is needed is find about the technological needs.Where earth quakes may happen,hpw WASH to be implemented.What house stay better in the given earth quakes.What tropical  disease can occur in resulting climate changes.These are quickley to be asertained ,using a standard deviation-to be implemented.

yohanna.loucheur@international.gc.ca

I came (late) to provide comments but turns out I was right to wait as I can build on others' great input.

So my main input here will be: What Aria said! (on value added, on mission & vision, on ensuring we have the right people and resources to deliver on priorities, on really understanding user needs to guide tool development, on improving the D-Portal).

Adding though that I quite like Herman's framing that IATI is about showing relationships. Which to my mind links back to an early comment (sorry, can't seem to find the reference) about the importance of international standards and the fact that IATI must strongly engage in this work. The value of the IATI standard and data would increase tremendously if it was actually linked with other data - if it was **used** with other data in real life. We must help make it happen by identifying the jonction points (e.g. Org identifiers, classifications, geo references), supporting their development/adoption, and showing these linkages in our "IATI data use" tools/guidance.

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thank you yohanna.loucheur@international.gc.ca for your inputs and bringing in the point about how to link up IATI with other open data standards.

To the community: has this been tried before in terms of any pilots?

Steven Flower • from United Kingdom

Hi everyone

Thinking about IATI in 2030...

I read quite a few mentions of how IATI is currently a "source" or "destination" for useful data - this is great to hear.

BUT - I'd hope that 2030 nobody really talks about IATI anymore. By this, I don't mean to suggest that the initiative (and all its components) are forgotten or redundant - on the contrary.  What I mean by this is that the community of publishers and users (who will often be the same) are collaborating / cooperating together more effectively, and IATI is just the format and means to do this.

I agree that this sounds rather conceptual.  My grounded fear amongst this is that if IATI continues to be situated as an external, it may in turn become feasible to find fault or blame with IATI for any failure to better coordinate.  For me, this is unacceptable.  The duty to be transparency and cooperate on how we use limited resources is a shared one, and not something for the individual (organisation) to act on alone, or devolve to another.

IATI has now given us a platform to build upon. Of course we can change, adapt and develop - but the time for situating it as an external initiative seems to be focusing on the wrong issue.  Therefore, I do believe a key priority for IATI will be less about being an initiative, and more about seeking integration.  Organisations will be "saving as IATI", rather than "reporting to..." (which is a term I always react against !) 

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks Steven Flower for this contribution about where you would like to see this work by 2030 and in terms of integration. If that is the case, what steps are needed to get us there? Or are these already being taken as per the current vision/mission?

yohanna.loucheur@international.gc.ca

"I do believe a key priority for IATI will be less about being an initiative, and more about seeking integration. Organisations will be "saving as IATI", rather than "reporting to..." (which is a term I always react against !) "

Yes, absolutely in agreement. Words matter, they reflect our understanding of the world. Nobody reports to IATI and we really should absolutely stop saying this. 

David Silva Parra • Program Manager at SPIDER from Sweden

Dear all, 

Thank you for the comments and the opportunity to be appart of this process. 

Comments on the current vision and mission

I think the vision and mission is clear and to the point.

Comments on the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction

I think a key strategy should be added with the means to invest in usability. Right now that is lacking, in particular for smaller organisation that do not have the capacity to invest in understanding and using IATI. Frankly, It is too complicated. There should be investments in free and highly user friendly platforms to report IATI-data for stakeholders not only technical skilled users.

David Silva Parra Programme manager PIDER - The Swedish program for ICT in Developing Regions

 

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thanks David Silva Parra for underscoring the point again about usability.

Have you seen any comparable approaches to this in other initiatives that could be drawn on here?

MJ. Eeckhout • economist at MInbuza from Netherlands

As has been commented by a number of contributors before me, I would like to emphasize that IATI is entering a different phase, in which the data quality will be the crucial yardstick to assess which data standard will be used more often by the communities  watchdogs for certain and specific SDG's. If the IATI open data are used more frequently a critical mass will build up that every one will turn to IATI data. This may happen in the coming two to three years.  

Andie Vaughn

Responding for USAID, U.S. Department of State, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC):

Apologies for the last minute response to this - we have enjoyed reading through everyone's thoughts on these topics!  

