Fostering NGO's and frontline responders' engagement


The 10 Grand Bargain workstreams

Greater Transparency
More support and funding tools to local and national responders
Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming
Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews
Improve Joint and Impartial Needs Assessments
A Participation Revolution: include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives
Increase collaborative humanitarian multi-year planning and funding
Reduce the earmarking of donor contributions
Harmonize and simplify reporting requirements
Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors

Aid organisations and donors commit to:

  1. Publish timely, transparent, harmonised and open high-quality data on humanitarian funding within two years of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. We consider IATI to provide a basis for the purpose of a common standard.
  2. Make use of appropriate data analysis, explaining the distinctiveness of activities, organisations, environments and circumstances (for example, protection, conflict-zones).
  3. Improve the digital platform and engage with the open-data standard community to help ensure:
    • accountability of donors and responders with open data for retrieval and analysis;
    • improvements in decision-making, based upon the best possible information;
    • a reduced workload over time as a result of donors accepting common standard data for some reporting purposes; and
    • traceability of donors’ funding throughout the transaction chain as far as the final responders and, where feasible, affected people.
  4. Support the capacity of all partners to access and publish data.

The co-conveners: The Netherlands and The World Bank
NGOs co-champion: Lindsay Hamsik, InterAction
Helpful contacts: Liz Steele, Development Initiatives
 Official IASC page on this workstream available here

Main progress in the last 2 years:

Evidence available for 2017 indicates that there has been very good progress against commitment 1.1, which the workstream consciously decided to focus on at an early stage. But there remain some differences of opinion on the IATI standard and there has been less progress on the political or policy issues that are required to drive systemic change. [1]

Since June 2017, the number of Grand Bargain signatories that are publishing open data on their humanitarian financing and providing much more useful and usable data on their activities has significantly increased.

The IATI Standard has been further enhanced to enable Grand Bargain signatories to publish the data they need to be able to track progress in these commitment areas. Released in February 2018, version 2.03 enables signatories (and other IATI publishers) to provide even more granular reporting on humanitarian funding, for example by showing levels of earmarking, pledges, cash-based programming4 and whether funding is channeled via local and national responders.[2]

A joint work plan has been developed between the Centre, FTS, Development Initiatives and the IATI Secretariat to pilot the automatic import of IATI data into FTS and ensure complementarity between the two systems, reducing gaps in information reported to FTS and lowering the reporting burden on donors and aid organisations.

Other key developments at the workstream level include the creation of a Humanitarian Data Centre in The Hague, by OCHA and the Netherlands, to provide data services to humanitarian actors, including supporting the adoption of standards such as IATI.

Why should you engage?

The progress by Grand Bargain signatories in publishing their humanitarian data to IATI is encouraging and many organisations who have improved their IATI reporting over the last year have commented positively on its potential benefits – such as improving organisational performance, efficiency, opportunities for collaboration, evidence-based decision-making, accountability and transparency. However, the process of publishing to IATI for the first time can appear daunting to both large and small organisations – and this may limit further progress.

The next phase of for the Transparency works stream will be to ensure that published data is relevant and accessible to potential users and that the GB signatories, as well as the wider humanitarian community, are supported in using IATI data. This will only be feasible with a greater collective understating of how data can or might support key processes within humanitarian response.

Overall, it will be important for IATI users to demonstrate the benefits of using humanitarian data for better decision-making and building evidence. Moreover, the continuing lack of clarity on the purpose of and gains to be expected from increased financial transparency and how to achieve it indicates a need for discussion across all workstreams

How can you engage?

  • Humanitarian organisations interested in publishing data to IATI can contact Development Initiatives and  to get further information on the overall process.
  • An increasing number of NGOs and NGO networks are members of IATI and provide support, guidance and training such as Bond in the UK (see here), InterAction in the US (see here)  and Partos in the Netherlands (see here)
  • If you receive funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), or the Dutch or Belgian governments, you will have certain reporting requirements. Please use these links to contact their support desks and view their requirements:
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Dutch requirements, Dutch support desk
UK Department for International Development: DFID requirementUK support desk
Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs:  Belgian requirements (fr), Belgian support contacts: ACODEVngo-federatieFIABEL
  • Discussions are also taking place in the IASC Humanitarian Financing Task Team on improving decision-making with transparent data, including guidance for organisations wishing to use IATI data for reporting to FTS. If you would like more information on the FTS-IATI project please contact Eleonore Fournier-Tombs at the Centre for Humanitarian Data
  • You can also consult the IATI website here where and informative material on IATI and how to publish is available

[1] The Grand Bargain Annual Report 2018, ODI June 2018

[2] Development Initiatives: Progress report 1:  supporting Grand Bargain signatories in meeting commitments to greater transparency



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