Connecting IATI and UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service to streamline humanitarian reporting

  • May 17, 2018

This blog was co-written by the IATI-FTS Pilot Team consisting of UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service, The Centre for Humanitarian Data, the International Aid Transparency Initiative and Development Initiatives.

OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), the Centre for Humanitarian Data, IATI technical team and Development Initiatives are running a pilot project that aims to provide an automated way for organisations to publish information about their humanitarian funding and activities. Over the course of 2018, five organizations will trial using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard to share data with OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

This work is in support of the Grand Bargain, an agreement between over 50 of the largest donors and aid agencies, which includes commitments on greater financial transparency and more harmonised and simplified reporting requirements. IATI has been identified as the international standard for publishing open data on humanitarian aid and FTS as the platform for reporting how humanitarian funding is allocated and used.

The latest version of the IATI Standard, released in February 2018, (version 2.03) enables organisations to publish more granular data on their humanitarian activities, such as earmarked funding, pledges, humanitarian clusters and cash transfers, and whether funding is channelled via local and national responders. Over 750 humanitarian and development organisations currently publish their data using the IATI Standard.

FTS monitors the funding progress against humanitarian response plans and appeals which amounted to $25 billion in 2018 alone. Reporting to FTS is voluntary, and as a result, the service does not always have a complete picture. The majority of organisations provide funding data to FTS through manual, often ad-hoc processes. Since many organisations already publish data on development spending via IATI, use of the standard for humanitarian spending will reduce duplicate reporting and create internal efficiencies and cost savings.

Current participants for the pilot include the International Rescue Committee, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OCHA’s Country-based Pooled Funds, the UK Department for International Development, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The pilot includes the following components:

  • Support to pilot partners to modify their existing financial and activity reporting systems (or creating new ones).
  • Integrating the new reporting streams into FTS, and testing FTS’s recently-developed IATI ingestion module.
  • Developing technical guidelines for reporting humanitarian funding to FTS using IATI.
  • Training and outreach events, including an IATI-FTS technical meeting with partners.

After the pilot period, we will continue to support organisations to use IATI for FTS reporting, in line with IATI’s ‘publish once, use often’ approach. The long-term goal is for the majority of organisations to use IATI to report on both their development and humanitarian spending.

We look forward to sharing lessons, experiences and updates in the coming months, and to connect with other organisations that might be interested in participating. To learn more or join the next phase of the project, please contact Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, IATI Technical Specialist with OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian Data: [email protected].