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U.S. increases foreign aid transparency by publishing IATI-compliant data and schedule

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Initial data on U.S. foreign assistance in the International Aid Transparency Initiative's common data standard is now available for download in XML format from the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, and the State Department has also published an implementation schedule detailing the timetable and frequency of data to be published going forward.

The State Department said Dec. 20 that these latest actions represent a "significant milestone" in its effort to increase foreign aid transparency.

The Foreign Assistance Dashboard, initiated by the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development under the policy guidance of the National Security Staff, seeks to provide a centralized view of U.S. foreign assistance funds and enable users to track aid investments in a standard format.

At the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea in 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States was a new signatory to the IATI, a multistakeholder initiative that includes donors, partner countries and civil society organizations. To date, 106 organizations have published data in the IATI XML format.

Because IATI data is open, standardized and machine readable, it can be freely converted into databases, spreadsheets, web applications, printed documents or data visualizations. U.S. data published in the IATI format will include preliminary, activity-level quarterly reporting for fiscal 2012 and budget request data for those agencies that report to the Foreign Assistance Dashboard.

The State Department also said that U.S. activity-level data reported to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee's Creditor Reporting System has also been published in the IATI format for 2009 and 2010, and that 2011 data will be available soon.

Additional information about foreign assistance transparency is available from Office of Management and Budget's Bulletin 12-01 (.pdf), which outlines the required data fields needed to satisfy U.S. government reporting requirements and provides guidance on the collection of foreign assistance data.

For more:
- read the State Department press release
- download OMB Bulletin 12-01 (.pdf)

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