The Foundation Center, the leading source of information on philanthropy worldwide, became the 200th organization to publish information on development spending to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) last week.
As new publishers, the Foundation Center joins a rapidly expanding transparency movement comprised of governments, multilaterals, NGOs, private sector organizations and foundations in 30 countries worldwide, that also counts among its recent members the European Investment Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the development community and global transparency”, said Bradford K. Smith, President of the Foundation Center. “We are proud to be the 200th publisher and will continue to champion IATI in the philanthropic sector and beyond.”
Created in 2008, IATI is a voluntary initiative which provides a common data format for all providers of development cooperation to openly publish information about current and future spending in a timely and comparable way. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was the first organization to publish to IATI in 2011.
As an original IATI signatory, UNDP began publishing to global standards in November 2011. Since then, it has consistently met and even surpassed international transparency standards, including by launching an online portal (open.undp.org) that details more than 6,000 of its development projects across 177 countries and territories, and publishing over US$5.8 billion in project data. In September this year, UNDP was appointed to head the IATI Secretariat, leading a consortium of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Ghana, Sweden and UK-based NGO Development Initiatives.
As the Secretariat begins pilot initiatives in developing countries to test the benefits of IATI on the ground, a growing number of organizations are committing to opening information on their development spending. While it took almost two years for IATI to reach its first 100 publishers, in 2013, 98 organizations began publishing to IATI – 71 of them in the last six months alone. Over USD 680 billion in development spending is published to IATI, covering more than 76% percent of official development assistance.
The expansion and diversification of IATI reflects the changing development cooperation landscape as well as IATI efforts to incorporate information on all types of development cooperation flows.
Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes has said that “to figure out our approach to sharing information, we have taken lessons from what governments and other nonprofits are doing well, while considering the unique aspects of operating a foundation. At the end of the day, our goal is the same: to identify common ways we all can share information that will help the development community achieve greater impact.”