IATI held its Steering Committee meeting at UN City, Copenhagen on 2-3 December with a record attendance of 90 participants from 30 different countries representing 54 governments and organisations from across the expanding membership of IATI. Welcome announcements were made, including significant voluntary contributions for 2016-17 from the Hewlett Foundation and the European Commission, and new memberships, including the Republic of Korea and InterAction, with formal membership steps also expected soon for Guinea, FAO, WHO and UNIDO.
The evaluation of IATI undertaken in 2015 proved to be a good starting point for discussions. The excellent groundwork undertaken by the interim Members’ Advisory Group to prepare detailed recommendations around governance, strategic vision and hosting helped the Steering Committee to come to some concrete decisions at the meeting. Members agreed to establish a Governing Board representing donors, civil society, partner countries and the technical community. The Board will have responsibility for preparing recommendations for approval by the Members’ Assembly, which will meet annually and will contribute to decision-making between meetings through a virtual process. Members also agreed to ask the current IATI Secretariat to continue their work for a maximum of two further years beyond the current term (which would have expired in August 2016) and requested that the Board develop recommendations during this period for more permanent institutional arrangements for IATI.
Through the innovative use of online collaborative tools, the Secretariat was able to record the essence of facilitated conversations taking place around eleven small tables on topics such as IATI’s role in the 2030 agenda as a standard that can capture data on all international resources for development; those inputs were used as references in later plenary sessions.
When asked about the potential for rebranding IATI, members were keen on retaining the acronym whilst agreeing that IATI should lose the ‘Aid’ word in order to promote greater inclusivity and reflect its potential to capture data on all international resources. The Board was asked to establish a process for looking in more depth at the question of branding while it also considers the longer term vision for IATI.
The technical team shared highlights from the new upgrade to version 2.02 of the Standard which went live on December 7, following a rigorous process of consultation ahead of the meetings. This makes the Standard fit for purpose for the humanitarian community, adding new optional fields, and enabling publishers to report data in real time via a humanitarian marker for fast-tracking publication of humanitarian activities. With v2.02 all publishers are now able to report progress against the Sustainable Development Goals, with goals and targets already incorporated and a placeholder for indicators once these are agreed. These new fields give IATI an important edge in terms of monitoring SDG activity at country level and members are encouraged to use the new fields as early as possible.
In discussions on the Transparency Indicator of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), members gave support for the methodology and assessment of IATI data through the Dashboard which now includes the dimensions of timeliness, comprehensiveness and forward-looking as highlighted in the Busan transparency commitment. Members were concerned that, while the GPEDC Joint Support Team’s proposal for combining the IATI component with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and Forward Spending Survey (FSS) may be technically sound, it is overly complex and therefore of limited political value in encouraging donors to improve their transparency.
IATI was pleased to launch its latest Annual Report which contains several excellent case studies from publishers and users of IATI data. The report is available in English, with executive summaries in French and Spanish.
Given the short timeline for establishing the new governance structures ahead of the next meeting of members in June 2016 (TBC), the Chair asked the interim Members’ Advisory Group (MAG) to continue its work and encouraged other members to volunteer to assist the MAG in some of its workstreams on implementing the new governance structures, developing IATI’s strategic vision, improving data use at country level and moving towards permanent hosting arrangements.
Finally, members bid farewell and gave warm thanks to the Steering Committee Chair, Robin Uyterlinde, who has completed his two year tenure. He was happy to leave IATI on such a high note and remarked on some of the excellent advances that have taken place during his time in the role, including the growth to more than 360 publishers reflecting more than US$78bn of development resources reported through IATI. He asked that the Vice Chair agree to continue in this role until the next Members’ Assembly meeting when governance changes are finalised.
See more photos from the meeting, and other IATI events, on Flickr.