IATI v2.02: upgraded for humanitarian reporting!

December 2015 saw the release of International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) version 2.02, a decimal upgrade to the IATI Standard that provides IATI publishers with the ability to attribute funding flows to humanitarian sectors, clusters and response plans – a cornerstone of humanitarian financial reporting – for the first time. It marks an opportunity for donor, recipient and implementing agencies to publish their humanitarian-specific funding data once so that it can be accessed, read and used for a variety of different purposes from publishers’ own websites, the IATI Registry as well as by data amplifiers, visualizers and aggregators – including the Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

The IATI Standard was initially conceived as a format and framework for publishing data on development cooperation activities.  Launched in 2008 at the third High Level Forum (HLF-3) on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, IATI was designed to support donors in meeting their political commitments on transparency, as set out in the Accra Agenda for Action, and to enable data users to access the information they need in a comparable, open format. At HLF-4 in Busan, 2011, development actors committed to “implement a common open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information on resources provided through development cooperation”. In early 2012 the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and IATI secretariats formulated the framework for this common standard, which combined three complementary systems and processes, including the DAC’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and Forward Spending Survey (FSS). [Source: http://www.aidtransparency.net/] The latest IATI v2.02 upgrade allows for additional complementarity with the humanitarian and response plan-focused FTS

FTS currently obtains its information by working with designated representatives from funds and donor, recipient and implementing organizations. Information is provided in a variety of formats – sometimes via an automated data exchange (such as is the case with the European Emergency Disaster Response Information System (EDRIS), which is the system ECHO and the 28 EU member states use for reporting their humanitarian aid contributions), spreadsheets, email and factsheets before being processed by the FTS team. (See FTS Beta FAQs for further details.) FTS will be enabled to read IATI 2.02 feeds in the first half of 2016. Donors and agencies could consider reporting to the standard as an alternative to their current reporting methods in order to reduce their reporting burden.   

In conjunction with the Humanitarian Financing Task Team (HFTT), FTS is planning to draft guidelines on use of IATI v2.02 in early 2016 for those organizations wishing to adapt and use the new humanitarian-specific data fields to facilitate reporting to FTS. The IATI Standard is extremely flexible. This has benefits but, without guidelines, it also means that everyone is free to use the fields in different ways – which can sometimes make the resulting data incomparable.

From an FTS perspective, publishing to accepted, machine-readable standards such as IATI v2.02, could help facilitate not only the flow and timeliness of information but also the matching of records that help track the flow of humanitarian aid – currently a manual, time-consuming task. Existing IATI feeds are difficult to compare because the fields have been used in different ways.

 

FTS validates and curates information. In this example, an FTS team member checks information provided in the common humanitarian fund (CHF) report from Somalia, November 2015.

Cross-checking and reconciling information on one of the 18 country-based pooled funds (CBPF). This particular report captures allocations made by the Somalia CBPF. FTS checks and reconciles each line against existing records, checking to make sure information tallies with anything that may have been reported by another party already and adding new information as and where necessary. Source: Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

IATI provides support to publishers wishing to implement the Standard and/or upgrade to IATI v2.02.

Over 360 organizations are now using the IATI Standard and publishing details of their development cooperation to the IATI Registry – an online, publicly available catalogue and index of links to all of the raw data. [Source: http://www.aidtransparency.net/] With a couple of key donors such as the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) requiring their grantees to report to the IATI Standard, the number of adopters could continue to rise.

For further information or assistance on adopting IATI v2.02, please contact either the FTS team (fts@un.org) or the IATI technical team (support@iatistandard.org).

Useful references