Moving to implementation

This week, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation asked all endorsers of the Busan Declaration to commit to publishing specific pieces of information to the agreed common standard for aid information by December 2012. The implementation schedules ask for each piece of information, whether organisations will be publishing them, and by which date. Endorsers further committed to full implementation by the end of 2015.

Initial Implementation: a selection of organisations

Initial Implementation: a selection of organisations in the planned implementation schedule tool

The good thing about the implementation schedules is that they are structured and machine-readable, making analysis much easier than would otherwise be the case.

This makes it easier both to provide more information about how much information should be published, and when – important for developers and organisations considering investing in this standard – as well as to develop a detailed picture of the varying degrees of ambition of different organisations.

Which elements are most organisations going to publish? Example output from the planned tool.

Which elements are most organisations going to publish? Example output from the planned tool.

We are developing a tool which will analyse implementation schedules, providing an easy front end onto these otherwise daunting spreadsheets. It will provide more information on each element, when it will be published by different organisations, as well as a timeline of publication. It will be open-source and openly licensed, meaning anyone will be able to take the code and improve on it. (It will also be heavily re-using existing open source code, including Ben Webb’s implementation schedule conversion code and the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s ReclineJS.)

The implementation schedule browser will provide re-usable open data of these implementation schedules, making it easy for other tools to look at the data, without having to worry about running all the complicated data crunching that lies behind the browser. One such tool – to be developed in the medium term – will be a data quality tool, which will be able to reference the implementation schedules and discover whether donor commitments have been followed through.

When will different organisations publish specific pieces of data to IATI? Example output from planned tool.

When will different organisations publish specific pieces of data to IATI? Example output from planned tool.

The last 18 months has seen an enormous amount of political progress on the International Aid Transparency Initiative – from the agreement of the Standard in February 2011, to the first publications, to the signatory of the United States at HLF-4 and the agreement to incorporate IATI into the common standard.

The common standard implementation schedules closely follow the IATI implementation schedules. Over the next few months, we will be encouraging all organisations to make sure they meet the December 2012 deadline and supply an implementation schedule.

It’s now time to up the level of ambition, and begin to deliver real progress on those commitments.

 

Mark Brough

Mark is the Aid Information Advisor at Publish What You Fund. You can reach him at mark.brough@publishwhatyoufund.org.
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