Request for new org ID: XI-IATI-OCHASDC

(Kareem Elbayar) #1

Dear colleagues,

Following discussions between the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and IATI colleagues, we would like to request the creation of a new organisation ID on the XI-IATI namespace as follows:

Organisation ID: XI-IATI-OCHASDC

Name: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Specially-Designated Contributions

Description: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA’s activities are funded mostly through voluntary contributions from UN Member States. Activities associated with these contributions are reported under the IATI organisation ID XM-DAC-41127. OCHA also administers a number of Specially-Designated Contributions (SDCs) for projects implemented by third parties. Activities funded through SDCs are not part of OCHA’s budget, and will be reported under the IATI organisation ID XM-IATI-OCHASDC. Finally, please note that OCHA also serves as an IATI publisher for organisations that receive contributions from funds that are managed by OCHA; see XM-OCHA-CERF, XM-OCHA-CBPF, and XM-OCHA-FTS for more information.

As soon as this request is approved, OCHA will begin publishing activity files for the OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data, an SDC that is currently funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the City of The Hague, and other donors. Because these contributions go to the OCHA SDC, they do not appear on XM-DAC-41127 and there is no risk of double-counting. OCHA will also endeavor to begin publishing IATI activity files for other SDCs as appropriate under this same organisation ID (XI-IATI-OCHASDC).

Thank you for your assistance and consideration.

(IATI Technical Team) #2

Following our discussions with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Specially-Designated Contributions, if no objection is received this XI-IATI code will be approved in a week.

(Yohanna Loucheur) #3

If I understand correctly, the main “issue” to be addressed with the creation of the proposed code relates to OCHA’s internal budget management. SDCs are not part of OCHA’s regular budget. Very well, but why does this prevent OCHA from publishing the activities funded through SDCs? The source of fund (eg donors) can still be identified in the data. How important is it for users to know that the funds are SDCs rather than other forms of voluntary contributions? In other words, what is the use case here?

In addition, from a user perspective, won’t all these very different ID models be very confusing? Based on the above message, people will have to understand the difference between

I note that the third model above puts OCHA in the role of a registration agency. If that is the case, why couldn’t SDCs have a XM-OCHA-xxx ID as well, if indeed they must be published separately?

Thanks in advance.

(Tim Davies) #4

I agree with Yohanna that there are some issues here around identifying sub-units of organisations that might be better handled without overloading the identifier: although there is also the challenge of clearly identifying complex international organisations - whose legal status is not always unambiguous.

That noted, I don’t believe XM-OCHA-CERF, XM-OCHA-CBPF, and XM-OCHA-FTS are valid identifiers.

XM-OCHA as a prefix relates to the Financial Tracking System (FTS) identifiers (this entry in was inherited from IATI - and really should be called XM-FTS, but we’ve kept the identifier the same for legacy compatibility).

Unless CERF, CBPF and FTS exist in the FTS list of organisations, they should not appear as suffixes to XM-OCHA.

(Kareem Elbayar) #5

Dear Yohanna and Tim,

Thanks for your comments.

With regard to why OCHA prefers to keep programme budget activities and SDC activities separate: programme budget activities are implemented directly by OCHA, whereas SDCs are implemented through a third party. What is important with regard to SDCs as oppose to voluntary contributions to OCHA’s programme budget is that the contributions are pass-through funds to implementing partners, rather than being spent by OCHA directly on its programme activities.

In terms of the different IDs, we agree that this is perhaps unnecessarily confusing and are in the midst of internal discussions concerning how we might be able to simplify our reporting in IATI. That said, we are proposing that OCHA report in two places (XM-DAC-41127 for regular budget, XM-IATI-OCHASDC for SDCs).

The other publishers (XM-OCHA-CERF, XM-OCHA-FTS, XM-OCHA-CBPF) are for organizations that OCHA provides grant funding to on behalf of donors. For example, OCHA administers the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund (currently $32 million dollars) and all grants awarded through that mechanism are automatically published through XM-OCHA-CBPF. We do not think it would be appropriate to publish activity reports for the OCHA SDCs through these mechanisms, because doing so might lead to the incorrect assumption that we are awarding grant funds to ourselves. In addition, linking to OCHA SDCs would result in a mismatch between the CERF, CBPF, and FTS funding totals and what is reported in IATI. OCHA has limited resources for IATI publishing, and has so far focused its efforts on publishing data to IATI on its programme budget. That being said, OCHA is stepping up publishing to IATI on SDC projects, starting with the Centre and expanding to other SDC projects, such as ProCap and GenCap.

We hope that the XM-IATI-OCHASDC proposal is workable in the immediate term, and we would like to invite you to continue a discussion with us about OCHA IATI reporting more generally through a separate channel.

Best regards,

(Kareem Elbayar) #6

Dear @IATI-techteam , it’s been about a week without any further comment. May we respectfully request that the XI-IATI code be approved?

We will be in touch bilaterally with @YohannaLoucheur and TimDavies to discuss their comments further in coming weeks.

Thank you!

(Michelle Levesque) #7

Dear Kareem & Others,

I don’t have a strong opinion about a fifth OCHA related code but the fact that the names, org identifier, org type and even HQ country for what OCHA does publish are not consistent, does make it hard for “lay people” like me to even find all the OCHA related publisher files. To then know out of the soon to be 5 which one to reference when including participating organizations can still be tricky unless our agreements start to explicitly state the IATI publisher name and org identifier for all parties. (I’d definitely push for that.)

Just something to consider since I also don’t believe there is a way to “guide” users publicly and this could make traceability difficult if not impossible for many users.

FYI: I’m not saying any of this is wrong; just pointing out the difficulty in piecing all of OCHA together if you aren’t familiar with the structure.

OCHA-CBPF - listed as academic, training & Research with no HQ country listed
OCHA-FTS - HQ in Switzerland
DAC-411127 - HQ in Switzerland

Kind Regards,

(Amy Silcock) #8

Following the discussions above, the only viable option being put forward is for XI-IATI-OCHASDC.

Unless there is a suitable alternative we should continue with this IATI Org ID.

@elbayar would you be able to put (OCHA) into the organisation name to help a little with consistency?

(Yohanna Loucheur) #9

Other organisations have similar situations but still publish data on these activities under their regular organisation ID. This is what the “implementing” role is for in the participating-organisation element. These are simply projects implemented by a third party; the transactions will be disbursements rather than expenditures.

XM-DAC-41127 seems to be a suitable alternative. It is really not clear what the concern is with publishing SDC activities along with other OCHA activities under XM-DAC-41127, with all the required information to identify that they are implemented by partners.