This post is written by Stephen Potter, Chair of IATI
This summer, organisations from across the development sector gathered at UN City in Copenhagen to help shape the future of IATI. As the newly elected chair, I had the privilege of welcoming 55 different governments, multilateral organisations, NGOs, CSOs and private sector organisations joining us at IATI’s first Members’ Assembly.
A truly multi-stakeholder initiative
As I experienced my first meeting with IATI members, I was inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the diverse global community and delighted to meet long-standing members as well as our newest members, UNIDO, UNEP and Korea.
Important decisions on IATI’s future
As the ultimate decision-making body for IATI, created under recent governance changes, the Members’ Assembly had important choices to make on IATI’s future priorities.
After growing to over 70 member organisations and nearly 500 publishers since 2011, a recent evaluation called for the initiative to ‘define and communicate clearly its vision and direction’. In response to this recommendation, the Governing Board built on work of members to draft a new vision, mission and strategic direction for IATI that was presented to the Members’ Assembly.
Following a constructive discussion, members agreed to final versions that put improving data quality and increasing data use at the heart of IATI’s future to help achieve sustainable development.
The Governing Board and IATI’s Secretariat had also been busy in recent months responding to another recommendation of the evaluation to seek to ensure more predictable funding for the initiative. Members agreed a new structure for membership fees that will provide IATI with increased resources to deliver on the ambitious vision and mission defined by its members. Read about members’ discussions and decisions in the minutes here.
Excellent examples of using IATI data
Throughout the two-day meeting, we learned about several exciting examples of organisations using IATI data. On day two, the African Development Bank launched MapAfrica 2.0, an online tool that uses IATI data to enable anyone in the world to see how the bank’s projects are boosting Africa’s economies and improving lives.
We also learned the initial findings of some brand new initiatives squeezing value out of IATI data, including the Initiative for Open Ag Funding, Integrity Action’s monitoring of projects, the IATI Studio tools and work in Bangladesh to enable the import of IATI data into the country’s aid management platform.
Pledging to increase IATI data use
Hearing more about what IATI members are doing with data gave us all great confidence that, working together, we will keep increasing data use to support decision-making and accountability – priorities that are right at the heart of our new strategy.
78 pledges from over 30 organisations were posted on our ‘Pledge Wall’, ranging from ‘encourage additional country partners to import IATI data into country systems’ to ‘supporting development of better visualisation tools’. We will be bringing the IATI community together to deliver them.
Engaging with the global agenda on transparency
We asked members which external opportunities IATI should engage with over the coming months and the second High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Nairobi (28 Nov-1 Dec) was clearly identified as an unmissable opportunity to establish an enhanced political commitment to transparency.
I want to thank all participants for their time and enthusiasm, and for the invaluable contributions they made. I encourage all attendees to take part in our survey to help improve future events.
With a clear steer on IATI’s new priorities, I look forward to working with all our members and supporters to deliver on them.