IATI is well placed to be able to capture development information and should focus on its niche and competitive advantage which includes ensuring:

  • IATI is a data standard
  • that includes timely data
  • in a machine-readable format
  • that includes both a breadth of publishers and development actors’ data
  • including activity details that cannot be found comprehensively and standardized in other information. 

We value IATI’s flexibility and its ability to build on work done by others (for example, the core was adapted from the OECD CRS and the humanitarian fields were defined by experts at FTS). It should continue to serve this important collating function so that it keeps its focus.

One of IATI’s strengths is that it already includes actors outside the traditional aid landscape.  However, while being open to additional actors, IATI should ensure that it does not lose any focus on partner countries.  Building a strong partner country constituency, ensuring the data is useful, timely, and there is awareness in partner countries will enable IATI to continue to be competitive in the context of the 2030 agenda.  The focus should continue to be on partner countries and only evolving and shifting to fit their needs.

On that note, while IATI fits well into national data ecosystems, more consultation with partner countries is needed to ensure fit and, more importantly, need.  Our understanding is that there is sometimes concern over the fit of IATI data – does it meet what is needed?  The USG is committed to using our IATI data to fulfill reporting to partner countries and through this process we know that not everything needed is in IATI.  However, we recommend not trying to do too much too soon to keep up with every need and every eco-system.  Basic processes are still being set up, “basic” fields are still being mastered, and we believe IATI would be well placed to focus on ensuring there is more strength in these efforts before continuing to move forward.  IATI can fit into national open data eco-systems, but partner countries are needed to determine what this looks like.  Our understanding from this constituency at the TAG was that the IATI standard should take a pause and allow both publishers and users of data to catch up.  More publishers and better data should be a focus – more fields should not be.

In order to keep up with rapid technological change, IATI must have a functioning, detailed datastore. The datastore must produce valid data that can be used by both developers looking to interface with it and casual users of data who have come looking for a brief download on one specific piece of information.  The ability for all users to access and use IATI data in the coming years will be pivotal in the success of the initiative.

Finally, while we understand the need to consider a shifting landscape, IATI could consider a period of consolidation and make its ambition modest, but on meaningful. To demonstrate its value proposition, the Initiative should stay focused on developing the standard, improving data quality of existing data, and ensuring there are viable tools to use the information already available (eg the data store and d-Portal). 

Regarding the mission and vision:  Yes, the vision and mission are both still valid. Our preference is to err on the side of supporting national level needs and ecosystems.

Regarding the five strategic objectives:  The five strategic objectives are still valid; however, we recommend adding another objective to focus on the tools and resources related to use. For example, d-portal, the datastore, and prioritizing the tools needed to use IATI data are of very high priority to the USG.

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Thank you Andie Vaughn for adding these useful reflections here.

In terms of keeping up with technology changes, are there other ways that IATI data could be better leveraged?

Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Posting on behalf of Rupert Simons, former CEO, Publish What You Fund and former IATI Governing Board member (2016-18):

Any discussion of IATI must start with a recognition of the hard work and dedication of many people involved in the initiative, led by the secretariat and the technical team. They have kept the initiative going in difficult times and built up an enthusiastic community of publishers and practitioners. They have shifted norms and practices in large, remote organisations. However, in a resource-constrained world, we have to look beyond intentions at outcomes, and be honest about what IATI has achieved. Ten years on, with nearly a thousand publishers and a million activities, the following still hold:

  • There is no database of IATI data that can be readily searched, analysed or downloaded
  • There are no commercial IATI tools or applications
  • Nobody in a developing country government is accessing or downloading IATI data regularly, whether through an AIMS or otherwise

I know there have been attempts to fix all of these in the past, but even with pump-priming donor funds and a lot of hard work by brilliant people, they haven’t got very far (I hope the new datastore will be the exception!). Sometimes the demand isn’t there, sometimes the data is too complex for most people to use, or the money runs out. Nevertheless there IS lots of useful data on IATI that you can’t find elsewhere, so I’d suggest the following themes for the strategy over the next few years:

