2015, the year of reckoning

  • Jan. 7, 2015

2015Happy New Year!

Despite the fireworks and funny hats that have greeted its arrival, 2015 is a year of serious ambition.

It is, of course, the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, when the world measures its achievements against agreed milestones in education, health and other indicators.

But 2015 holds special significance for open data advocates as well. It is the deadline year for the Busan commitments, agreed at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011, which means that the development cooperation community has a mere 12 months to make good on its pledge to ‘implement a common standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward-looking information’ in a way that ‘meet[s] the needs of developing countries and non-state actors, consistent with national requirements’.

As publishers to IATI – now 300 strong and growing – can attest, IATI is making it ever simpler to do this with the use of new tools for different types of users to interact with the data in the IATI Registry. The recently launched IATI Dashboard shows how timely and forward-looking publishers’ datasets are, while improvements in 2015 will allow users to delve deeper into considerations of coverage and comprehensiveness. d-portal looks at IATI data from the viewpoint of the recipient country, allowing users to drill down to individual project detail and see what data exists, who has published and who hasn’t yet, and where there are data quality issues. All these efforts take us further towards providing the best information to the government ministries, programme managers and ordinary citizens who rely on quality data for optimal planning.

The year also brings the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July. We’ve already shown that the IATI Standard is flexible enough to capture data on many different types of international development finance flows and, with further adaptation, can provide a means of publishing data on all international development finance flows.

With all this at hand, we at the IATI Secretariat see 2015 as a year of reckoning – a time to walk the talk in making development activity as open, transparent and trackable as current technology and resources will allow. We’re excited by the possibilities of the year ahead: by the prospect of swelling ranks of development actors keen to honour their commitments to data transparency by year’s end; by the chance to hear from partner countries whether these efforts are yielding good results – and where we can do better; and by the opportunity to help spur a quantum leap forward in development effectiveness around the world.

Join us. Publish to IATI, early and often. Make sure the data quality is up to par. And if you want to see what can be done with IATI data – or come up with some ideas of your own – get inspired here.