Yesterday, there was a round table discussion on transparency during an emerging donors’ conference in which two of the current IATI Steering Committee members participated.
The round table was moderated by Judith Randel from Development Initiatives, who emphasised that transparency was transformational, putting power in the hands of different people. She noted that how you deliver transparency matters – if everyone does transparency in their own way, it’s not that useful. Common standards offer more value because they help data use.
Robin Uyterlinde, Chair of the IATI Steering Committee, gave a brief overview of the initiative, and emphasised that it was designed to meet the needs of users of information, rather than providers. He outlined the multi-stakeholder nature of IATI, and the range of different actors publishing to the IATI Standard. Like other workshop participants, he noted that the absence of data from emerging donors left gaps at country level, where users wanted to build a complete picture of the resources available. He emphasised that while the IATI Standard has a solid core, it also has flexibility to accommodate the different needs of different actors. He said that IATI was keen to work with any emerging donors who are interested in engaging with us.
From Madagascar, Zefania Romalahy spoke about his county’s efforts to encourage donors to provide information for their AIMS, which is available online. This information is vital in reporting back to citizens on who provides development cooperation and what it is spent on. It is important to have information from emerging actors in the same dashboard in order to present a complete picture. He noted that not all South-South Cooperation can be quantified, and this creates a challenge – existing mechanisms may need to be adapted to deal with this.
As a concrete outcome of the round table, IATI proposed a technical workshop to explore how existing tools and technologies like IATI could be adapted to capture the contributions of emerging actors.