  1. Emphasise that transparency and standards are good things in and of themselves. People in the IATI community worry a lot about people not using data, but transparency is as much about changing attitudes within big organisations as empowering people outside them. You don’t need to be an open data enthusiast to agree that data standards are useful and necessary.
  2. Start with the users you already have. After years of arguing to the contrary, I’ve come to the view that developing country finance/planning ministries are never going to be major users of IATI data. The capable ones already know what aid and development finance is coming in, and the ones who don’t know either don’t want to know, or don’t have the capacity to work it out. But there ARE lots of people who want better data on aid and development finance, including those already in the IATI community or closely linked to it. So IATI should focus on their needs. I suggest that means putting more investment into the website and datastore and less into things like AIMS or aid-on-budget.
  3. Get the full picture from big OECD donors before worrying about south-south cooperation. I would love to see China and Saudi Arabia held to account on their ‘aid’ but I think that has to be achieved through political means not technical ones, and IATI  is not well placed to do it. On the other hand the government-owned DFIs and multilaterals can and should be made to publish to IATI: they are publicly owned/guaranteed, their shareholders are the same finance ministries as accepted transparency at the MDBs, and Open Contracting has shown that commercial confidentiality is more of a practical/cultural obstacle than a legal one. Getting the new US Development Finance Corp, Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on board should be possible and accounts for a lot of money.
  4. Stop with the NGO publication, unless they’re big and sophisticated and able to geocode data. I fully support getting big NGOs like Oxfam and Save to publish to IATI but I don’t think it helps to have hundreds of small ones doing it, and it clutters up the registry with little bits of information that are difficult to link back to projects or locations. I’d give anyone with a country budget of ~<$10m a unique ID, make the donor publish the grant document, a link to the NGO’s website and contact info, and leave it at that. 
  5. Worry about the workplan, not the vision, mission or governance. My main takeaway after two years on the board was that we spent too much time trying to revise the governance and hosting of the initiative, and not enough staying on top of the workplan, which meant (amongst other things) that the website and Datastore revamp got heavily delayed by a branding exercise and a governance review, neither of which ultimately achieved very much.

Hope some of this is helpful; I’ll continue using IATI data in my professional capacity and wish everyone involved all the best.

Alfredo Arturo Corredor Becerra • Sustainability asesor at Paramo savers from Colombia

Luego de leer los documentos que sirven de marco para la acción de IATI se observa que se ha trabajado de manera ardua en la claridad, fidelidad y oportunidad de las bases de datos de los recursos gestionados, lo cual es ya un patrimonio con vista al siglo XXI.

La recomendación respecto de la misión de IATI es apoyar el empoderamiento de la ciudadanía en el concepto de "transparencia y la ética en el manejo de los recursos públicos o privados como medio para alcanzar la consolidación de la Sostenibilidad como modo de vida global.

Justificación: La transparencia en el manejo de los recursos atraviesa de manera transversal los 17 principales ODS,  aunque esta más fuertemente relacionados con los objetivos 16 y 17, al revisar los datos de la consulta MyWorld se evidencia que al sumar la opiniones de los dos objetivos representarían una participación importante  dentro de los temas que preocupan a la población global  respecto de los resultados agregados . 

La visión de AITI debería estar alineada con el fortalecimiento de una comunidad universal que reconoce la Sostenibilidad como nuevo paradigma civilizatorio  de la humanidad, en donde AITI promueve la visión ética del manejo de los recursos en un escenario de comunidad colaborativa y cooperativa en donde se busca alcanzar el bienestar de la mayor cantidad de ciudadanos del mundo comenzando por los más vulnerables promoviendo alcanzar los ODS a 2030.

Justificación: La situación global caracterizada por una crisis multidimensional,en donde en el centro de la situación está el cambio climático, con la superación de los limites planetarios que están afectando en primera instancia a los más pobres  pero que al final podrían significar un camino de la destrucción de la humanidad, por ello cada recurso que se invierta debe cumplir su objetivo de generar ciclos virtuosos y un medio es apoyar el cumplimiento de los ODS con la gestión transparente de los recursos que financian los proyectos estratégicos.

      

Craig Fagan • Public Policy Expert (Independent) at Independent from Germany Moderator

Gracias Alfredo Arturo Corredor Becerra por tus comentarios e la idea de enfocar en la construcción de ciudadanía a través de mejor aceso y transparencia de información relevante para la toma de decisiones sobre bienes y recursos públicos.

Elie Gasagara • Partnership Leader, Global Accountability at World Vision International from Kenya

I want to add my comment on the question below:

3. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

Looking at the five strategic objectives (1.) Promoting Data Use; 2.) Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth; 3.) Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard; 4.) Communication and Outreach; and 5.) Institutional Arrangements]), I support the point of Aria and I would add that we truly need to put higher priority on quality of data, breath and depth, which will lead to the use of data. While this is important, a good assessment of needs of people using these data may be helpful. We need to understand better why the use of data may not taken off (increased) the way we would expect it. What are the challenges user do face? While the format may be a problem (see comment from Yohanna on the need of publishers and users), the d-portal is a good tool available for users.

