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Friday, February 18, 2011

International Aid Transparency Initiatives Update Standards to Maximize the Effective Management of Aid Resources

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) reports that a meeting held last week has led to an agreement on additional items to be added to the IATI standard. "This is great news, and has the potential to make a huge difference for all users of aid information, especially those in partner countries." The first part of the standard was agreed upon last July, and encourages the publication of "more detailed and timely aid information". The most recent meeting saw the following items added;

  • Publication of key documents, in addition to aid data;
  • Publication  of conditions and, where available, results of aid expenditure;
  • Publication of activity-level (i.e. individual projects and programmes) budgets and planned disbursements;
  • Proposals to improve the alignment of aid to partner country budget classifications.

"All of these are priority needs for partner countries, and publication of this information will help them maximise effective management of aid resources." 

Full details of the entire standard will be available for viewing on the IATI website next week.

"We believe that the IATI standard represents real added-value – and not simply in terms of what information is published, but also how it is published. By encouraging donors to publish their raw data in a common international standard, under open licenses, and linked to a central Registry, IATI paves the way for information intermediaries to use, re-purpose and combine this information with other data sources in an infinite number of ways."

This seems to be a step in the right direction seeing as the public would be able to access detailed information and become more educated and aware of how and where donated dollars are being put to use. So now, it seems as though the only issue is implementation. The following information is an indication that worldwide implementation may be possible;

  • A number of new organisations have expressed interest in joining IATI, and Sierra Leone became the 19th partner country to endorse the Initiative.
  • The Gates Foundation has indicated that it is taking steps to publish more detailed and timely data consistent with IATI standards. The U.S.-based Foundation Center has recently become involved in the TAG and is working on aligning its own reporting standard to the IATI standard, with funding from the Hewlett Foundation.
  • Over 30 NGOs have expressed their interest in joining a new TAG working group which will focus on how IATI applies to them as development actors. The INGO Charter of Accountability asked for an IATI representative to attend their Annual General Meeting in April, to discuss what IATI might mean for NGOs.

    So what we can take from this is that IATI is definitely gaining interest and momentum. What do you think? Is it plausible to believe that Aid Organizations will voluntarily agree to abide by these revised standards? Or do you think it will take a legal responsibility for them to provide us with full disclosure?

    GlassFrog Blogger Jessica

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