Today marks the publication of the second International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) annual report, which looks at progress made from January to December 2013. The IATI Annual Report demonstrates that IATI is truly a multi-stakeholder movement and is gaining momentum.
The provision of better quality data can enable developing country governments receiving development cooperation to make more informed decisions on budgeting and resource allocation, thus increasing the impact of their own resources as well as those from donors.
In her foreword to the report, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark says “The work of IATI is also highly relevant in the context of the deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda, where the issues of accountability and governance are central components. Among the 1.8 million people who have shared their priorities and perspectives in the UN-led consultations on the agenda, one of the most consistent and strong messages is the desire for better governance. IATI is well placed to make an important contribution to these discussions.”
According to a press release released by UNDP, several key highlights included in the Annual Report are as follows:
In 2013, IATI supported more than 109 new publishers to publish to IATI, almost doubling the total number of publishers by the end of the year. Many of the new publishers represent international, regional and national NGOs, philanthropic foundations and academic, training and research organisations, as well as the first private sector companies.
IATI also welcomed five new members: The Adaptation Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Bond, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). These five newcomers brought the total number of IATI members at the end of 2013 to 59.
Partner countries continued to make progress towards strengthening aid management capacity and improving the efficiency of development cooperation.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) launched a new web tool, Development Tracker that has detailed information about UK development projects, including project documents and financial transactions. The Development Tracker uses IATI data, making it easier to compare between countries, incorporate data from other IATI publishers, and trace aid through the delivery chain.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) launched a new public aid tracker. The tracker uses only IATI data for all core visualisations.
The IATI Secretariat also took part in negotiations to define the first transparency indicator as part of the Global Partnership Monitoring Framework, and subsequently assisted the joint UNDP-OECD support team to pilot the indicator.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have also made notable progress to publish to IATI. The annual report provides case studies and lessons learned from CSOs, including Oxfam Novib and Plan International USA. Other stakeholders, including the CDC Group and Climate Investment Funds have also contributed with case studies highlighting their commitments to strengthen transparency.
Lastly, the report highlights initial steps being made towards improving transparency in the publication of humanitarian aid. A working group has been established to work on integrating humanitarian needs into the IATI Standard in order to provide up-to-date information for humanitarian decision-making and planning for emergency response.
UNDP has been a member of the IATI Secretariat since its inception in 2008. In September 2013, UNDP assumed the leadership of the IATI Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the Governments of Ghana and Sweden, and Development Initiatives. In this capacity, UNDP has the overall responsibility for coordination, communications, outreach to partner countries and non-traditional donors, and liaison with the Steering Committee.
While IATI has reached critical mass in terms of membership and growth in publishers and has made progress, the message is clear, it is now important to improve the quality of data and ensure that it can be used to add value at country level.
In concluding her foreword, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark says “I encourage providers of development assistance to redouble their efforts to publish timely, comprehensive, and forward-looking information. UNDP, as a founding member of the IATI Secretariat, is fully committed both to improving its own transparency and promoting transparency by all development actors.”