Help develop IATI’s humanitarian reporting guidance

(Joni Hillman) #1

Can you share your views on our new guidance for publishing humanitarian financing to IATI?

The IATI Technical Team have produced step-by-step information on how humanitarian actors can report their assistance to the IATI Standard. We’re keen to hear whether our guidance best supports humanitarian actors to:

  • Use the latest version (2.02) of the IATI Standard to access its new humanitarian features

  • Provide daily updates (when necessary) during the onset of emergencies so that up-to-date information is readily available to those on the ground

Our new guidance underpins the Grand Bargain commitment made at the World Humanitarian Summit in May to ‘publish to IATI within two years of the WHS’. By supporting organisations to meet this pledge, we aim to improve the operational effectiveness of global humanitarian action.

Please post your comments below on our new guidance by Friday 16th September.

Humanitarian Scope Vocabularies
Adding A Humanitarian 'Marker' To The IATI Standard
Humanitarian Scope Vocabularies
Humanitarian flag - " entirely or partially"
Does FTS have any requirements for IATI data?
Does FTS have any requirements for IATI data?
(Brent Phillips) #2

The guidelines are a good start, relative to improving humanitarian reporting, it would be a help to see IATI also generate a set of XML examples corresponding to common types of humanitarian operations.

(Wendy Rogers) #3

Thanks @BrentPhillips and I very much agree that it would be good to have some examples especially if they were real activities. Therefore now that we have the publishing guidelines we would be very happy to work with any publisher who would like help with humanitarian reporting. Publishers can as usual contact us at if they are interested?

(Yohanna Loucheur) #4

Thanks to the DI team for developing this guidance and consulting the IATI community on it.

We have a few comments to share from Canada’s perspective trying to implement the new elements.

  • In Step 2 (“Mark the IATI activity with the humanitarian flag”), are we not selling this element short by only mentioning that it can help fast-track publishing? It’s main purpose would be to enable users to find humanitarian activity.

  • In Step 3 (“Define which emergency the activity is responding to”), there’s a bit of a contradiction between saying that “the humanitarian-scope @type and @vocabulary will always be as follows” (using GLIDE) and at the end of that step providing instructions for when an emergency is not listed on GLIDE. Clearly, the humanitarian-scope type and vocabulary will not always be from GLIDE. The instructions should rather say that GLIDE should be the default option.

  • In Step 4, a link should be provided to the UN humanitarian plans list, just like a link is provided to GLIDE in Step 3. In addition, instructions should be provided on how to code appeals or plans that do not appear on the UN list. Finally, to improve clarity, the last paragraph should be split in 2 as it concerns to very important and different topics - the reference data and @narrative field.

Looking at these instructions and discussing with colleagues made us realize that it would have been useful to be able to indicate a percentage for each emergency or appeal. For instance, the multi-location example provided in Step 3 would be much better if we were able to indicate that eg 25% of the project goes to the first location (Sierra Leone), 45% to the second (Liberia) and 30% to the third (Guinea). In this case the information can probably be derived from the geographic scope of the project, but in other cases it may not be possible.

Finally, the question of how to code projects that have both a humanitarian and a development component may require more discussion. I seem to recall that initial guidance from DI was that the humanitarian flag should be used for all projects that have a humanitarian component, even if it’s not 100% - the thinking being that it was best to cast the net broader than to leave projects out. Speaking for Global Affairs, we would not be able to distinguish the 2 components, even at the transaction level. This is where the DAC sector codes may be useful, as such projects would usually be coded with x% humanitarian aid and y% other (development) codes.

We will be looking into some of this in more depth in coming weeks and will share further thoughts and suggestions here.

(Mark Brough) #5

Belatedly, a couple of quick thoughts from me on this:

On step 2, humanitarian flag, I agree with @YohannaLoucheur that the humanitarian marker could be used as a flag to identify all projects that are related to humanitarian response, even if the projects are only partly related to humanitarian. I can also see arguments for not breaking projects into humanitarian and non-humanitarian components, as seeing the integrated nature of a combined humanitarian+development project might be useful?

On step 6, sectors – I understand the reason for using DAC sector codes in the way suggested in the note, but maybe this makes it hard to understand the nature of a humanitarian intervention. If a project is education or health-related, you may only see something like 72050 - Relief co-ordination; protection and support services rather than any more detail than that.

Is there a better way of publishing that this is (e.g.) a “health project in a humanitarian response”? I know that you can use UN cluster codes, but there are only about ten of them and I wonder if using a parallel vocabulary then creates an unhelpful divide in the data between humanitarian and development projects.

A real world example of a project in IATI data currently:

  • on EC ECHO website, where the project is identified as supporting “Nutrition, therapeutic & supp feeding”
  • in EC ECHO IATI data, where the project is identified as “720” (Emergency Response)

(Mark Brough) #6

Perhaps it would also be useful to list the minimum requirements of FTS or EDRIS (for EU Member States) for automatically importing information from publishers’ IATI data? I don’t know if that belongs in this guidance, but perhaps it could be a helpful way of encouraging / incentivising uptake.

(Wendy Rogers) #7

Thanks to @YohannaLoucheur @markbrough and all those who responded to our call to help develop IATI’s new humanitarian reporting guidance.

We will be updating our draft guidance to reflect the views received so far and will publish a new version for further consultation soon.

