Case study: The “publish once, use often” approach of the Netherlands

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuza) renews the data held in its data warehouse every month and publishes it directly to the IATI Registry. The information is used to monitor where MinBuza is doing what, with whom and in what way and to monitor progress on various topics, including policy priorities or cross-cutting efforts on issues such as climate and gender. Since MinBuza’s data covers all three elements of the common standard, the data is also used externally for reporting to the FSS and the CRS++, reducing duplicate reporting efforts and ensuring consistency. The data cover about 95% of all ODA activities of the Netherlands.

Since it first started publishing to IATI in 2011, MinBuza has enriched its dataset with future budget estimates, the geo-location of activities and some policy markers. Since mid-2014 it also publishes a public version of the assessment of activities, describing why it decided to support the activity.

Other, external uses of the Ministry’s data include the website openaid.nl and the application ‘Where Does My Aid Go?‘. MinBuza has also launched a website visualising its budget, including estimated and actual expenditures on activities. In the coming year the visualisations on openaid.nl will be further enhanced

MinBuza is in the process of setting up an open data pilot with Rwanda to explore how to meet their information needs for planning purposes and another one with UNDP, aiming to improve traceability across the development chain.

Another target for MinBuza between now and 2016 is to require that all organisations it is supporting (CSOs, multilaterals and private sector partners) publish their data according to the full IATI Standard, including results data. It is working closely with two Dutch organisations, Partos and Cordaid, with the longer-term aim of including open data throughout the Ministry’s development chains and to stimulate exchange and learning.