Evaluating IATI

In 2015, members commissioned an independent evaluation of IATI, to gauge its success as a political initiative since it was established in 2008. Guided by a Working Group, the evaluator (Ian C. Davies) interviewed members, and used the results of a detailed survey carried out in March, to come up with concrete recommendations on some of the main issues identified as part of his research. The scope of the evaluation encompassed IATI’s role in bringing transparency to the global political agenda, its success as a global technical standard, as well as its political profile, brand visibility and accessibility, governance, membership and funding arrangements. You can view the final reports here:

The findings highlight the issues IATI needs to address urgently. Within an evolving development cooperation environment, characterised by greater complexity and more players, the findings and recommendations will help IATI members make the informed, critical decisions necessary to drive the initiative forward.

The synthesis report conclusions focus on two distinct areas: governance and political impact. Its findings have guided the interim Members’ Advisory Group in developing proposals that will enable the Steering Committee to implement a number of the recommendations.

On the question of impact, the report acknowledges the politically complex nature of, and the technical challenges inherent in, developing a global open standard, and commends the inclusive nature of IATI’s multi-stakeholder membership and engagement. It finds that IATI has successfully brought transparency to the fore as a cornerstone underpinning effective and mutually accountable development; nonetheless, it also concludes that IATI’s status as a voluntary initiative, and its corresponding ‘soft power’, limits its potential. The evaluator believes that, although IATI has built up the number and variety of publishers, the priority must now be increasing the use of data.

The report also calls on IATI to clearly define and communicate its vision and direction, whilst acknowledging that the size and nature of the governance structure is inappropriate for this kind of strategic decision-making. The interim Members’ Advisory Group has taken the approach of working to empower the Steering Committee to make these important decisions.

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