In the meantime, you are welcome to continue providing your views on how we best support humanitarian actors by posting here or email to

(CartONG) #8

@Wendy these are all very interesting discussions.
I’m allowing myself to step in the discussion to introduce the GeOnG conference we organize in Chambéry (France, 1h from Geneva) on October 17-19 :
GeOnG is one of the biggest conferences in the world on humanitarian information management, with many experts from the IM, GIS and Monitoring & Evaluation from many major agencies present.
We’re having several discussions this year on the topics of data standards and operability (with a focus on the constraints of field operations, as always), with interventions from the Humanitarian Data Exchange platform among others, so we’ve thought the event could be of interest to IATI’s members and community.
Feel free to ping me if you have any question regarding the conference & potential interventions (please get back to me fast then since we’re finalizing the agenda): geong[at]

Best regards.

Martin Noblecourt for the CartONG team

(Wendy Rogers) #9

Many thanks @CartONG for bringing this to the attention of the IATI community and I’m sure that those interested will contact you directly

(Laia) #10

I realize I am chiming in late, but I’d like to express support for a couple of the comments that have already been made.

On the humanitarian flag, I agree with @YohannaLoucheur and @markbrough that it would be best for publishers to use this if any aspect of an activity is related to humanitarian response. The suggestion to split projects into two seems impractical, and I’d foresee many challenges for our members at least if this were the recommended guidance. I believe it would also be difficult for organizations to mark individual transactions as humanitarian if an activity has both humanitarian and development components.

On sectors, we have faced the same issue @markbrough raises with the DAC sector codes: the humanitarian codes alone are not sufficient for understanding the nature of the humanitarian activities taking place. It seems like it would be ideal not to have to use two separate vocabularies to get at this (DAC and clusters), but I admit I’m not sure what the solution here is.

Finally - one general comment: it would be really useful to understand why it is important to provide all of the requested pieces of information. If you could provide publishers with some indication of how each element might be used by FTS or others, or what the rationale was for including those elements in this “humanitarian standard,” that could help organizations justify the investments they might have to make in adapting their systems to publish this data.

(Ben Parker) #11

Correct me if I am wrong, but according to this dashboard page (, there are almost no donors using the 2.02 humanitarian flag introduced over a year ago, even those signed up to the “Grand Bargain”.

I see ECHO but apart from them, which other donor has adopted this marker?



Grand Bargain signatories:

Czech Rep

(Wendy Rogers) #12

As an update to this post (and related to another to another Discuss post please find the latest update guidelines for humanitarian reporting here

Policy Markers and humanitarian activities - advice needed
(Yohanna Loucheur) #14

Wendy, thank you for posting the revised draft guidelines for humanitarian data.

I went over the revised version and would suggest the following minor changes to increase their clarity and usefulness:

  • Step 1 ends by saying that activities should be encoded as per steps 2 to 7. Strictly speaking, step 7 is not about encoding and should be treated separately.

  • Step 2, under Exceptions, minor changes were made to soften slightly the notion that humanitarian and development activities should be split. Yet, you had received unanimous feedback that this would be impossible if not unadvisable. I would recommend to drop this part entirely. At the very least, the last sentence should be revised: saying that the flag should be added to the transaction rather than the activity contradicts all the feedback received above.

  • Increase clarity by adding a new step 3: Determine whether the activity responds to an emergency and/or an appeal. This will signal to readers that not all activities relate to an emergency or an appeal. Otherwise the current step 3 looks like a mandatory step (“Define which emergency the activity is responding to” does not leave room for the possibility that it may not relate to one).

  • In the current step 5 (which would now be 6), make readers’ life easier by providing the link to the UN cluster codelist.

  • Current step 7 is not about the elements or coding, so would suggest to create a new section (maybe called Publishing?)

We look forward to revised guidance on humanitarian data, and the results of the upcoming pilot.

(Wendy Rogers) #15

Thank you @YohannaLoucheur and rather than create another version of the existing guidance here I shall flag these comments to our colleagues at FTS to integrate into the revised guidelines currently being worked on. @ximboden

(Yohanna Loucheur) #16

Thank you Wendy.

I’m a bit concerned about waiting for UNOCHA-FTS to correct the existing guidance.

You said in post 1132: “However, as part of the work for the Grand Bargain Transparency Workstream (and also for the IASC HFTT) FTS are going to be running a pilot during the first half of 2018 to start processing published IATI data and they are planning to further develop the existing guidelines as a result of that process.”

This means it would take several months to get new guidance. In the meantime, people looking for guidance may arrive here and use the note provided in Joni’s initial message.

I think it really would be better to correct the note before the pilot starts, especially with regard to the second bullet in my previous message.

(Wendy Rogers) #17

Thanks @YohannaLoucheur and just to confirm that under current plans FTS are planning to revise the existing guidelines by the end of Dec 2017 (and so can pick up the amendments here) and then further revise them in light of any finding from the pilot (currently due to run to Jun 2018). Hope that helps

(Mohammad Ariful Islam) #18

I agree :hugs:with you​:+1:, I’m new in this community and trying to survive by Learnings from you all. Thank you so much

(Yohanna Loucheur) #19

Does anyone know where these guidelines are at? The version that Wendy shared last November (above) appears unchanged, but perhaps there’s an updated version available somewhere else? @ximboden, would you know?

(Steven Flower) #20

I’m also keen to know the status of this. There’s a new news item about the pilot on the Aid Transparency site this week. Would be good to get specifics in terms of the direction and version of the guidance (last updated Nov 2017)…