COVID-19 IATI Publishing Guidance Consultation

We welcome your feedback and suggestions on improving IATI’s COVID-19 Publishing Guidance!

How to get involved in the consultation:

1. Provide answers to one or all of the below questions and respond directly to this Discuss thread by Monday 20th of April.

  • Does the guidance meet the needs of both development and humanitarian actors?

    • Specifically, we recommend the use of humanitarian-scope for both development and humanitarian activities. Do you agree with that, or do you support the proposal to also add GLIDE as a vocabulary to the tag element for publishing development activities only (see more detailed discussions here and here)?
    • If you support the use of the tag element, please provide specific examples of development activities that will be published there.
  • Can you publish data on all activities and spending related to COVID-19 using the recommended elements?

    • If not, please provide an example of an activity/spending you are unable to publish using the recommended IATI specific elements?
    • Would you be using Transaction Type 12 - Outgoing Pledge & 13- Incoming Pledge for any spending related to COVID-19? We have not provided specific guidance on use of transactions and want to hear from you!
  • Do you have any specific suggestions on improving the guidance? Are there areas where the guidance can be made clearer? If so, please state your specific suggestion.

  • How will your organisation use data on international resource flows to respond to the pandemic? Does the IATI publishing guidance and recommended elements meet those data use needs? Please provide any examples.

2. Join the IATI Publishing Guidance Webinar on COVID-19 on Tuesday 7 April - 3:30pm UK time.

3. Get in touch with the IATI technical team by emailing the IATI Helpdesk (


After the closing date of the consultation (Monday 20th of April), we will summarise the discussions (received via Discuss, webinar or email) and post a response to this Discuss thread with any proposed clarification or amendments to the IATI guidance. The guidance will then be updated respectively.

Thank you so much for moving so quickly to track COVID-19 responses! We are planning on extending the IATI-AIMS importer to identify projects that are supporting COVID-19 response. We plan to add a single COVID-19 tag to a project in the AMP. In general, it is very challenging to implement tech to use or display information when there are so many different options of how to report it as it means we would have to implement various methods to simply identify if it’s addressing COVID-19. In general we would strongly suggest that the guidelines limit the options to a single method so that the data is more usable.

We personally prefer option 3 (Humanitarian Scope Element), as option 2 flags it as humanitarian but does not specify it is for COVID response, and option 1 (write COVID-19 in the title) has more room for error from misspelling (people excluding the dash, or writing out Coronavirus instead, etc.). We suggest then that IATI guidance be that this is the only way COVID-19 should be officially reported to IATI.


Thank you for all the comments posted on our online consultation on publishing and using IATI COVID-19 data. Over the last two weeks we’ve heard from many organisations - through IATI Discuss, on our recent webinar, during a meeting with UN publishers and through comments sent directly to the Technical Team.

After reviewing all contributions, the Technical Team are pleased to share our response to the consultation and future actions below.

Endorsement of using elements in existing publishing guidance

We have received wide endorsement for the existing guidance, with no major calls to remove the use of any of the elements originally proposed. Therefore, we continue to recommend:

  1. Title - including “COVID-19” in the title of reported activities.

  2. Humanitarian Scope - for both humanitarian and development activities, link to the Emergency- GLIDE: EP-2020-000012-001 and Appeal- HRP: HCOVD20

  3. Humanitarian flag - using the humanitarian attribute for only humanitarian activities and/ or transactions related to COVID-19.

Additions to publishing guidance following the consultation

  1. Descriptions - if organisations are unable to specify COVID-19 in the activity title, they can include “COVID-19” in the activity descriptions and/or transaction descriptions.

    Do note: d-portal has been updated to enable a free-text search for “COVID-19” within activity descriptions (see more details below on accessing IATI data). The IATI Datastore Query Builder also allows for free text-search for “COVID-19” in titles and activity description.

  2. Tag - if an organisation does not permit their development activities to be published using the Humanitarian Scope element, in addition to specifying “COVID-19” in the activity title and/or description, they are advised to use the element, vocabulary =“99”, treated as free text:

<tag vocabulary="99" code="COVID-19">

Our reasons for this addition:

  • Although most organisations supported publishing all their activities using the humanitarian-scope, there were strong calls for the option of using the element as an alternative classification for development activities. The Technical Team has therefore taken this approach to help ensure that the publishing guidance does not prevent COVID-19 activities from some development organisations being published.

  • From all the options provided on IATI Discuss (many thanks to @rory_scott for your suggestions), this was the most straightforward to implement. There were complications with the other options:

    • Including GLIDE Codes as entries on the TagVocabulary codelist: There was strong opposition to recommendations for new vocabularies, as this created an extra burden on publishers to update their publishing systems and adds another layer of complexity to the standard adding the same codes in two places.

    • There were multiple issues raised with using the element, declaring GLIDE as a custom vocabulary using code 99. They included the potential for typos when typing the lengthy code (more of a risk than typing COVID-19)

Accessing data that has been published using the Standard

We have listened to the many important calls for COVID-19 data published to the Standard to be accessible on IATI tools.

  • d-portal: We have added a new ‘Trending’ feature on the homepage for popular searches. This now includes a COVID-19 button that performs a search for the elements in the initial publishing guidance. Many thanks to @Shi for this work and we will be working together for any future improvements. We have also added 14 new filters to this platform to enable more complex searches of all data.

  • Datastore: The IATI Datastore Query Builder allows for free-test search of “COVID-19” in titles and activity descriptions as well as use of additional filters, such as the humanitarian scope element. For more technical users, there are also options of an API call to search across elements in the publisher guidance.

Further issues for consideration

There are a few key data needs that we want to explore over the next two months. We will be keen to hear if your organisation needs to publish and/or use data on the following themes:

  1. Quantifying percentage of funds allocated from an activity to COVID-19

  2. Diverted / repurposed funding due to COVID-19

We would also like to hear what data will be useful for analysing and responding to the long-term response effects to the pandemic. This was raised by several members of the community, including @reidmporter here and @stolk here . How will these data needs be different to the data required now?

Next steps

  • IATI will be issuing updated COVID-19 publishing guidance and releasing new guidance on accessing this data over the next few days

  • We will be providing instructions on both publishing and accessing COVID-19 data on our upcoming webinar on Monday 27 April, 3:30pm (UK time). We will also take questions from the community - register here.

Thanks very much to everyone who has contributed so far and for your appreciation of IATI Technical Team’s response to the pandemic so far. We look forward to working with you over the coming months on this rapidly developing situation.

As always get in touch with us by emailing

Many thanks,

IATI Technical Team


Hi - not sure where to post this, but please can we include something in the guidance on the necessity of speed of publishing COVID data - I am suggesting that many use cases during the crisis rely on weekly publishing - but this appears really rare - is there anything we can do to make this better - easier publishing, secondary publishing of just COVID data?


Following the consultation and your feedback we have now updated the IATI Publishing Guidance on COVID-19 (Updated 27 April 2020).

You can also read our newspost summarizing the recent updates to the guidance.

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Please can a recording of the webinar be made available? I am not able to take part in my current choice of platform:

The meeting requires registration to join and it is not supported to join from the browser.
Please try to launch meeting if you have Zoom client installed.

Here are the links to the IATI Publishing and Data Access Guidance Webinar on COVID-19 - 27 April: