approaches and methods

Openness and transparency

Published: 17 November 2011 Updated: 27 June 2014

Data on Swedish aid is presented openly and made available at the web-based information service Open Aid. From now on, Sweden is also part of the so-called IATI standard, which means that statistics and records of Swedish development cooperation is made available freely and comparable with data from other countries and donors who take part in the initiative. is a web-based information service about Swedish aid built on open government data. This means that the public, aid actors and other stakeholders can follow when, to whom and for what purposes aid funds have been disbursed, and with what results.

The information is also published with an open standard for publishing digital information on development cooperation called  The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). The main advantages with this open standard are that the information is more current and prospective, as well as comparable to other partners and donors. It contains past, present and planned activities of major international organizations like the World Bank and national development cooperaton agencies like Sida as well as small civil society organisation projects.

Publishing aid data according to the IATI registry opens up the development of systems and solutions which can display and visualize the information. This is of interest to  actors within development cooperation, donors and partner countries that need tools to plan,  review and follow up on activities. However, in the end this benefits those who pay for the assistance - the  taxpayers - and the people reached by the assistance.

  - In this way, donor and non-governmental organisations as well as recipients can become aware that transparency is a prerequisite for effective aid. With open data on programs and projects, it is easier for partners and other stakeholders to follow what the different donors are doing and what is working well. This takes accountability to a new level, says Joachim Beijmo, Head of Communications at Sida.

The fact that a country or an organisation follows the IATI standard does not mean that the statistics is published in a new database, but it is a way to describe the assistance work according to standards and definitions that already exist. This means for example that a recipient country can read data in the same mode from all donors with which the country cooperates.

Facts about the IATI standard

• All contributing organisations publish IATI-formatted XML files and makes available to the  IATI secretariat the latest version, which reviews and approves files. Once this is done the data is available from the IATI registry. Each file contains data from one publisher and a country or a region.
• The Swedish transparency also means that data is available with an open API (Application Programming Interface). This means that anyone can view data and create new applications and visualizations of the aid data presented. Using standard techniques such as REST and JSON, it is possible for researchers, journalists, students and the public to present, visualize and interpret data. The information may be used freely.

Page owner: The Communication Department

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