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Summary of Report to IATI Steering Committee, Paris 9 February 2011 Richard Manning
Three Tasks 1. Review and update the list of functions and tasks that will be required to maintain, develop and promote the IATI standard beyond 2011. 2. Propose clear guiding principles to underpin final decisions about IATIs future institutional home, plus governance and funding arrangements. 3. Set out clearly the pros and cons of the various options on institutional home, governance and funding arrangements;
Functions and Tasks Needing Collective Action 1. Core technical functions: maintaining the registry, maintaining and (if necessary) updating the standard; 2. Technical support to donors 3. Outreach/information provision to potential new donor members (official and non-official); to aid- receiving governments; and to civil society organisations (including technical advice and support about for interface between information from IATI and AIMS) 4. Basic Secretariat functions (support for SC etc)
Guiding Principles for decisions about IATIs Future Institutional Home 1. Effective in improving the accessibility, use and understanding of information about aid spending; 2. Encourage a widening of membership of IATI; 3. Reduce, if possible, any duplication of effort between IATI and other initiatives around aid transparency; 4. Enable IATI objectives to delivered at lower cost than other routes, consistent with effectiveness; 5. Any organisation hosting IATI should have objectives compatible with those of IATI and should not have a conflict of interest that would prejudice the achievement of the aims of IATI.
Governance: two Principles 1. Must reflect the multi-stakeholder nature of IATI, in which aid-using governments and civil society can have a serious dialogue with donors; 2. Must respect the particular role of donors, who after all are the ones who need to do things differently within a set of national and institutional constraints.
Finance Unrealistic to suppose that any host will take on additional costs. Any host will indeed require firm financial commitments from IATI; IATI members will need to plan on meeting the full cost of IATI activities going forward, either from continuing voluntary contributions from interested donors, or from some kind of graduated membership subscription system – or perhaps a combination of both; Synergies and cost structures could be tested through a bidding process (see below).
Hosting (1) 1. International Budget Partnership decline to host as potentially detracting their attention from core issues of budget transparency and civil society support. 2. The UN and UNDP emphasize the significance of IATI to the international discussion around mutual accountability, in which the Development Cooperation Forum has a particular interest, and UNDPs interest in continuing to support outreach to aid-using countries; but do not offer to play a hosting role. 3. Three direct expressions of interest: Development Gateway, Development Initiatives and OECD/DAC.
Hosting (2) Annex 4 briefly assesses each of these three organizations against the five principles, recognizing that no detailed specification was given, and that responses are quite various in character and in detail; While each has its particular strengths, all three organizations that have submitted proposals to act as hosts are worthy of serious consideration by the Steering Committee; A further transparent process needed to come to move from expression of interest to firm bid.
Full Independence? Independent governance: yes, at least for now; Independent administrative arrangements or hosting by an organisation with no stake in aid transparency: avoids conflict of interest, but questionable from point of view of efficiency and avoidance of duplication; Hosting by an organisation with a stake in aid transparency would be more logical than either complete independence or hosting by an organisation without a stake in aid transparency, as long as potential conflicts of interest can be appropriately handled.
Six Key Issues for Steering Committee (1) Does IATI need independent governance for at least a further period beyond 2011, and, if so, does the existing structure of a SC, a TAG and an occasional wider stakeholders meeting remain appropriate? Should the options of either a fully-independent structure or hosting by an organisation with no stake in aid transparency be entertained or not? Should the SC seek any additional expressions of interest in hosting IATI, perhaps through some public invitation requiring potential hosts to demonstrate their relevance against the guiding principles?
Six Key Issues for Steering Committee (2) How quickly should hosting arrangements be put into place? How should the SC engage more directly with each potential host in a transparent and consistent manner, in order to have more detailed submissions which would serve as a basis for a firm decision on the preferred host? [This would require a decision on the length of any arrangement; a clear outline specification of the programme of work to be done under the aegis of IATIs governance arrangements; and an invitation to indicate the likely costs of delivery of this programme.] How can the likely costs of IATI be met over whatever period the SC selects for the hosting arrangement?
And Finally....... At the Busan High Level Forum aid transparency likely to be seen as key for other commitments, for example on predictability and mutual accountability; IATIs achievement in lifting aid transparency up to the political agenda, creating a platform for dialogue between stakeholders, putting pressure on donors to deliver on aid transparency, developing standard setting, and bringing together the communities working on policy and technicalities likely to be seen as of continuing importance; Many challenges remain, and 2011 a crucial year for the future of IATI, but........very encouraging that 3 credible expressions of interest in hosting.
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