Over 105 organizations in The Netherlands have been working with, and publishing to the IATI Standard over the past two years. Based on these experiences, we feel it necessary to express our shared understanding of what IATI is, and is not. This shared vision provides
the foundation of how we participate in the discussions around the 2.03 upgrade process and what we see as priorities.
We believe that IATI framework enables stakeholders to share representative “snapshots” and forward-looking information on activities. The information provided for the IATI framework is output from other financial and monitoring and evaluation systems, processes and workflows. IATI in itself does not replace these systems, processes and workflows and is not a suitable framework for full financial transparency or results accountability.
Any changes should be grounded in and supported by very clear ‘use cases’ and inline with a common understanding of what IATI is and is not. We propose that significant changes to the standard are only made based on experience and learnings gained from organizations publishing to the standard over the next two years. Making significant or several changes to the standard now will risk taking away the energy and capacity from publishers, users and tool builders. Instead of focusing on publishing results and financial information, they will spend several months updating their systems and tools
Many organisations are gaining experience using IATI to show progress on activities including financial transactions and projects results. We hope to continue this learning process and share in-depth stories about our ongoing experiences and use cases in the coming time. The Partos workshop report on Working with Results within IATI already highlights some of the lessons learned by organizations. We propose to gather a variety of experiences, ours and those of others, in the next year (2017-2018), reflect together in a mini-TAG and then formulate informed change proposals for the standard.
We want to again emphasize our vision that IATI provides an overview to stakeholders on the progress of activity implementation and points to the location for further information provided by the publishing organization. IATI does not does not, and should not, capture all the details about an activity. Attempts to make IATI into a detailed financial report or monitoring and evaluation framework can result in the creation of a top-heavy, complex and burdensome framework.
Our focus should be on integrating IATI in organizational systems, processes and workflows and learn as much as we can from its current incarnation without making too many small or significant changes. Only by gaining this experience can we make informed suggestions and decisions on what needs to be changed in the standard.
Leo Stolk, Oxfam Novib
Marten Schoonman, Akvo
Pelle Aardema, independent IATI consultant
Roderick Besseling, Cordaid
Rolf Kleef, independent IATI consultant