Guest post by John Adams, UK Department for International Development (DFID)
The IATI TAG (that’s the International Aid Transparency Initiative Technical Advisory Group) met at the end of January in Montreal, kindly hosted by Canada’s Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). Around 120 members of the IATI community gathered for two days of workshops and discussions.
IATI has come a long way since we in DFID published the first IATI data only three years ago. Since then, a further 220 publishers have released IATI data, and IATI data has been imported into partner country aid management systems. A range of tools have been developed to visualise IATI data for different audiences, including Development Tracker, Open Aid Search, L’aide francaise au Mali and AidData 3.0. We are at a point where such transparency can be a key enabler to improving the lives of poor people.
We are not finished yet, but we are now reaching the point where we are actually getting enough data from a diverse range of publishers to do some real testing of ways to use the data and to generate feedback to improve it.
In order for IATI data to become really useful for planners, activists, researchers and others, we need to vastly improve the quality, coverage and timeliness of the data published. We need to maintain and improve the standard, so that data can be truly compared across organisations, and financial flows traced from donor to final implementer. And we need to promote, encourage and support the use of IATI data, particularly in countries that are supported by development assistance.
The TAG community is full of creative and energetic people, passionately committed to making IATI a success. The community has the right blend of technical, analytical, policy and communications skills to address these challenges, as summarised in this tweet by David Megginson, one of the architects of the IATI standard:
I left the #IATI TAG hopeful, not because there are no problems, but because I saw a community strong enough to solve them.
I look forward to working closely with all of you as we tackle those challenges in the coming year.
John Adams is the Chair of the IATI Technical Advisory Group and leads DFID’s publication and use of IATI data.