Currently, there is no way to indicate whether an activity is represented in the partner country government's budget. In most AIMS, this field is required, with the typical available values of:
On-Budget: Development cooperation funding that is recorded in the annual budgets approved by the legislatures of developing countries (Definition from GPI)
Off-Budget: Development cooperation funding that is not recorded in the annual budgets approved by the legislatures of developing countries
Treasury: Development cooperation funding that is recorded in the annual budget approved by the legislatures AND where funding is channeled through Government Treasury Accounts
This item has been moved to the '2.02 Decimal Upgrade Proposals' forum for inclusion the upcoming decimal upgrade.
The Type of Aid covers this need in part. Funding channelled through the government's Treasury Account would be coded as budget support (A01 and A02).
As to whether funding is recorded in the annual budgets, the partner country government itself is best placed to indicate; this is not information that donors are typically able to provide, since they are not the ones presenting budgets to the legislature of the partner country.
As such, I do not think there is a need to create an additional field in the standard.
However, it might be useful to provide guidance on how existing data fields can meet the needs of data users, including partner country governments.
Politically I agree with Yohanna: this is a matter for country governments.
Josh I know that you have strong views in favour of this proposal, which I think are based on practical data issues when integrating with country systems. Will you clarify?
2 main thoughts (one on the completeness of the "aid type" field and one on the practical/political consideration of country vs publisher responsibility.
1) As Yohanna mentions, the current field only partially covers the needs here. I think the first two items are clear (sector/general budget support), but both project-type interventions (particularly where the implementer is a partner country Ministry) and Basket/Pooled funds (particularly if/when administered by a partner country Ministry) could be channeled via the treasury (or if not, may be reflected in the national budget process). Thus, I think there is a fair amount of possible ambiguity. I am also not a proponent of individual fields which attempt to address two questions (aid type and on/off budget status) in one, but I grant that that may be more of a personal preference.
2) Re: political responsibility, I understand the feeling, but would point out that i) this information is quite often required to be reported by the DPs to the government in AIMS data management plans, and ii) it can be quite difficult for the government to match individual IATI projects to budget line items/programs as they are known locally (in one country, it took several hours to match a publisher's entire portfolio to the AIMS - no doubt exacerbated by the use of only English in a Francophone country!). With this, I find it difficult to believe that the partner countries are in a better position than the DPs to assign on/off/treasury status as part of the import process. In our ongoing interviews/surveys of partner country government staff in AIMS units there has so far been perfect consensus (across Senegal, Madagascar, and Cote d'Ivoire) on the expectation that on/off budget information should be provided through IATI.
Josh, your initial statement was " to indicate whether an activity is represented in the partner country government's budget" with additional text talking about whether something is recorded or not in the annual budget presented to Parliament. You said nothing about matching individual IATI projects to budget line items - which is different and, as you well know, is what the Budget ID is meant to do. Perhaps we need to clarify what the issue is, in order to identify the best solution.
My objection is not a "feeling", it's based on facts. There is no way for donors to know whether a given project is or will be recorded in the budget, since they are not the ones doing it. The Ministry of Finance is typically in charge of preparing the budget; they are best placed to know whether or not they recorded the project in the budget. It's absurd to ask donors, who are not part of the national budget process, to determine whether the MoF will or will not record the aid.
Thanks very much for the quick reply. Clearly there is substantial daylight between our views, and I will defer to Bill as to whether a call may be more efficient in arriving at a final determination.
In response to your comment, my point in terms of identifying which IATI-reported activities match to which AIMS (or budget line item) reported activities is that it is quite literally impossible for a Government to determine whether an IATI activity is on/off budget if it is unable to identify what this activity is by matching that IATI record with the same activity as reported locally. In terms of your assertion that placing this responsibility on the publishers is absurd, I can only again say that this is information that is currently reported by development partner country offices in the ~30 countries where DG works. I fully acknowledge that the level of awareness may vary by development partner/publisher, but if we are to pursue IATI use in country systems, I do not think that adding more work for partner country governments than they do presently is the way to make this case persuasively.
I am, of course, open to discussion of other ways in which this same objective could be accomplished, but am simply messaging what our various AIMS counterparts have communicated to me over the past several years in terms of key concerns re: the usability of IATI data.
This proposal has been discussed amongst the IATI Technical Team following the end of the initial suggestion phase of the v2.02 upgrade.
The IATI Technical Team do not consider this to be a priority for inclusion in the standard at this time, although we invite further discussion and encourage others who support this proposal to post accordingly before 7th October when a final decision on inclusion within v2.02 will be made.
This proposal has been once again discussed by the IATI Technical Team. We do not plan to take this forward as part of the v2.02 upgrade of the standard as it is disputed.
Thanks for closing the loop.
While we agree with the decision not to include this in the v2.02 upgrade, we hope the need for greater guidance on making the most from the information available in existing fields can be addressed - happy to contribute. It could also help to have feedback for publishers who perhaps don't provide all the details required and may not realize how this lack of details makes their data less useful for partner countries.
Thanks for this Yohanna, in terms of your suggestion to add to the guidance, could we ask which specific fields are in your mind? We'd be happy to look at this ensure that the information is as clear as possible, and welcome thoughts/suggestions for amendment.
It's not so much the guidance on specific fields, but rather guidance on how to use the fields to answer a given question. What was discussed briefly at the TAG was perhaps a series of notes organized by question, such as:
- How can I find out whether a given activity may be on budget? (By looking at eg type of collaboration, type of aid, disbursement channel etc)
- How can I filter activities to only have those implemented by CSOs? (By disbursement channel, type of organisation)
This is not about the standard per se, but about maximizing use of data. A starting point may be to create a space where users could provide questions they struggle with, and where others could offer suggestions. The FAQ could be captured in How To notes.
Thank you for this comment. To be clear, we are still not planning to include the on/off budget field. We do think that your suggestion about guidance is very important. As guidance is not part of the formal upgrade process, we won’t be taking this forward immediately. However, we have just added an issue - https://github.com/IATI/IATI-Guidance/issues/217 - to the IATI-Guidance repository on GitHub.
This proposal has been archived as it is not being taken forward in the version 2.02 upgrade of the IATI Standard.