A word on strategic objective 5 (Institutional Arrangement) - This topic has been discussed widely and it has been difficult to arrive at a final decision. The last extension of three years gives time to continue the reflection but I don't see this to remain a strategic objective for IATI. It could be dealt through management/Board to make recommendations based on last discussions but it should be removed from the strategic objectives. We could replace it with an objective on 'Building institutional capacity' to ensure that IATI is well structured and staffed for the purpose.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Merci à tous pour vos commentaires, nous savions qu'ils allaient arriver dans les derniers jours.

Merci d'avoir pris le temps. yohanna.loucheur@international.gc.ca j'espérais ta vision en français ;-).

Nous allons retranscrire toutes vos brillants commentaires et nous espérons que le futur de IATI sera fidèle à vos attentes.

Merci encore

Herman van Loon • IATI Technical lead at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands from Netherlands

Agree Anna, your wording is sounds more friendly.

Agnes Surry • Planning and Policy Specialist at Asian Development Bank from Philippines
  1. The Asian Development Bank recognizes that the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has significantly shaped the policy on transparency and accountability, and on data and measurement adopted by many organizations since its formation.
  2. IATI has been in step in fulfilling its vision toward a “transparent, good quality information on development resources, and results ”.  The next logical step for IATI is to work on the usage of development aid data. More than providing a standard or a repository of data, IATI could facilitate providing answers to questions on development resources.
Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Agnes Surry salut! :) Merci ton feedback :) t'aurais même pu le faire en FR ;-). 

Wendy Rogers • Grand Bargain Senior IATI Business Analyst at Development Initiatives from United Kingdom

As an extremely fervent evangelist for IATI I know that IATI has achieved much in its first ten years. However, with regard to the positioning of IATI for 2030 I think there are many things that need first to be given consideration. The following is therefore based on my own personal experiences of working with IATI over the last few years .

First of all as someone who has most recently been working with IATI and the humanitarian community I would very much echo the recommendation that has also been made by a number of other contributors that IATI should better reflect that it is inclusive of both development and humanitarian assistance (‘all international assistance’ or other suitable term?).  The language both within the current Vision statement and even within this strategic review relate much more specifically to development resources.  It has been a challenge, to say the least, to convince some members of the humanitarian sector that IATI is not just about development resources and is therefore also applicable and of value to them for sharing information relating to humanitarian interventions .  It has similarly been a challenge to convince many potential stakeholders that IATI is also not just a tool for donors to provide a mechanism of accountability on the recipients of their funding.

As a result, I believe that IATI need to be clear what it is actually offering to its various stakeholder groups? We have moved well beyond its original intention of providing timely, forward-looking and comprehensive information to partner country governments and we all recognise that it has potentially many applications many of which we have only just begun to uncover. However, it has also been difficult to demonstrate this value in truly tangible ways due to the myriad of ways that the IATI Standard is adopted by each individual organisation that publishes (eg it can be impossible ‘to compare apples and oranges’). Yet one of IATI’s greatest strengths is its flexibility in enabling any organisation to publish in a way that reflects the way that it works. How do we strike the balance to maintain this flexibility yet making the published data more consistent, comparable and ultimately useable in multiple applications?

I therefore believe that IATI needs to better assess where it ‘adds value’ within the operational environment(s) that it serves. IATI does not sit within a vacuum and it can therefore decide which (data) services it can or could best provide and how published IATI data might be used to collaborate or integrate with other ‘systems’, ‘data providers’, international standard eg Open contracting, technical innovations (eg blockchain & AI) etc. to do so.  This does not mean that its application(s) should be in any way restricted but simply that we should exploit its potential where we can see it could really add value (and this line of thinking around specific integration and collaboration is one that we are already exploiting and further exploring within the humanitarian sector) . 

In addition, consideration should also be given to the specifics of it’s scope. Is IATI primarily about ODA or should publishers report any activity that would sit under the umbrella of either or both of development or humanitarian assistance (I have always assumed the latter?). IATI also does not specifically include elements that relate to other aspects of the operational environment eg beneficiary groups and their feedback in relation to interventions, the specific needs that the activity is seeking to address etc. Whilst I am not suggesting that IATI should extend its scope to allow the structured reporting of these or any other external information (and I am of course aware that much of this information can be included although not consistently which is the point via narrative reports or results etc.) those assessments should continue to be made so that an informed decision as to the value of that information in IATI (or not) is arrived at in a considered and open way.

