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Denmark

IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative) (DK0063)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Denmark Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Aid, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Open Data, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Denmark Implementation Report 2017-2019, Denmark Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?: Complex cooperation and co-financing relations with partners related to meeting the global development goals makes it difficult for stakeholders and the public to gain an insight into the results of the development cooperation.; What is the commit-ment?: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will increase transparency by increas-ing public possibilities of ‘tracing’ how Danish development cooperation funds are used: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will upgrade its own IATI reporting and align future procedures to ensure digital cohesion between the reporting from the ministry and the reporting from grant recipients. As this in-volves Open Data, the information will be directly available in machine readable format without requiring any action from a central source. In future, organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will be required to report their activities in accordance with the IATI standard (format) and carry on the requirement to their partners.; How will the com-mitment contribute to solve the public problem?: Since each activity will then be reported with an indication of where the funds originate from, it will become possible to gain insight into the network of cooper-ating organisations that often lie in between original donors and implementing partners. In parallel with the implementation of the IATI reporting practice, changes to the international statistical standard defined by OECD-DAC will be implemented: In the future, it will be possible to report the percentage breakdown by several countries or purposes for each activity. When detailed data can be retrieved by means of the IATI standard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will be able to exploit the new possibilities to report a clearer statistical image of Den-mark’s role in the international development cooperation.; Why is this com-mitment relevant to OGP values?: The commitment will increase the scope and improve the quality of the infor-mation published about development assistance, consolidated in open, interna-tional standard formats.; Additional infor-mation: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has used the IATI standard for report-ing in the entire Danish development cooperation programme since 2013. As an example, this data flow has been made available via the website http://www.openaid.um.dk.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 14: IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative)

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will increase transparency by increasing public possibilities of ‘tracing' how Danish development cooperation funds are used: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will upgrade its own IATI reporting and align future procedures to ensure digital cohesion between the reporting from the ministry and the reporting from grant recipients. As this involves Open Data, the information will be directly available in machine readable format without requiring any action from a central source. In future, organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will be required to report their activities in accordance with the IATI standard (format) and carry on the requirement to their partners."

Milestones:

14.1 All major Danish civil society organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.2 All other Danish civil society organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.3 International organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.4 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting multiple country codes in DAC-CRS format based on IATI reporting from Danish civil society organisations

Start Date: 2017

End Date: 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see "The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2017–2019," Danish Agency for Digitisation, https://en.digst.dk/policy-and-strategy/open-government/open-government-partnership-ogp-action-plan/, pp. 30–31.

Context and Objectives

The commitment aims to address the government's perception that the public has difficulty understanding the results of development cooperation. According to an opinion poll administered by the Danish news outlet Altinget, Danes are split in their views of development aid efficiency—with 45 percent in favour and 44 percent against.[Note : "Danskerne Splittede om Effekten af Ulandsbistand," Dansk Folkehjælp, 24 May 2018, https://www.folkehjaelp.dk/2018/05/24/danskerne-splittede-om-effekten-af-ulandsbistand/. ] (Danish People's Aid also posted the survey on its website.)

This commitment also seeks to upgrade International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) reporting. It would also improve digital cohesion between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and its grant recipients. Through detailed data retrieval, the MFA expects to be able to present a more precise statistical image of Denmark's role in international development cooperation.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information. It potentially could provide citizens with more and better information on Danish development assistance. As this information is placed online, the commitment is also an example of technology being used for transparency and accountability.

The commitment's milestones are verifiable as written. It should be easy to determine whether a grant recipient reports through IATI. The commitment's description of the problem is not clear, however. It discusses complex cooperation and co-financing, rather than the problem regarding the lack of insight into development spending. The description of the commitment could also benefit from further detail on the background and function of the IATI system.

The IRM researcher expects this commitment to have a minor effect on the public's understanding of development spending. Most citizens will not likely know about IATI without a large-scale dissemination campaign. The IRM researcher therefore suggests that in future action plans, the MFA consider other commitments for raising the public's interest in and understanding of Danish financing of international development.

Next steps

The IRM research recommends the following for this commitment:

· International aid transparency has previously been a focus area in the Danish OGP context.[Note : "Denmark Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2012–2014," April 2012, Danish Agency for Digitisation, https://digst.dk/media/17707/12-denmark_ogp-actionplan_2012_eng-1.pdf, p. 18.] Thus, the IRM researcher recommends not carrying this initiative forward to future action plans.

· The IRM researcher urges the government to consider other commitments that could increase citizen participation in the formulation and financing of international development cooperation initiatives.

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IRM End of Term Status Summary

14. IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative)

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will increase transparency by increasing public possibilities of ‘tracing’ how Danish development cooperation funds are used: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will upgrade its own IATI reporting and align future procedures to ensure digital cohesion between the reporting from the ministry and the reporting from grant recipients. As this involves Open Data, the information will be directly available in machine readable format without requiring any action from a central source. In future, organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will be required to report their activities in accordance with the IATI standard (format) and carry on the requirement to their partners.”

Milestones:

14.1 All major Danish civil society organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.2 All other Danish civil society organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.3 International organisations receiving grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting in the IATI standard format

14.4 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will start reporting multiple country codes in DAC-CRS format based on IATI reporting from Danish civil society organisations

 

Start Date: 2017

End Date: 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see “The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2017–2019,” Danish Agency for Digitisation, pp. 30–31, https://en.digst.dk/policy-and-strategy/open-government/open-government-partnership-ogp-action-plan/.

IRM Design Report Assessment

IRM Implementation Report Assessment

·       Verifiable: Yes

·       Relevant: Access to information

·       Potential impact: Minor

·       Completion: Limited

·       Did it Open Government? Marginal

This commitment aimed to make it easier for the public to track and understand the results of Danish development aid. To do so, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) planned to upgrade Denmark’s reporting under the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), and present a more precise statistical image of Denmark’s role in international development co-operation. [54]

A vast majority of Danish non-governmental organizations receiving grants from the MFA have now begun documenting basic data (e.g., confirming receival of funds from MFA) in the IATI format. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) has not yet decided on multiple-country codes, and thus not been operationalized by the MFA. [55]

The MFA continues to expand the use of the IATI format for all organizations receiving Danish grants for development co-operation. However, while the number of organizations using the format has increased during the third action plan cycle, the quality of reporting varies significantly between organizations. To avoid such inconsistencies, MFA pursued a consensus-based approach, allowing partners to realize their specific business-case when deciding to incorporate the format properly. The goal was to demonstrate that there is a mutual gain for both donors and recipients in the use of open data in development partnerships. [56]

Limitations to the application of IATI reporting implementation was caused by a change of focus towards better integration of the format among grant recipients. However, an increased amount of information on recipients’ use of grants is now publicly available as a result of the commitment, and thus it has led to a marginal improvement to access to information.

[54] “Denmark Design Report 2017–2019”, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Denmark_Design-Report_2017-2019_EN.pdf.

[55] “End-of-term report on Denmark’s OGP Action Plan 2017-2019”, Danish Agency for Digitisation, forthcoming.

[56] Peter Ellehøj and Ole Jacob HJøllund (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 11 November 2019.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership