IATI Standard Consulting and Participation in the Technical Advisory Group
International Aid Transparency Initiative, 2010
We assisted the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on a strategic portfolio of grants intended to increase the timeliness and depth of global financial aid reporting. This included direct Foundation contracts to organizations to assist with data portals, subgrants to work with grantee’s on their data systems and publication processes as well as consulting directly to the Foundation on the technical architecture of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard in its nascent days.
Infrastructure and technical expertise required to tackle policy challenges
The Foundation’s Global Health Program had funded several projects as part of its resource tracking portfolio, which aimed to increase the availability, timeliness, and relevance of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and resources for health and development. While the bulk of the work in this portfolio was policy and advocacy focused, a large component required expertise in underlying infrastructure and technical implementations to many of the policy challenges this portfolio addressed.
Developing the definite sources of ODA data
2Paths worked with the Foundation on this portfolio as the primary developers on a new website for the organization that is the definitive source of ODA data, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC). We also consulted and offered strategic advice to evaluate the IT components of these projects and related initiatives.
Through that project, we developed extensive experience with the international standards for aid data reporting, the challenges inherent in data availability, and the potential for technical tools to mitigate those challenges. Consulting services provided under this contract included:
- Review of technology-related documents and recommendations from the Pilot Project primarily related to the appropriateness of recommended technology tools to facilitate automated data-sharing between donors
- Advising on the integration of these IT tools with others in development or being used in other parts of the strategy and with partners
- Advising on the supporting technology potential that emerged from the conferences, user studies, research, and discussions conducted as part of the policy research objectives
Involvement in the IATI
Our efforts to advise on technical architecture included advising on the technology elements in emerging resource tracking agreements reached as part of the IATI, championed by the UK and signed by 14 donors in Accra in September 2008. Specifically, we worked to provide technical guidance to ensure that ideas emerging from the policy discussions were reasonable, appropriate, and grounded in the realities of what is possible with technology. This included numerous stakeholder working groups to represent the needs of partner countries, balancing donor abilities to report, as well as an envisioned future of how data could be utilized more effectively, available in a timely manner, and in much more depth than previously possible.