Ultimately this means adopting a much more outward looking and pragmatic view and even maybe a more limited scope. This should therefore be reflected in the core documentation ie Vision, mission etc. which for me currently reflect what the IATI community will do (inward looking) rather that what the IATI Initiative can offer (outward view). Rather than trying to be all things to all stakeholders (IATI is unfortunately sometimes seen perhaps a little unfairly as ‘a solution looking for a problem’)  IATI should continue to demonstrate its potential and value by focussing, for the next few years at least, on a few central applications or services and doing those well.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

Thanks a lot Wendy! Much appreciated. Indeed IATI needs to assess where it adds value and what is really its Potential. And definitely it is more about what the community can do together.

Sohir Debbiche • Principal Results and Transparency Officer (African Development Bank) at African Development Bank from Côte d’Ivoire Moderator

My last comment here, because I was trying to reflect about this consultation. IATI is a standard, it allows publishers to publish timely and detailed data, in a machine-readable format for computers :); it indeed includes several publishers and development actors; ncluding activity details that cannot be found comprehensively and standardized in other information. 

However, if some data is missing as per the Forward looking data (because it is part of the IATI standard), should we blame IATI or the publishers? If IATI is not well used because of sometimes poor quality, lack of available data, should we blame IATI or the publishers?

Maybe the focus should be to work along with the publishers to make them publish and publish it right to make it useful for the users!

Rolf Kleef • CTO & IATI specialist at Data4Development B.V. from Netherlands

As a last-day reflection, I'd like to contribute from my experience working with IATI publishers to get their publishing process up and running.

  • I see IATI as a crucial combination of two streams: a "political commitment" to make aid more effective by becoming better in exchanging information amongst actors; and a "technical commitment" to use an common data standard as the basis for that.

I think we managed to "ride the wave" of open data and transparency to get through the first decade of IATI (recognising also that earlier efforts like CEFDA, AIDA, IDML extend the development timeframe up to around 25 years I think).

I don't think "open" and "transparent" will be such powerful political drivers or motivators in the next decade. And I also think those terms are a means to an end: it still is about effectiveness and impact. IATI, to me, is about the links between actors to inform each other of their work.

  • IATI as a conceptual model and as a feature of a product is only starting to emerge now. Many organisations we work with are going through organisational changes in the way they operate, and work with their partners. IATI is a catalyst for, or a component of that change.

We see suppliers of project management, ERP and CRM systems starting to incorporate IATI in their systems, and witnessed the interest by Microsoft to use IATI in the Common Data Model.

At the same time, working more often in partnerships requires a more efficient exchange of information and data. The political commitment to use and develop IATI for at least another decade is necessary for suppliers and for organisations switching to their next ERP or CRM system to invest in IATI as part of the product.

  • Adding "coordination and collaboration" as key aspects of IATI may make the Standard attractive to other actors as well to use, and also differentiate it from other data standards required for information about the context in which organisations work or the impact they have.

It is useful to have access to all IATI data in a single place, but I think it is also important to ask every IATI publisher: how are you collaborating with your partners to make IATI work and support your partnership processes?

DFID

Apologies for the delay in posting DFID comments. I have pulled together responses to all questions into this thread, so the views on the other conversations are interwoven here.

First, DFID would like thank the IATI secretariat for creating these thought provoking papers and questions for us to ponder as part of the IATI community.  We note the progress that has been made since 2016 against the previous Strategic Direction document, and we are pleased to be able to contribute to this discussion.   

Summary:  In line with other comments expressed here DFID is keen to ensure that the significant amounts of data IATI already publishes is accessed and used, before expanding to other areas.   We recommend then that the focal areas of data quality and use are sufficiently resourced and prioritised in the team.      

1. Vision: DFID’s current view is that the vision is a sufficiently strong statement of the purpose that we are trying to achieve through transparency of our work.  The mission could perhaps include more explicitly a reference to the “use” of IATI data in the final part, but we would not want discussions on this to detract from the core work of IATI.  The five key objectives are also still appropriate, but we are keen to see more of a focus within these on quality and use of the data, and as noted in your internal reflections, the resourcing of activities under each of the headings need to evolve with the changing context. 

