IATI comes of age

IATI was established in Accra in 2008 in response to the demands developing countries were making on the aid effectiveness agenda: backward looking statistics were necessary but insufficient; operational data was needed for planning. This was driven home in Busan in 2011. IATI’s legitimacy was reinforced by paragraph 23c of the outcome document which called on all endorsers to “implement a common, open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information on resources provided through development cooperation”. The Busan commitment is for all endorsers to meet this goal by December 2015. The IATI Secretariat’s Technical Team is up for this challenge and will be working with all publishers to hit this target. 

To put the Busan commitment another way, it is about the data published to IATI being used in country systems and other information channels. 

The biggest criticism that IATI has faced in the last year is that there is no point in promoting a standard if the data it produces is not going to be used. This has been IATI’s biggest challenge: to get both the quantity and quality of data being published to a level that it begins to make a difference.

We have now reached this tipping point. In a review of data available to IATI members it is now the case that at least seven of the top ten development partners in most countries are now publishing usable IATI-formatted data. 

There is now a persuasive argument for country systems to make direct use of IATI data. This guide explores how this can happen.

Is this guide for you?

This guide is written for the policy leads, administrators and managers of information systems considering the use of IATI data. It assumes that you have a very general understanding or experience of management information systems.

Developers and other technicians should also find it useful as it deals in the main with design, configuration and management considerations. IATI is beginning to mature into a well-documented standard which provides developers with a range of technical advice.

Hopefully it will also be of use civil servants in line ministries, to elected officials and to civil society organisations that have responsibilities in planning and monitoring the allocation of development resources.