This post was written by IATI Chair, Stephen Potter on Members’ Assembly 2017 (Rome 3-5 October)
Last week, 109 participants from governments, multilaterals, CSOs, private sector organisations and development finance institutions met in Rome for IATI’s 2017 Members’ Assembly.
I was delighted to welcome several representatives from the following 12 new members who have joined IATI since our last meeting: the governments of Italy, France, Somalia, and Guinea; the International Organization for Migration, World Health Organization, International Finance Corporation, Akvo, Synergy International Systems, Plan International, Oxfam Novib and Oxfam America.
Increasing influence in agriculture
There has been growing interest in IATI specifically within the agriculture sector, so we were delighted that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) offered to host the meetings this year.
IFAD President Mr Gilbert Houngbo opened the meeting, telling members that since its inception, “IATI has encouraged transparency, accountability and oversight – values that are essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda”.
IFAD and other organisations working to end hunger and food insecurity, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Initiative for Open Ag Funding shared updates on the different ways in which they were increasingly working with IATI data.
Facilitating IATI data use
With nearly 600 organisations publishing information on over 700,000 development and humanitarian activities across the globe, a key item we discussed was how to increase the use of this wealth of data. It was very encouraging that many IATI members had honoured their pledges made at last year’s Members Assembly on data use. An excellent example was showcased by UNICEF, Development Gateway and Development Initiatives which have jointly delivered a programme over the last year to embed IATI fellows with the governments of Senegal and Madagascar in order to help their staff benefit from IATI.
— IATI (@IATI_aid) October 5, 2017
To promote the widespread and routine use of IATI data, members discussed a year-long work plan to improve awareness, guidance and tools. Members were particularly keen to ensure that the plan reflected the importance of continuing to improve IATI data quality.
I was very happy that many members from across our constituencies volunteered to join a new Data Use Task Force to work on the plan and to oversee its implementation.
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) joined us on the last day of our meetings and emphasised in her address that IATI continues to complement the work of the DAC.
— Charlotte Petri G. (@CharlottePetriG) October 5, 2017
The DAC Chair also praised IATI’s work to establish good practices around data which she said were “key to increasing transparency and access for more stakeholders”.
She added that the DAC is taking its own steps, through a reform process, to improve its institutional architecture and enhance its transparency.
IATI’s institutional review
With IATI evolving and rapidly expanding since it was established in 2008, we used the meeting to look at issues around its long-term institutional arrangements, with a view to ensuring these continue to meet its needs.
Members considered the report on IATI’s recent institutional review which looked at hosting arrangements for the Secretariat, a sustainable funding model, membership criteria, governance structures among other matters.
Over three sessions, participants provided invaluable contributions on the review’s recommendations and discussions on these will be taken forward by a new working group to develop final proposals. Members agreed on four underlying principles (legitimate, accountable, useful, sustainable) to guide the actions of the group.
We also agreed to create a new constituency of membership for private sector organisations, recognising their growing role in international development.
IATI’s new look
The Secretariat revealed IATI’s new logo and preview of the new website and initial feedback was positive. The objective of these changes is to help improve the experience of IATI data publishers and users, members and newcomers, and ultimately to facilitate the use of good quality information on development resources to help achieve sustainable development .
Notes of thanks
Many thanks to IFAD for hosting the meeting so thoughtfully and efficiently and to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) for providing funding for the event.
I’m also very grateful for the many months of hard work by our Governing Board and Secretariat in the lead up to the Members’ Assembly.