2. Use of data: DFID would be keen to see more of a focus on the use of the data from the non-technical user perspective, be it journalists, researchers or policymakers or programme, finance or communication teams in organisations in developing or developed countries.  For example, as the internal reflection paper noted, some developing countries are using d-portal rather than importing data directly into country systems, demonstrating that non technical individuals want to use the data but it needs to be presented simply.  This implies that a resourced tool such as D-portal should be a core part of the IATI offer.   In addition, it is clear that a number of those potential users are not aware of what IATI offers in terms of its rich repository of information in one place, and for free.  We would agree with the internal paper that an increase in communications to potential users is critical for people to know that it is available and searchable.  You may also wish to consider asking the members themselves to reach out more, eg. highlight IATI at events and so on.

3. Data quality: In order for users to use the data, and with new and emerging donor publishers coming on board,  an internal focus on the quality of data produced is needed.   While we have almost 1000 publishers, as was raised earlier in the comments, the quality varies significantly, so a key part of the “outreach strategy” could be focused within rather than beyond the community to help existing publishers improve their data.  In addition, different stakeholders have different needs in terms of the use of that data and therefore their concerns about data quality, so discussing with those stakeholder groups what is useful in the standard, what they use it for and so on, would also be helpful.  In addition, publishers could start learning more from each other as a community and looking at each other's datasets and providing feedback on how to improve these for example.   

4.New publishers: We are seeing interest from some emerging donors wishing to better show their contributions to humanitarian needs and considering IATI as a tool for this and increasingly IATI is being seen as a way to communicate and co-ordinate activities.  In the context of reaching new partners and where donors are insisting their funding recipients publish to IATI, we have heard feedback from new IATI publishers, that IATI could usefully have a basic document on the website that covers how and why to publish – perhaps a policy one as well as a technical paper, or other easy introduction material, one-pagers, training, videos to make IATI easy to understand.  This should help reduce the burden on members of the team for bespoke advice.     This links back to the outreach and communications element of the plan. 

5. New members:  The added value of becoming a paying member is still not enticing enough for new organisations to join.  Annual data audits of your data for members might be something to see as a benefit of becoming a member.    

6. On improvements to the standard, it is right that it needs to be kept fit for purpose, but we should focus on improving the quality, spread and use of the data first, so as not to leave some publishers behind.  On the other hand if an update makes the data more usable in terms of what users actually want it for, then it should be considered, in liaison with the users, including potentially simplifying the standard (documents, geography, (inter)dependence of orgs in Participating Orgs and Transaction Receiving/Providing Orgs, or providing an easier way to capture multimedia, potential markers on disability, modern slavery, international climate finance). 

7. An area that could be explored in future is reaching out to (technical) vendors to build in IATI data capture and output into their project management / financial systems, outreach with vendors to promote and support IATI compatibility across IT systems, engaging in conversation with other data sources and investigating potential synergies between them, and if it is useful for the user to look at capturing / linking to project data (needs assessments, surveys etc).     But we should focus on the key IATI infrastructure (datastore) and suppliers building those solutions first.

8. Under institutional arrangements, while the last members assembly agreed the next three years institutional arrangements, if the next strategy document is to cover a full 3 to 5 years, it also needs to include a consideration of what happens after those three years, or at least an indication on when the next set of decisions on IATI’s future will need to take place by. 

9. On increasing the scope of IATI beyond aid to include other financial flows, we would be willing to consider a paper that might include what this could look like, whether there is interest for such information, whether relevant organisations would consider publishing and the impact upon the standard and secretariat time, but would not want this to detract from the core mission of IATI.

10. Finally we think it is important that a learning and evaluation strategy that includes user research is developed alongside this strategic document.  

Matt Geddes

Hi, I also didn't realise that there were multiple threads on this platform so apologising for lateness and also that I covered issues relevant here on the other thread. Chiming in on two of the issues here:

  • Should IATI’s focus be further broadened to incorporate additional actors outside the traditional aid landscape, for example a greater focus on increasing the transparency of emerging donors and blended finance, etc.? Or beyond finance to other forms of development support?

