IATI’s new Data Use Strategy
This blog is written by John Adams at the UK Department for International Development who is currently IATI’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Chair.
Over the last few months, our new Data Use Task Force has been working closely with Secretariat colleagues on the initiative’s key mission objective for IATI data to be routinely used to help achieve sustainable development.
Together we have revised IATI’s draft strategy on data use presented at October’s Members’ Assembly meeting. The revised document reflects many hours of feedback from members.
After receiving approval from IATI’s Governing Board and membership, I’m pleased to share our final IATI Data Use Strategy 2017-19. The document sets out how we can improve the use of data on over 700,000 aid, development and humanitarian activities that are published to the IATI Standard.
The strategy will seek to increase the use of IATI by partner countries through integrating data into government processes and systems to inform decision-making. Bilateral and multilateral donors, CSOs and journalists are amongst other important users who could use IATI data for coordination, transparency and accountability.
Our key objectives
The Data Use Strategy has been informed by extensive research in 2016/17 on the barriers that prevent user groups from benefiting from IATI (see Annex II). We have set five key objectives to help overcome these challenges:
Objective 1: Raise awareness of IATI as a source of aid data and develop a common understanding of the priority needs of different user groups.
Objective 2: Improve data quality in order to facilitate use, and assure users of its reliability, including through the development of feedback mechanisms.
Objective 3: Improve existing tools and develop new, user-friendly tools that help multiple actors access and use IATI data;
Objective 4: Improve guidance, training and support for specific user groups;
Objective 5: Promote integration of IATI data into partner country aid systems and processes.
We all have a role to play
These objectives are ambitious and IATI’s entire community has an important role to play in delivery them. Clear roles and responsibilities are defined in the strategy to help coordinate efforts and mobilise action across IATI’s Secretariat, membership and TAG community (see page 4-6).
Key building blocks – a new fund and taskforce
To ensure that our initiative can achieve joint action, the strategy rests on two key building blocks. The first is the Data Use Task Force, our new working group representing the diverse needs of IATI’s membership, which will take the lead in driving the implementation and monitoring of action. The second is establishing a new Data Use Fund that will allow experts to bid for funds and deliver specific pieces of work aimed at overcoming identified barriers or solve real-world problems experienced by data users.
What does success look like?
Our final strategy includes a detailed framework to monitor the results of our efforts (Annex I). This will be reviewed periodically by the Data Use Task Force (supported by the Secretariat) and an internal evaluation will be carried out after two years.
As a priority, the Data Use Task Force will develop a small number of milestones that are linked to the results framework, that can be achieved by August 2019, which marks the end of IATI’s current hosting arrangements.
Now that IATI’s Data Use Strategy has been approved, the Task Force will be meeting in early January to work on updating the data use elements of the draft budget and workplan (that was presented at the Members’ Assembly). This will then be added to IATI’s overall Y5 budget and workplan for the approval of IATI’s Governing Board and members.
I look forward to providing further updates as our work progresses and I encourage you to read the strategy and find out how your organisation can play its role in increasing the use of IATI data.