Sorry for coming in on this one a bit late, but again there are particular use cases for the humanitarian community regarding pledges.
First is the longstanding ability of FTS to track documented pledges. By that, we mean pledges that have not yet been formally committed to in a binding agreement, but nonetheless have been clearly identified as available, ready to be allocated for a specific purpose, and reported in writing. FTS has been tracking these types of pledges as a distinct category (separate from commitments) for a long time: this example comes from the Burundi 2005 appeal, and many more can be found on the FTS archive site. This feature was added to FTS because it was required to meet stakeholder expectations, and continues to be a much-used type of data which FTS provides. If anything, we are under considerable pressure to do more to document pledges, which (far more so for the humanitarian community, where funding is much more ephemeral and opportunistic, than for the development community) is vital for resource mobilization. These types of pledges are absolutely trackable (in that they are documented and subsequently traceable when they are converted to commitments) and should absolutely be included in IATI.
The second is an increasing need to formalise the tracking of all forms of pledges (even verbal ones), particularly in the wake of ‘pledging conferences’ - large global events organised to raise attention and funding for urgent crises. Recent ones have been held for Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the famine countries. While FTS does not track these systematically, efforts continue to be made by both OCHA and other organisations to do so. Here, there is less inherent trackability - many of the pledges announced at such conferences are duplicative, difficult to disaggregate or subsequently to trace their related commitments. IATI cannot play a huge role in making them more trackable per se, but as the pressure continues to build from such conferences to have a robust, traceable follow-up reported on in the subsequent months, the potential role of IATI could be highly visible and mutually beneficial.
I appreciate the concerns that for larger organisations, the automated internal systems they use to generate IATI reports would have to change to track pledges too. However, I believe that it is IATI’s role to anticipate and encourage, rather than wait for and follow, best practice: the fact is that delivering any form of pledge (whether in writing or at a pledging conference) is irresponsible if the organisation doing so is not willing to back it up with transparency and accountability on what they are pledging, and what happens to this pledge in the future.
For FTS, there is a simpler equation. We are required, by our stakeholders (the humanitarian community) to provide information on pledges. Therefore we are required to ask all data providers to report this information to us. If we cannot offer to our providers the ability to report everything they need to report in the IATI format, and are obliged to ask them to report pledges in a separate, additional format, then the added value both to FTS and to our providers of adopting IATI diminishes greatly, and we would have to refocus our attention on comprehensive (sadly non-IATI) reporting formats that meets our stakeholders’ requirements.
Due to this and to the fact that this appears to be a straightforward extension of the standard without any implications for backward compatibility, OCHA strongly backs its inclusion in v2.03.