Key elements of IATI’s strategic direction:
In the first paragraph, I’d like to see an explicit reference to publisher needs, as well as those of users. If we’re serious about broadening the scope of IATI beyond traditional aid providers then we need to recognise that not everyone has the same way of working as a bilateral or multilateral donor. We’ve already done some work to adapt the Standard to reflect the needs of humanitarian publishers and worked with DFIs to interpret IATI for their particular business model; we need to keep taking publisher needs into account as we work with a wider range of actors, e.g. technical / South-South cooperation providers. So adapting and improving the standard for the future is critical to meet our vision too.
In the second paragraph, I’m not convinced it’s possible to prioritise or pick and choose from amongst the five areas – they are all inextricably linked to one another and therefore difficult to separate out. Taking one away, minimising work on it will undermine IATI and the achievement of our vision.
1. Promoting data use
It’s important to be clear that there is currently no budget provision for any work on IATI data use. It will be vital for the Members’ Assembly to approve the workplan for 2016-18, as well as increasing resources available, to ensure implementation of this work.
I disagree that it’s impossible to support individual users. Yes, it’s impossible to support all users, but I believe it would be hugely valuable to do some proof of concept work with a few different kinds of users and draw out some lessons and principles that can be more broadly applied, either through tools or guidance material, as well as through technical cooperation and capacity building.
Tools are only one part of the efforts to promote data use and they require sustainable support and funding – we have seen too many tools developed and then not maintained. Perhaps it’s worth thinking about a single tool that can meet a range of user needs, rather than a proliferation of country portals which meet one country’s needs, do not provide a methodology that can be replicated easily in multiple locations without intensive support and high cost, and so on.
2. Improving IATI data quality, breadth and depth
While I agree that we need to increase the number of publishers beyond donors, we need to balance this with:
- Ensuring the remaining ODA providers either publish to IATI for the first time or resolve the more critical data quality issues;
- Recognising that providing technical support to implementing organisations is usually more labour-intensive than supporting donors;
In light of these two points, I absolutely support the need to evaluate the model of technical support for IATI. DI has provided this service up until now and it is clear that it is not an effective use of IATI resources to exponentially expand the current support service to meet the needs of a greater number and wider range of publishers so we welcome the suggestion to look at other options.
3. Maintaining and improving the IATI Standard
An important area and we would be interested to hear other ideas on how we continue to maintain the Standard and ensure its integrity, as well as support improvements.
4. Communication and outreach
I agree that we should see comms and outreach as a cross-cutting area of work that supports the achievement of the other areas of the strategy.
I’d like to see a focus on branding in this section – there is no point in investing in improving our website if we don’t first do the work to establish how we want to describe ourselves and communicate with others, who our target audiences are and what they need to know etc. Branding is a lot more than logos and designs – it ensures we are able to communicate the right messages to the right people in the right way.