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The IATI Platform

Consultation Note on Technical Architecture and Data Formats  


see also consulation paper unlocking the potential of aid information


1.0 Introduction

IATI aims to improve the availability and accessibility of aid information by committing donors to agree common standards for publication of information about aid. It is anticipated that this standard will also be used by other providers of aid and resources for poverty reduction: NGOs; foundations; private sector organization etc.  

IATI is not about creating another database on aid activities. It aims to establish common ways of recording and publishing aid information to create a platform that will enable existing databases – and potential new services – to access this information and provide more detailed, timely, and accessible information about aid.

The idea of openness is crucial to creating this platform and achieving transparency.  Information must be openly available with as few restrictions how the information is accessed and used as possible. To this end, we need to design a technical architecture that enables information to be published and accessed in an open way.  The attached consultation paper ‘unlocking the potential of aid information’ covers three aspects of this:

This consultation note outlines the high level objectives of the technical workstream of IATI, the type of information the standard will cover and identifies the main requirements the providers and users of aid information have from IATI. 

This note, and the attached ‘unlocking the potential of aid information’ paper, has been written for open consultation purposes and is intended to stimulate debate around: 

  1. The objectives of the technical component of IATI 

  2. The target users and their requirements 

  3. What is required to meet the needs of publishing info 

  4.  The technicalities of making aid information available, open and easy to find  

  5. Invite advice, comments and feedback on other aspects we should consider 

  6. Advice on where existing standards could be used and exemplars of similar initiatives


2.0 Potential IATI Information



Notes, & Possible Standards 

Donor information 

Policies, strategies, procedural docs etc. 

Documents (+metadata) 

Dublin Core? 

Forward planning budgets by country, by sector 



Country strategies 

Documents (+metadata) 

Dublin Core? 

ISO countries 

Future procurement opportunities & tenders

Documents (+metadata) 


Project / Unit of Aid information 

Project Documents 

Documents (+metadata) 

Dublin Core? 

Project identification information 

(ID, title, descriptions, dates, status) 



Country & detail geo info 


ISO country 

Geo code (longitude/latitude) 

Administrative region/district (?) 

Sector (Global & local) 


DAC sector codes / local country budget classifications

Type of Aid 


DAC standards 

Project Contacts 



Funding organization 


Standards for organization details? 

Financial information (project budgets, commitments, individual disbursement data, value & recipient) 



Result/output indicators 



Implementing agency /channel of delivery 


Standards for organization details? 

Details of contract issued

Data / Docs 

Procurement standards? OECD good practice

Paris Indicators 




Data / Docs 



3.0. Information Providers Requirements

3.1. Information providers 

3.2. Provider Requirements for an IATI platform 


Implication for design 


The platform must meet the needs of most donor reporting requirements 

There needs to be a way of handling DAC & FTS reporting as well as IATI requirements


It should support automated publication of information



Enable providers to add information in a decentralized way (e.g. HQ might publish info on past spend, but country offices could publish info on forward planning info)

How will we avoid or highlight duplication of data? 

We will need to highlight the source of information 


Allow providers to mark data as validated or non-validated 



Allow providers to add additional non-IATI information (e.g. where data has been crowdsourced or improved)



Providers should have a degree of choice in formats and licensing options 

There should be an approved IATI list of acceptable options



4.0. Information User Requirements 

4.1. 1st Level Users

The focus of the architecture should be for information to be primarily accessible by experienced users of data who can repackage and repurpose it into more accessible formats. These include:  


4.2. User Requirements 


Implication for design 


IATI data must be comparable regardless of the source

Schema is required 


There must be manual access to raw data in human-readable & machine readable formats (i.e. to meet need of researcher who wants raw data)

A simple format may be necessary (e.g. .xls)  


A mechanism to check for broken links 


There must be an automated way of accessing the information (i.e. for aggregators)

At least through direct access to data files 


Possibly by recommending API access 


Users should be able to be informed when information is updated  

Rss feeds?  

Dashboard monitoring updates? 


The user must be able to distinguish between official and non-official sources as well as validated and non-validated 

Metadata for data sets


Should documents be in read-only format? 


The user must have the ability to use the information without constraints 

Open licensing 


It should be easy to find data sets

-by country 

-by donor 

- sector 

How granular should datasets be? 

  • A dataset for each donor country programme? 

  • Separate datasets for forward looking data? 

  • Etc. 

Finding data by sector is likely to be more challenging 


There should be an audit trail for changes and updates to data sets 

How long should data be available for (retention schedule)? 

How important is having a timeseries? 


It should be easy to monitor the level of donor compliance to IATI standard

  • Completeness of info available 

  • Correct formats 




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