Assuming that by emerging donors we are talking about China and India etc (which are hardly emerging), I am not sure how IATI as a technical fix is proposing to solve decidedly non technical problem. RE blended finance (is it not in there already – the grant parts surely?), and for those bits are not, the same story as convincing China, the problem is not technical, it is political – see the many attempts by the OECD Working Group on export credits transparency – I am unsure how IATI’s offer of a new reporting format will change this picture. To take a slightly more positive aspect, if IATI really is the best format for publishing, then these organisations will come to IATI when they want to publish.

  • What is IATI’s current niche offering that cannot be found elsewhere?

Here is the rude version – after 10 years of really hard and impressive work, IATI is:

  • Not official data – the data does not have official status as it does with the OECD

  • Not useable by average users – for most tasks e.g. getting a list of projects in a sector in a country and the amount they are worth – not possible outside of this community within half a day of work, especially if you consider exchange rates etc.

  • Not available in languages other than the language of the publisher – so non English speakers need not apply

  • Not accountable as not recognisable locally as projects – typically using different names in IATI compared to the project locally, with organisations not heard of, and published as big multi-aspect programmes or many tiny transactions.

  • Not more timely than asking the country office/implementer who visits your community

  • Not comprehensive – you would always need other data sources to build a reasonably full picture

  • Not historical – as publishers update their files, data can disappear – or if IATI drops 1.0 from the datastore

  • Not useful in aggregate – as there is no way to remove double counting

I do not want to diminish the huge efforts of all those involved, but maybe the task set was basically impossible.

So what is IATI’s niche so far:

  1. It has more data than the OECD e.g. multiple dates, implementers, documents

  2. It is easier to read by machine

  3. It is cheaper to publish that many other formats

  4. It is a common medium of exchange

On the plus side – several of these are easily solvable:

  1. IATI data should come with a statement of being official e.g. in the org file

  2. IATI data could be doing auto translation

  3. IATI data could be provided with tools to covert currencies

  4. IATI data could be archiving old versions of publishers files and saving old datastore

But what this really tells me is that:

  1. IATI either needs to commit to becoming more of a service

  2. Or IATI needs to stick with being a format, and primarily work with the OECD DAC CRS, FTS/UNOCHA, SDGs/Climate global gatherings etc and make sure that it is the dominant exchange format, and forget about the idea that IATI is accessed by users directly from IATI – IATI should disappear and be the hidden supplier of data – and leave the hard work of getting it ready for end users to the sites that use it as the format.

When I look at the niche I identified (and IATI’s difficulties in offering a service – not IATI’s fault, it is impossible to be all things to all people etc) – then everything points to option 2 - IATI is a format not an answer.

Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Posting this on behalf of Kabura Junie, Assistante en Base de Données Suivi-Evaluation des Programmes, Secrétariat Permanent du Comité National de Coordination des Aides "SP/CNCA", Burundi:

L’IITA est un outil très important du fait qu’il pourra aider pour renseigner les indicateurs des ODDs autres stratégies de développement des pays partenaires.

Natalia Magradze • Operations Officer - Transparency and AI at The World Bank from United States

1. What are the implications for IATI of an ever-evolving development financing and partnership landscape that increasingly moves beyond ODA? Where should IATI position itself within this landscape (at the national, regional, and global levels) and within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda?

IATI should capitalize on its comparative advantage. Recognizing that the focus of the first few years of IATI’s existence was on increasing the number of publishers and broadening their base, it is important to continue capitalizing on IATI’s comparative advantage of providing a global standard for publishing useful development cooperation data. Therefore, it is important that the standard remains focused on development cooperation while accommodating different publishing organizations and stakeholder groups.

2. Do IATI’s current vision and mission remain valid? If not, how could they be reshaped to better support achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global political agendas?

Overall the vision and mission remain valid.

3. Are the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction still the right priorities for IATI, or have these changed?

The primary focus should be on facilitating and increasing the use of IATI data by partner countries. A Clear focus on the need of partner countries will help answer other questions raised as part of this consultation.

