Promoting IATI in the Western Balkans
This blog post has been written by Lea Zorić, IATI’s Outreach and Data Use Specialist on the IATI Introduction Seminar hosted by IATI, UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro.
Over 35 participants from Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia gathered in the town of Budva, Montenegro on June 4 and 5 to share experiences regarding development data policies and practices. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the requirements for data management systems that serve the modernization of the state, and to elaborate the supporting role the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) can play in this regard.
The event, opened by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Fiona McCluney and Secretary of State Zoran Jankovic (MFA Montenegro), brought together senior staff from Ministries of Foreign Affairs (and European Integration) and Ministries of Finance (and Economy). They were joined by members of the Working Group on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance, which – under the leadership of the MFA Montenegro – brings together representatives from all Montenegrin line ministries, the Parliament, the Statistical Office, Union of Municipalities, Chamber of Commerce, Central Bank of Montenegro and selected NGOs.
Over 1 ½ days, the diverse group of participants was introduced to the history and governing structure of IATI, as well as to the IATI Standard and data research and visualization tools such as d-portal, and the IATI Datastore.
Participants shared details about their own national practices and ambitions around data collection, management and use against the background of transitioning from aid recipient countries to emerging donors. They were particularly interested in understanding more about the role of IATI in monitoring and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNDP Romania additionally shared their experiences of publishing IATI data using the EU-DEVFIN tool. Detailed technical and policy questions were addressed by Secretariat members from UNDP, Development Initiatives (DI) and Sweden, bringing several different perspectives to the rich conversations.
The seminar was organized by UNDP as part of a series of IATI outreach and engagement activities in its function as coordinator of the IATI Secretariat. These and other activities focused on promoting data use are outlined in the IATI Data Use Strategy 2017 – 2019.
Participating institutions have been invited to nominate a representative to attend the upcoming IATI Members’ Assembly 2018in UN City, Copenhagen, 10 – 11 July, as observers to learn more about the initiative as they consider joining formally as members, and several participants have confirmed their attendance so far.
The IATI community is looking forward to welcoming the representatives from the Western Balkans in Denmark to discuss their future engagement with IATI.