Farewell blog from Development Initiatives’ Technical Team

  • June 22, 2023

Wendy Thomas

This post has been written by Wendy Thomas, IATI Technical Lead at Development Initiatives.

Welcome to a special and final update from IATI’s Technical Team, which will focus on the changes to Development Initiatives’ Technical Team as a result of IATI’s transition to a new hosting consortium (on 1 July 2023).

Development Initiatives role in IATI

Development Initiatives (DI) has been involved with IATI from the beginning, helping to establish the initiative in 2008, leading on the development of the IATI Standard and becoming the first NGO to publish to IATI.

In 2013 DI became the technical lead in the first hosting consortium for IATI and enjoyed a decade of working to promote development and humanitarian aid transparency alongside current hosting partners UNDP and UNOPS.

At the end of last year, when the bidding process for new IATI hosts was advertised, DI took the decision not to apply to continue in this consortium role, but to remain a member of IATI and focus its efforts on using and promoting IATI data.

2021 Theo tech team DI

Looking back: IATI Technical Team at Development Initiatives in 2021 with the (former) Governing Board Chair Theo van de Sande (right)

New hosting consortium and technology services provider

At the Members Assembly in March, it was agreed that from 2023 - 2028, IATI’s policy and technology needs will be met by UNDP while legal and operational support services will be provided by UNOPS, working under an IATI Director who will report to the Governing Board. Open Data Services (ODS) will provide technology services through a contract with UNDP. This new Secretariat hosting arrangement begins on July 1 2023.

What does this mean for IATI’s Technical Products and the Technical Team?

First and foremost, the DI Technical Team has been working closely with colleagues at Open Data Services since mid-March to ensure transition is seamless and that there is no downtime for any of the technical services. You will be able to access IATI’s technical products and IATI support services, like the helpdesk, as you do currently.

The DI Technical Team will hand over responsibility for their work to the new Secretariat as of 1 July.

What does this mean for IATI publishers, data users, and community members?

There will be no change to IATI support and community mechanisms. Stakeholders will be able to contact IATI as they do currently, via the usual email addresses (e.g. [email protected], [email protected], etc.). As usual, the IATI website and IATI Connect will provide updates on future developments for IATI.

What does this mean for IATI’s technical estate?

UNDP will assume responsibility for IATI’s technical estate, working with a dedicated team at Open Data Services to deliver IATI technology services. ODS is a longstanding champion of IATI, with several staff who have been involved with IATI for ten years or more and are well known to the IATI Board and our Community. UNDP, together with Open Data Services will continue to work with the IATI community to develop and maintain technical products.

IATI TAG 2018 Technical Team

Looking back: IATI Technical Team at the 2018 Technical Advisory Group meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal with former Technical Lead, Bill Anderson (right)

We look forward to being an active member of the IATI community going forward, and we wish the IATI Secretariat, Board and community all the very best in the future.

In closing

The DI Technical Team has been thrilled to be involved in the IATI journey, from its start as a political idea to its position as an established global transparency standard. We are very proud to have professionalised IATI’s technical tools and services, moving from numerous, siloed applications on various servers to an integrated microservices architecture (our Unified Platform), providing consistency, stability and resilience for IATI’s technical estate. In particular, we are pleased to have created an API Gateway to centralise where IATI users and external tools can programmatically access IATI’s data services, as well as our delivery of the IATI Validator, IATI Datastore and the new IATI Publisher tool, making it easier than ever to publish, access and use IATI data. We have also enjoyed providing helpdesk services and bespoke individual support to publishers to improve use of the Standard and the quality of data, leading to ever increasing examples of IATI data being used.

We look forward to being an active member of the IATI community going forward, and we wish the IATI Secretariat, Board and community all the very best in the future.

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