Bibhusan Bista

Hello Everyone, 

Apologies for chipping in late in the discussion. However, it's nice to see everyone's perspectives so far. I want to bring in my thoughts, based on our (YoungInnovation's) engagement in the IATI ecosystem for quite some now. Also, being an advocate of data standard personally and coming from a partner country (not from the government though), I hope my points below  in line with IATI strategic directions make some sense

  • Promoting data use: The narrative used for data-use needs to go beyond just using the data as it is. As Yohanna mentioned, the IATI data needs to be linked with other datasets to give it life and make a difference. Perhaps, working with other datasets and communities (eg. Open Contracting, census, etc. ) to cross-pollinate the real value of data might make more sense. In this sense, some proactive measures to derive use cases might make more sense. 
  • Improving the data quality: When we talk about data quality, quality to me is always relative and contextual and depends on the value that the user is trying to get out of the data. For eg. in the context of Nepal, having forward-looking data is crucial but what might be more crucial is that the forward-looking data using proper sector codes, in line with national priorities is even more important. 
  • Mainstreaming IATI Standard: So far, IATI is the only standard that seems to exist in this space. It has so far been linked only with the aid flows. However, there is a great potential to make use of the standard for other forms of financial flow as well. For eg. in the context of Nepal, the government systems used to track flows from Federal to Provincial and Local units does not seem to adopt the data model and standard. This is where we could at least explore the adaptation. This way, IATI standard can make its way into not just being a transparency and publishing standard but in fact, a data model/standard that can be used by functional systems beyond transparency as well. If we look into how the OCDS standards are now being adopted to develop country-level e-procurement systems (eg. in Ukraine), there is no harm for us to have a similar approach as well. 
  • Communication and Outreach - In my opinion, we need to first properly identify target segments. This segment could very well go beyond our existing stakeholders, at least at the country level, we need to go beyond groups within the Ministry of Finances that are responsible for aid data. For eg. in the context of Nepal, we need to do proper outreach to the Ministry of Federal Affairs or Ministry of Education and make them interested to use IATI data in their respective thematic areas. Also, reaching out to Donor Coordination Committees at the country level is also vital. 
  • Institutional Arragnement - I think when we think about the institutional arrangement, at least at the country level, we need to move beyond the closed doors of Aid Management guys. We perhaps need to tap into the political interest of key figures like Ministers, Prime Ministers, etc. and garnish support for a bit higher level arrangements. In countries with OGP action plan, we need to work on how do we mainstream IATI within the action plans. 

Apart from these, some additional remarks that i would want to make are as follows.

  • What Annelise mentioned about country scoping visits are great. I always thing that to have proper buy-in from right stakeholders at the country level. there has to be something like IATI country action plan, that is owned by the countries themselves. This action plan would identify priorities for the country and how they see IATI adding value to it. In the process, the action plan would not just talk about data use but also come up with approaches to get the missing data (if any) based on their priorities. If we can identify at least one country interested in this approach, that would be a use case for many others to follow. 
  • IATI community presence at the local level is still in primitive stages. For eg. we need proactive measures to engage open data communities and similar ones at the local level. For eg. it would have been nice to see the upcoming Open Data Day (tomorrow in fact) in few areas having IATI as focus as well
  • We also need to explore how we can engage with sub-national governments. Maybe there is a different incentive for the sub-nationals that we have not touched upon so far. 
Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Posting on behalf of Mishiko Seino, Programme Officer, Performance Management & Accountability, Field Results Group, UNICEF:

UNICEF comments:

  • IATI could also look at the broader pool of actors and modalities of how development and humanitarian results are achieved at the country level. Suggest that IATI adds to the schema flexibility for UN and multilateral actors to define the activities and results according to different business models.
  • For SDG reporting, IATI has great potential to facilitate common reporting platforms at the national, regional and global levels.
  • We should review and focus on strengthening data quality, understand the bottlenecks and maximize the use of IATI data.
  • Currently IATI provides a common standard for mapping data, however, there should be links and synergies between the different actors and systems to allow traceability.
Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Please find below consolidated input from the European Commission, received from Andrea Saviola:

1. Comments on implications for IATI of an ever-evolving development financing and partnership landscape that increasingly moves beyond ODA: 

As it was the case at the origins of the initiative, the key issue in this regard is complementarity with OECD reporting (taking into account not only ODA but also the current negotiations on TOSSD); how this is ensured and communicated to the users. 

2. Comments on the current vision and mission:

The vision and mission are both still clear and relevant. In line with what suggested by USAID, the standard should be able to support and take into account the specificities of each donor (of course without losing sight of the comparability need).

3. Comments on the five key strategic objectives from the 2016-2018 Strategic Direction:​​​​​​​

The five key strategic objectives are also still relevant and valid. Focus should remain on data quality if we want to improve the reliability of the information provided and increase data use. In addition to this, the Standard should provide for an automated way to support traceability of funds from a donor to the implementing partner