We have initiated a pilot project that aims to provide an automated way for organizations to publish information about their humanitarian funding and activities. Over the course of 2018, five organizations will trial using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard to share data with OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

This work is in support of the Grand Bargain, an agreement between 50 of the largest donors and aid agencies, which includes commitments on greater financial transparency and more harmonized and simplified reporting requirements. IATI has been identified as the international standard for publishing open data on humanitarian aid and FTS as the platform for reporting how humanitarian funding is allocated and used.

The latest version of the IATI standard, released in February 2018, (version 2.03) enables organizations to publish more granular data on their humanitarian activities, such as earmarked funding, pledges, humanitarian clusters and cash transfers, and whether funding is channelled via local and national responders. Over 750 humanitarian and development organizations currently publish their data using the IATI standard.

FTS monitors the funding progress against humanitarian response plans and appeals which amounted to $25 billion in 2018 alone. Reporting to FTS is voluntary, and as a result, the service does not always have a complete picture. The majority of organizations provide funding data to FTS through manual, often ad-hoc processes. Since many organizations already publish data on development spending via IATI, use of the standard for humanitarian spending will reduce duplicate reporting and create internal efficiencies and cost savings.

Current participants for the pilot include the International Rescue Committee, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OCHA’s Country-based Pooled Funds, the UK Department for International Development, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

The pilot includes the following components:

  • Support to pilot partners to modify their existing financial and activity reporting systems (or creating new ones).
  • Integrating the new reporting streams into FTS, and testing FTS’s recently-developed IATI ingestion module.
  • Developing technical guidelines for reporting humanitarian funding to FTS using IATI.
  • Training and outreach events, including an IATI-FTS technical meeting with partners.
“USAID is excited to partner with OCHA to pilot the automated IATI data process for FTS. It will help advance Grand Bargain commitments and it’s a step forward in improving the transparency and accuracy of humanitarian funding information. Better reporting leads to better data, which can ultimately improve planning and decision making.”
-John Peyrebrune, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

After the pilot period, we will continue to support organizations to use IATI for FTS reporting, in line with IATI’s ‘publish once, use often’ approach. The long-term goal is for the majority of organizations to use IATI to report on both their development and humanitarian spending.

We look forward to sharing lessons, experiences and updates in the coming months, and to connect with other organizations that might be interested in participating. To learn more or join the next phase of the project, please contact Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, IATI Technical Specialist with OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian Data: centrehumdata@un.org. To learn more about IATI, watch this video or visit https://www.aidtransparency.net/

The IATI-FTS Pilot Team includes individuals from Development Initiatives, the IATI technical team, OCHA FTS and the Centre for Humanitarian Data.