IATI and Country Systems: Data Evaluation Results

March 12, 2015Benjamin Arancibia, Hamadoun Cisse, CPA, Paige Kirby, Josh Powell

Earlier this year, we announced a new partnership between Development Gateway and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development to integrate IATI and Aid Management Platform (AMP) data in Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, and Senegal. Below is an update on outcomes to-date; our next post will describe in-depth the data methodology for this process.

Over the past several weeks, the DG team has been working closely with government and IATI counterparts to evaluate the feasibility and desirability of integrating IATI datasets into country-level systems — determining how and when IATI data would value to AMP information in terms of data quality and desirability (read: sizable financial flows).

This process involved comparing the largest donor organizations’ IATI data with AMP information, based on the completeness and timeliness of these “core” fields:

The data comparison and mapping methodology will be covered in a follow-on post next week. Through this work, we have identified the following overarching IATI data challenges which could prevent country partners from easily importing and leveraging IATI information:

1) Transaction Dates: IATI reporters typically summarize total transactions for a given fiscal or calendar year, rather than itemizing individual transactions based on dates on which they occurred. However, in-country systems primarily function to track transactions occurring on a much more frequent (monthly, quarterly) basis; what’s more, DP and country fiscal years often differ. This means missing date fields render IATI data largely useless in a country setting. In the data we surveyed, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso each were missing 10-15% of their transaction dates, while Madagascar was missing 23% and Senegal 28%.

2) Timeliness: The IATI Secretariat requests that all DPs report to the standard quarterly. However, out of all the IATI country-publisher combinations selected for import, 48% publish only annual, 36% publish quarterly, 12% publish monthly, and 4% publish six-monthly data. As AMPs are frequently used to generate quarterly, ad hoc, or future-oriented reports, quarterly reporting should be seen as the absolute minimum standard for IATI reporters. DPs need to hold up their end of the bargain.

3) Future-Oriented Financial Data: Information around “Planned Disbursements” are frequently missing from IATI reporting; only 52% of IATI country-publisher combinations include any forward-looking transaction data. In several AMP countries, on the other hand, DPs are asked to enter planned disbursements for the upcoming fiscal year as part of the national budgeting and planning process. Providing multi-year funding projections may be infeasible for many IATI reporters, but at a minimum, planned disbursements for the upcoming 12 months should be included in IATI publication.

4) Sector information: This high-level information was missing in approximately 39.1% of the activities in Burkina Faso’s portfolio, 38% of Chad’s IATI portfolio, 14.66% of Cote d’Ivoire’s portfolio, 15.23% of Madagascar’s portfolio, and 14.65% of Senegal’s IATI portfolio. While sub-sector information is not included in the standard, top-level sector information is a component of both IATI and AMP data for national planning purposes.

5) Sub-national location information: While required for non-national activities in nearly every AMP, this granular information largely absent from the IATI registry in countries covered by this study (notable exception being the African Development Bank’s IATI data). These data are key for country systems as Governments attempt to use AIMS information to inform sub-national funding allocations, and are critical in linking aid and budget systems in country.

6) Project dates: These fields are often missing in the IATI data reviewed. At a minimum, one start date (planned or actual, depending upon whether the activity has commenced) and one completion date (planned or actual, depending upon whether the activity has been completed) should be included for each IATI activity. Governments cannot effectively plan future expenditures if project life cycles are opaque.

7) Funding Percentages: For some reporters (e.g. the Gates Foundation) that deploy activities across multiple countries, the absence of reliable country percentages presented challenges in tracking fund allocation at the national level. In some cases, activities included multiple countries with the available percentages summing to less or more than 100%, while other activities’ percentage estimates were entirely absent. This means that it is impossible for a Government to determine the exact funding from a larger program that will be allocated to their country.

What’s Next?

While the above challenges are real, and affect much of the data in AMP, it should be noted that we found real evidence of IATI data adding value to country systems by dramatically expanding coverage and overall financial amounts (sometimes by $100,000,000+). Based upon this initial assessment, our team selected a preliminary subset of 5 IATI reporters per country to try to import into AMP as an initial foray into helping country systems realize this value:

The next step in this process will be to perform the data mapping (e.g. mapping IATI sector classifications to country classifications) needed to match IATI and country data for import. Once the IATI import tool is developed (in late April/early May), we will begin to travel to work with our partners in these 5 Governments to perform the imports and collaboratively update their data management plans for sustainable use of IATI data.

Stay tuned for additional updates, including next week’s post on our data evaluation methodology; we look forward to participating at the upcoming IATI Workshop in Accra on in-country data use.

 

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